In his classic cut “Rock The Bells,” LL Cool J famously said “He’s hard as hell,” but his wife Simone I. Smith proved that she may be even harder after coming out victorious in her fight with cancer.
The couple recently stopped by ET and opened up about Smith being diagnosed in 2004 with chondrosarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer now in remission.
“I was working out with my trainer, walking, talking, not paying no mind, walked into the waste basket and it hit that little knot,” she explained. “That sent me to the doctor, and that’s when I found out I had a chondrosarcoma stage three tumor in my right tibia bone.”
Smith then had her right tibia removed, which was replaced with her left fibula in a 15-hour surgery. Surgeons also used screws, nails, a still rod and micro veins from her other leg during the procedure.
Before the surgery, her husband offered to use his fibula bone instead of her’s, because he felt it would “be bigger and stronger.” The rapper and actor also shooed people away who couldn’t contain their tears during his wife’s recovery.
While the surgery was successful, the New York native had to learn how to walk again. She depended on a wheelchair, then moved up to crutches, then a cane. All together, it took her two and a half years to regain full function in her legs.
Cool J and Smith — who’ve been married for almost 25 years — partnered with the American Cancer Society to start their own campaign called “Beat Cancer Like a Boss.”
They’ve also teamed up with a few celebrities, including Salt ‘N’ Pepa, Jhene Aiko, Remy Ma, Jordin Sparks and Mary J. Blige. In fact, Smith said Blige sent her flowers everyday when she was in the hospital.
“The campaign is ‘Beat Cancer Like a Boss,’ and when it comes to that she’s definitely been a boss,” said the “NCIS: Los Angeles” star. “I think that so many people, if you can inspire others to learn more, dream more, do more, that’s being a boss and that’s why we did this campaign for the American Cancer Society and for Simone Smith, her jewelry, which a portion of all the proceeds go to the ACS,” he added.
A portion of the proceeds from Smith’s jewelry line, started in 2011, will go towards the overall cancer fight.
This week, Salt ‘N’ Pepa, Aiko and Blige posted their “Beat Cancer Like a Boss” ads, and Blige expressed her support for Smith.
“No matter what life throws at you, always be a QUEEN,” wrote the R&B star. “Proud to support my sis.”
Today, Smith has been cancer free for 14 years.