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Kimora Lee Simmons on Being a Single Parent to 5 Kids: 'I Work to Keep a Smile on Their Face' (Exclusive)

"Being a single mom, I think about my kids all the time and that's it," Kimora Lee Simmons told PEOPLE at the Kimora + Smile Train Mother’s Day Luncheon

Vivien Killilea/SmileTrain
Vivien Killilea/SmileTrain

Kimora Lee Simmons is opening up about the highs and lows of being a single parent.

The mother of five, 48, recently hosted an intimate, invite-only brunch to support Smile Train, a nonprofit organization that provides cleft palate treatments for children across the globe, where she chatted with PEOPLE about her role as a mom.

"I'm a single mom of five kids and I know how hard it can be and I don't want to start crying, but it's Mother's Day, I know how that feels like to raise your kids and to get up every day and only care about them," Simmons exclusively tells PEOPLE.

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"And it doesn't matter, if you're rich and famous or you're this thing or this singer, that singer, at the end of the day, you're a mom or you're a cousin, you're an auntie, you're a family member, you're a community person, a caregiver, you're just there trying to make everything come together," she continues.

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Related:Kimora Lee Simmons Defends Daughter Aoki's Modeling Career Amid Criticism: 'It's Absolutely Absurd'

The model-turned-businesswoman adds, "Being a single mom, I think about my kids all the time and that's it. My kids, their friends, my other kids, like, you know, I have a lot. And these are others of my kids. The Smile Train kids are my kids."

"[My kids'] smiles, I feel like that's the work that I do every day to keep that smile on their face. And again, that 'smile' means so much," she shares. "Health, happiness, community, family."

Simmons is mom to daughters Aoki, 20, and Ming, 23, with ex Russell Simmons, son Kenzo, 13, with ex Djimon Hounsou, son Wolfe, 8, with estranged husband Tim Leissner, and son Gary, 13, whom she adopted in 2020 when he was 10.

Vivien Killilea/SmileTrain
Vivien Killilea/SmileTrain

She also spoke about the juxtaposition of having elementary and middle-school-aged sons and college-aged daughters.

"To have three kids at home that are like pre-teen — I guess 13 is a teenager — and just trying to get them through and, you know, it's a lot, it's like an emotional rollercoaster as any mom knows or any person knows that's in the proximity of children."

Speaking about her daughters — who are currently students at Harvard and NYU, respectively—Simmons says, "It's a big time for them. It's a very meaningful time for me."

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Read the original article on People.