LL Cool J has been in the spotlight since the ’80s. In addition to a successful rap career, the star is also an actor, author, TV host, and entrepreneur. While we all know and love him as LL Cool J, it turns out that that isn’t his real name, nor is it short for his real name. LL was born James Todd Smith, but after he began his career in music, he decided he needed a more appropriate stage name. LL initially wanted to call himself J-Ski but ultimately decided against it because rappers who used “Ski” or “Blow” in their stage names were associated with the rise of cocaine culture in the ’80s.

He then settled on “timeless” LL Cool J, which stands for — wait for it — Ladies Love Cool James. “It seems like ‘cool’ has been around since the beginning of time,” he said of the name. The star then signed his first record deal with Def Jam under the new name, and the rest is history. Oh, and one lady in particular has been loving James since 1995 — his wife, Simone Smith. Can you believe you went your whole life without knowing this vital piece of information?!

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