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Suni Lee Defended Boyfriend Jaylin Smith Against Racist Backlash

This Christmas, Olympic gold medalist and former Dancing with the Stars contestant Suni Lee gave us the gift of new couple goals on her Instagram, showing off her new boyfriend Jaylin Smith with a simple white heart emoji on December 26. But despite the glowing happiness radiating from the two college freshmen, Suni later came forward saying the couple was subject to racist criticism from internet users and members of the Hmong-American community.

Alix Phom, a Hmong-American social media user, posted a TikTok on December 30 in support of the couple saying, “I know that Sunisa will be judged by certain eyes in the Hmong American Community because her man is Black. LOVE is LOVE, no matter what race or gender you are, Keep doing you, QUEEN.”

Alix’s TikTok caught the attention of Suni herself, who commented, “This makes me so happy. I’ve received so much hate. They support me when it’s beneficial for them, never when it comes to my happiness. Thank you!”

Aside from the controversy, the adorable couple’s recent emergence has many people wondering just who Jaylin Smith is, aside from a gold medalist’s man, obviously. While not much is known about the couple’s meet-cute and love story, here’s what we do know about Jaylin Smith, who you may recognize as J Roc from Coach Snoop.

He’s an 18-year-old college athlete and plays USC football.

Looks like Suni isn’t the only athlete in the relationship, as Jaylin has played as a safety on the USC Trojans football team since July 2021, according to the USC Trojans website. The 18-year-old officially announced his commitment to the University of Southern California on December 16, 2020 on Twitter, excitedly tweeting, “Officially a Trojan!! LETS WORKKK.” 

While Suni continues to kill it as a gymnast at Auburn University, I hope we can eventually see her rock the cardinal and gold at her boyfriend’s future football games. Okay D1 babies, talk about athletic couple goals!

Jaylin has a connection to Snoop Dogg.

Dedicated fans of the Netflix docu-series Coach Snoop may recognize Jaylin as J Roc, a standout player on Snoop’s youth football league, Snoop’s Steelers. The show followed the hip-hop legend’s journey of coaching a youth football team as a means to keep kids focused on their scholastic and athletic achievements. 

After Coach Snoop, Jaylin was named a PrepStar All-American in 2020 during his time at Bishop Alemany High School in Mission Hills, California, according to SB Nation, a USC Trojans fan community. Just think — while Jaylin was getting started on his college football journey, Suni was winning an all-around gold for Team USA. Honestly, I could never.

He’s a Scorpio, so their signs are compatible.

This one’s for the astrology fans: According to Jaylin’s Twitter, his 18th birthday fell on November 5… hello, Scorpio season! For astro-believers, this could be an insight into his determination and competitiveness as an athlete. And combined with Suni’s sun sign in Pisces, this water sign couple has the potential to connect on a more emotional and spiritual level. We love to see it!

Jaylin is the hype man Suni deserves.

This couple may still be newly public, but they’re already getting in the habit of showing off how cute they are online. While the comment section of Suni’s post with Jaylin is home to many salty people’s reactions to the new couple, this doesn’t stop Jaylin from hyping up Suni in the comments — and establishing his place as a supportive and adorable boyfriend.

Under Suni’s post of the two, Jaylin affectionately commented “Twin,” complete with fingers crossed and heart emoji. Following this post, Suni announced her collaboration with PrettyLittleThing, sporting a super cute green workout set — to which Jaylin commented three fire emojis (I mean, he isn’t wrong).

Finally, on Suni’s New Year’s recap, Jaylin commented again saying, “2022 not ready for you” with a red heart, to which Suni replied, “my loveee,” also punctuated with a heart. We love a supportive man.

Details about how Jaylin Smith and Suni Lee met are scarce.

Because the couple’s debut is so fresh, neither Suni nor Jaylin have given any info yet about how they met or got together. Beyond her Instagram post and that TikTok comment, Suni hasn’t yet publicly spoken about Jaylin in interviews or been seen in public with him, but if she ever does, we’ll let you know.

While Suni and Jaylin are still fresh on the scene, I can’t wait to see more TikToks and cute photoshoots from these two sweethearts. Do I sense a power couple in the making? I think so!

julianna (she/her) is an associate editor at her campus where she oversees the wellness vertical and all things sex and relationships, wellness, mental health, astrology, and gen-z. during her undergraduate career at chapman university, julianna's work appeared in as if magazine and taylor magazine. additionally, her work as a screenwriter has been recognized and awarded at film festivals worldwide. when she's not writing burning hot takes and spilling way too much about her personal life online, you can find julianna anywhere books, beers, and bands are.