"You can let this thing destroy you or you can take it and inspire," says the reality show star

By Amy Elisa Keith
Updated June 14, 2009 03:45 PM
UPI Photo/Landov

Embarking on the sixth season of his show, MTV’s Run’s House, Run DMC’s Rev. Run says he’s not affected by the media attention – or the so-called curse on reality show families.

“We’re not extremely ambitious to be these big stars,” Run, 44, tells PEOPLE. “We hope to inspire people to see the value of being a family.”

With wife Justine, 45, Run is a “very involved and hands on” parent to all six of his children (Vanessa, 25, Angela, 21, JoJo, 20, Russy, 12, Diggy, 14, and baby Miley, 1 ½). “Everything is about them,” he says.

But raising a big family is not without its pitfalls – and Run doesn’t try to hide that from audiences. This season, the Simmons family faces a new challenge when JoJo is arrested for drug possession. “When JoJo goes through his situation, I bring the cameras in,” says Run, who insisted that the issue be a learning opportunity for his son and their fans. “We’re going to take the fans through every tough time to show them how to pull together as a family.”

While families like Jon and Kate Gosselin and Hulk and Linda Hogan have seemingly been torn apart by reality show success, Run and Justine stay grounded with one simple principle: “Keep your eye on what you cherish.”

Adds Run: “If you cherish your wife and kids, that’s where your energy goes.”

Being a fulltime dad and music mogul, Run still finds time to “keep it brand new” with his wife of 14 years. “Justine woke up the other day and e-mailed me a letter about how much she loves me and how happy she is to be my lover and my friend,” he says. “Then we downloaded the song by Jason Mraz ‘Lucky to Be In Love with My Best Friend’ and we just listened to it all day in our bedroom.”

As for the inevitable media scrutiny, Run says, “You can let this thing destroy you or you can take it and inspire.”