For those who love engaging with celebrity news and gossip, it's easy to root for a couple based on how attractive they are together or the combined star factor they have. However, the problem arises when we get caught up in the glitz and glam of it all and forget that some couples came together under less-than-appropriate circumstances.
And no matter how famous or attractive a couple is, it’s not okay for a grown man to have a relationship with a child.
A Timeline of the Tyga-Kylie Relationship
Kylie Jenner, the youngest of the Kardashian-Jenner sisters known for her cosmetics line, Kylie Cosmetics, was born on August 10, 1997. Tyga, a rapper whose real name is Micheal Ray Stevenson, was born on November 19, 1989. They're about 8 years apart (almost a whole decade) in age. Keep this in mind as we go over the timeline of their relationship.
The pair first met in 2011, during Kylie's sister Kendall's Sweet 16 celebration in November. Kendall is two years older than Kylie, so if she was turning 16, that would make Kylie 14 years old and Tyga 22.
Then, three years later, Tyga began making appearances on Kylie Jenner's Instagram: first appearing in photos from Kylie's 17th birthday party which was held at his house, with his adult friends present. Totally normal for a 25-year-old man to be hosting a teenager’s birthday party.
Some days after that, reports surfaced claiming that Tyga had broken up with his girlfriend Blac Chyna, who was also the mother of his then 22-month-old son.
For the rest of 2014, and into early 2015, Kylie and Tyga were spotted on a lot of public outings together: going to dinners, going to see 50 Shades of Grey together in theaters, dressing up as Chucky and Chucky's bride for Halloween, and volunteering together to feed the homeless on Thanksgiving. I for one can't imagine spending so much time like this exclusively with a straight male "friend" who you’re not at least remotely interested in starting a relationship with.
When they met, Tyga had a rap career, and Kylie was barely 14.
Tyga and Kylie routinely negated the claims that they were dating, via either social media posts or public interviews. At the same time, similar posts emerged all but confirming a romantic link between Tyga and Kylie, and even members of the family seemed to confirm that they were dating. For instance, in February 2015, Kanye West, then married to Kim Kardashian, appeared on the morning show The Breakfast Club and said about Tyga and Kylie: “I think he got in early, I think he was smart. They’re closer in age than a lot of relationships I know. I knew Tyga was smart, you know.” In an apparently edited-out segment of the show, West says, “I think they’re in love,” but he has to keep it a secret.
Then in March, Tyga posted on Instagram a picture of Kylie with the caption “Certain things catch your eye, but only few capture the heart.” The following month, he was spotted with a tattoo of Kylie’s name on his arm. Finally, in July – less than a month before Kylie’s 18th birthday – Khloe Kardashian defended the 25-year-old rapper dating her 17-year-old sister, saying that Kylie wasn’t an ordinary teenager. Instead of going to prom or having sleepovers with friends, she was taking business meetings and buying her first house. Because of this, Kylie and Tyga dating was “a special case” that shouldn’t be judged. Besides that, Khloe said, “I think at 16 I was probably f***ing someone that was in their 20s, for sure. I wouldn’t say I was even dating, probably just sleeping with them.” So…that makes it okay?
When Kylie turned 18 in August, Tyga gifted her a Ferrari worth $320,000 and posted a sexually suggestive photo of her with the caption "Happy bday to the dopest girl ever!"
After she came of legal age, the couple went very public with their relationship, with Tyga including references to Kylie in his songs and having her featured in his music videos. Their relationship was featured on the reality show Keeping Up with the Kardashians, until their breakup in April 2017.
Make It Make Sense
For Kylie and Tyga to come out as an official couple at the time she turned 18, there had to have been some history between them, and there is, based on the amount of time they were spending together in the fall of 2014. But what about before? There’s a three year gap, after all. Kylie met Tyga when she was 14, and then he goes so far as to host her 17th birthday party at his house. How does Tyga go from an invited performer at Kylie’s sister’s birthday party to a friend that’s so close he’s wanting to celebrate your birthday at his house and offer you tequila shots? And how does any rational parent let that happen? Of course, Kris Jenner isn’t exactly a rational parent…
With the details of Kylie and Tyga’s relationship prior to 2014 so unclear, it raises a lot of questions. It’s not out of the realm of possibility for a 14-year-old girl to have a crush on an adult man. I was certainly one who had a crush on a pop star 8 years older than me. Heaven knows if somehow the stars aligned and he showed interest in having some kind of friendship with me, I’d be over the moon. If that was the case, it’s entirely on the older man to say something about how weird that dynamic is.
When they met, Tyga had a rap career, and Kylie was barely 14. It’d still be four more years until her cosmetics line was established, if you really want to try to justify their relationship with how “mature” Kylie is. Even if you do, it’s not like Kylie started up her business completely on her own. While there’s merit in being able to maintain a business, she certainly had help from the money, experience, and connections her family members had to get it off the ground. It’s not like she was fighting for it all on her own and developing life experience the way you would as a traditional entrepreneur. Meanwhile, Tyga was already an established rapper.
You can be making major strides in life professionally, but that doesn’t automatically grant you maturity in navigating romantic relationships.
You can be making major strides in life professionally, but that doesn’t automatically grant you maturity in navigating romantic relationships and a complete knowledge of what you want or need, or what your boundaries are. Remember that Kylie was barely a teenager when she met Tyga, and when they started going out together when she was 17, he was 25 and already a father to a baby boy. It’s a huge difference in terms of life experience since most 17 year olds don’t already have established careers they created for themselves along with dependents.
When you embark on a relationship with someone, when you aren’t certain what you’re looking for in a relationship, it’s easy for you to be manipulated, especially if the person you’re dating is much older and/or more experienced than you, and it’s your first real relationship. Even if the older person doesn’t have malicious intent, it’s way too easy for that to happen.
The older man may express how much he wants or likes something, and it’s all too easy for the younger girl to go above and beyond to try to provide that without stopping to think if she’s actually okay with it and it’s not crossing her boundaries. If he’s made upset by something, it’s common for the girl to assume some kind of fault without holding him accountable for reacting the way he does to negative things; since he’s older after all, he must know better.
Other Large Age Difference Relationships in Hollywood
Kylie and Tyga aren’t the first celebrity couple wherein the girl was underage when she met her much older future boyfriend, and who then announced the relationship as soon as she turned 18 – and they won’t be the last.
In fact, it seems as though prominent men in the entertainment industry having “close” relationships and supposed "friendships" with very young girls is a relatively common thing. Take a look at rapper Drake and Stranger Things actress Millie Bobby Brown: Drake is 18 years her senior and they met when she was just 14. Brown has gone on record saying they text, and he gives her advice about boys and acts as a role model for her. While there are healthy mentor-mentee relationships, there are boundaries that you just don’t cross, and it’s weird for a grown man to text “I miss you so much” to a teenage girl who isn’t his daughter. It’s even more alarming when you recall that he kissed and groped a 17 year old at one of his concerts when he was 24 years old.
While there are healthy mentor-mentee relationships, there are boundaries that you just don’t cross.
Recently in the news, we’ve been hearing about actor Ezra Miller getting involved with young girls under the pretense of being a “mentor” or seeing intense value or potential in them. He’s allegedly groomed a young girl named Tokata Iron-Eyes whom he met when he was 23 years old and she was 12. According to her parents, Miller was a bad influence on Tokata, supplying her with marijuana, LSD, and alcohol, and causing her to drop out of private school. They also allege that Miller tried to sleep in the same bed as their daughter on at least one occasion.
Tokata had gone to live with Miller in Vermont (the parents were apparently not concerned then?), and when her parents went to retrieve her, they noticed bruises on her body which they allege were caused by Miller. While Tokata has defended Miller, it’s impossible to say if it’s genuine or truthful. It’s easy for your perception of reality to be warped when you’ve been manipulated by an older person like Miller during your more formative years, especially if they have abusive tendencies (that is, if Miller’s criminal activity in Hawaii is anything to go by).
Tokata is not Miller’s only subject of grooming. Recently, a 12-year-old child’s mother came forward, alleging that Miller was accosting the child, and saying “there’s power to them” and insisting that the child would do well under his mentorship.
We can’t forget that relationships like these entail severely unequal power balances, and it’s gross if a romantic relationship follows such a “friendship.” We need to call that out and criticize it, or else we say it’s okay. If relationships between grown adults and young children are okay, where does the line get ultimately drawn?
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