Whether you like it or not, the personal drama of the Kardashian family has driven the pop-culture landscape for over a decade.
The ideas expressed in this article are solely the opinion of the author and not to be construed as fact.
What has it given us? A generation of girls obsessed with social media, drastically altering their bodies with plastic surgery, and baby daddies rather than husbands. It would be easy to blame the Kardashian sisters themselves. After all, they’re old enough to know better, right? Well, maybe not.
The infamous Kardashian-Jenner matriarch has held an iron grip over her daughters' lives, dragging them into the limelight for profit. We often think of girls having daddy issues or of mommy issues being simply for weird men like Norman Bates. But mommy issues come for girls too, and the Kardashians have a raging case.
Getting Fame out of a Murder Trial
Although most of their devoted followers may be too young to remember (or weren’t even born yet), the Kardashian family first came onto the national scene during the O.J. Simpson trial in 1995. Kris and Robert Kardashian were close friends of O.J. Simpson and his estranged wife Nicole Brown Simpson.
Since the trial was one of the biggest of the century, all of O.J. Simpson’s legal team became instantly famous. The “Dream Team,” as they came to be called, included F. Lee Bailey, Robert Blasier, Shawn Chapman Holley, Robert Shapiro, and Alan Dershowitz. Although you may not know his name, Johnnie Cochran, who acted as the defense’s lead attorney, coined the most infamous line from the trial: “If the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit.”
The Kardashian family, who had been wealthy and well-known in LA circles, now had national attention on their name and celebrity connections. The Kardashians entered the tabloid circus as D-list celebrities, the less-famous friends of reality TV stars like Paris Hilton.
Kris Jenner’s Problematic Relationship History Includes a Rumored O.J. Affair
Although Kris and Robert were divorced, she and their children, with his last name, got to take part in the spotlight too. After all, Robert wasn’t the only one with a suspiciously close relationship with O.J. Apparently, O.J. repeatedly bragged about a steamy hot-tub hookup with Kris Kardashian while she and Robert were still married, and it was just one of her affairs that led to their divorce. According to O.J.’s former manager, who recounted the story in an exclusive with the Post, O.J. claimed the hookup occurred while the couples were on a joint vacation and was one of the driving factors in the Kardashians’ divorce in 1991, followed by his own divorce from Nicole Brown Simpson in 1992.
Kris Jenner has also revealed that she was having an affair with another man, under the alias “Ryan,” from 1989 until her divorce in 1992. This should have come as no shock to Robert, whose on-and-off relationship with a 17-year-old Kris started off as a secret affair (Kris was dating pro-golfer Cesar Sanudo when they met).
Her kids know about the affair with “Ryan,” with Kourtney speaking out about it as recently as 2018 on Keeping Up with the Kardashians: “I don’t think it’s even about talking to my mom about it… It’s not something, really, that my mom can fix.”
Kris Jenner has held an iron grip over her daughters' lives, dragging them into the limelight for profit.
Then, to add insult to injury, Kris tied the knot with Bruce Jenner in February 1992 just one month after her divorce from Robert was finalized. On an episode of Big Brother VIP, Bruce revealed that the couple had only been together five and a half months when Kris insisted they get married. Considering that Kris had been with Robert Kardashian since she was just 17 years old and insists she “never paid one bill” during their marriage, it seems to me like she was simply looking for a new target to foot her bills.
After all, Robert Kardashian had cut Kris off after the divorce. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Kris says she found out Robert had cut off all her credit cards without warning: “I went to the market one day, and my credit card didn’t work. I had a market credit card, and I’m like, ‘I can’t even buy a tomato.’”
Kris didn’t just bring her own disastrous romantic history to this new marriage. She also brought her four children with Robert. Together, Kris and Bruce had seven children from previous relationships. They then had two more children together, Kylie and Kendall Jenner. It’s like The Brady Bunch gone terribly, terribly wrong.
In 2015, after 22 years of marriage, Bruce Jenner came out as transgender and the couple divorced. Bruce began living life as Caitlyn Jenner.
Which brings us back to Kris, the woman who allegedly cheated on her husband and father of her four children on multiple occasions. The woman who rushed out to get remarried just a month after her divorce to a man she barely knew, who turned out to be a closeted transgender woman. All that on its own would be trauma deep enough for kids to spend their lives sifting through, but this is just the beginning.
Did Kris Jenner Sell Kim’s Sex Tape As a Publicity Stunt?
The year was 2007, and the Kardashian sisters were trying to drag themselves out of the friend-zone of bigger celebrities and into their own spotlight. Remember when Kim was the little-known sidekick of Paris Hilton? Good times. Well, perhaps the Kardashians learned a thing or two from hanging around with Paris, whose sex tape went viral in 2004 and skyrocketed her reality show The Simple Life to the top of the charts.
In March 2007, porn company Vivid Entertainment announced that it would be releasing a highly explicit home video of Kim Kardashian and her then-boyfriend Ray J. Now, leaked celebrity sex tapes are nothing new. But something most people probably don’t realize is that a porn company can’t just release any old stolen tape. They have to have signed releases from the people in the video, or risk opening themselves up to massive lawsuits.
We saw this all play out in Hulu’s recent show Pam and Tommy, which chronicles the publication of the famous couple’s sex tape. In one sequence, Seth Rogan’s character is shown shopping the tape to what seems like every porn company in LA. Their response, every time? “You got a release?”
So, this leaves a logical question here: how could Vivid Entertainment be publishing Kim’s sex tape if they didn’t have her permission? Sure, she and her mom stirred up a bit of controversy, suing the production company over the film’s release. But the case’s conclusion is still technically unknown: the case was settled out of court, for an unspecified amount of money.
The case’s conclusion is still unknown – it was settled out of court, for an unspecified amount of money.
An unauthorized biography of Kris Jenner, Dirty Sexy Money: The Unauthorized Biography of Kris Jenner, claims that "Kris was there every step of the way as a middleman was brought in to market it to an adult entertainment company." One insider told the authors they’d even seen "Kris Jenner’s signature on the contract."
However “devastating” the family may have found the sex tape release, it certainly worked out for them financially. Kim Kardashian was now actually famous, or at least, infamous. And only weeks after the video’s release, the family signed on to do a reality tv show with Ryan Seacrest’s production company.
What Kind of Mom Does All of This?
It seems that for 20 seasons of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Kris Jenner has been exploiting her daughters’ private lives for profit. Kim, Khloe, and Kourtney may have been old enough to know what they were getting into at the time, but Kendall and Kylie, who were only 11 and 9 when the first season started filming, have never gotten to experience any semblance of a normal life.
Although they have certainly had much success in their careers, unfortunately the same can't be said for their romantic relationships and mental health. Up until this point, not a single one of them has had a successful marriage, three of them have kids with men who weren’t their husbands, and Kylie Jenner's appearance has transformed dramatically over the years to reveal, what some would say, is a completely different person.
It makes you wonder what the family might have looked like if their father Robert hadn’t died in 2003 of cancer. The girls all speak fondly of their father, who disliked the spotlight and valued good, old-fashioned hard work. Without his influence, Kris Jenner’s seemingly unbridled desire to turn her family into a dynasty has been given free rein.
Kim, at only 23, made a sex tape that’s one of the most-watched explicit videos in history. She has had three failed marriages, including one that lasted, famously, for only 72 days. In my opinion, the Kris Humphries fiasco was 100% avoidable, especially if Kim had had a mother who actually cared about her best interests. But instead, the clearly doomed marriage was allowed to move forward, with a pretty price tag of $10 million on their media showcase wedding.
In my opinion, the Kris Humphries fiasco was 100% avoidable, especially if Kim had had a mother who actually cared about her best interests.
She’s now dating a man who’s 13 years younger than her, in what appears to be her most bizarre relationship yet. Kim has allegedly had an extensive amount of plastic surgery as well, although she insists her slim-thick figure is all-natural.
Kourtney spent nine years in a relationship with Scott Disick, never getting married to him. In that period, they had kids together that will now have to grow up in the spotlight with a dad who continually dates significantly younger women.
Kourtney now finally seems to have found a man who’s interested in commitment, as she announced her engagement to Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker in October 2021. They got married April 3, 2022 in Las Vegas.
Khloe Kardashian has arguably had the roughest time of the three eldest sisters. Constantly compared to her “prettier” sisters, Khloe has talked about the harm being labeled “the ugly sister” has done to her self-esteem. Khloe’s self-esteem issues have manifested themselves as a dysfunctional pattern of picking and then staying with men who cheat on her. Nothing says self-destructive quite like giving not just one but multiple “second chances” to a guy who got another woman pregnant while you were together.
She has one daughter, True, with ex Tristan Thompson. Once again, Thompson and Khloe were not married at the time. Only Kim’s kids were born inside a marriage.
Speaking of having kids within marriage, Kylie joined the Kardashian mom club at the young age of 20, with boyfriend Travis Scott. She was pregnant with their second baby in November 2021, when 10 people were killed at Scott’s concert in Texas.
Travis Scott has a long history of violence and injury at his shows, and has even been charged twice for inciting riots at his concerts. One incident was during a 2015 Lollapalooza performance, where Scott allegedly instructed attendees to climb over security barricades. Another concert attendee in 2017 found himself paralyzed after being thrown off a balcony into the crowd below.
Is that the type of man you would want impregnating your 19-year-old daughter? Or spending any time around her at all, period? Instead, Kris has enabled Kylie’s relationship with two different problematic men. Before Scott, a 17-year-old Kylie dated 25-year-old rapper Tyga.
Kris Jenner Is a Classic Devouring Mother
If it isn’t clear to you yet, Kris Jenner seems to have some serious personal problems. She’s an alleged serial cheater, a ruthless social climber, and apparently isn’t above putting fame and fortune before the needs of her daughters' privacy and mental health. Her relationship with her grown children appears from the outside to be beyond dysfunctional. How many adult women do you know who spend even a tenth of their time with their mother as the Kardashian sisters spend with theirs?
Kris seems to have co-opted the lives of her children to create her own personal money-making empire.
Kris Jenner appears to have controlled every aspect of her adult daughter’s lives for decades. She sacrificed Kendall’s and Kylie’s chances at a quasi-normal teenage life in exchange for money. While Kendall seems to have escaped somewhat unscathed, the same can’t be said for the other sisters.
In my opinion, Kris Jenner has taken the mom-ager stereotype to new and horrifying levels. She seems to have co-opted the lives of five of her children in order to create her own personal money-making empire. She doesn’t set any healthy boundaries with her children, because those might prevent them from having the exact behavior that makes for juicy, riveting headlines.
Her own failure to have a single successful marriage or relationship has bled into her daughter’s lives. Not only has she failed to be an example to her children, but she insists on consuming every aspect of their lives to feed her own ambition. It has created an entire generation of broken, insecure, and narcissistic women whose own children will most likely continue to pay the same price. After all, none of the Kardashians' children will have the chance to benefit from having a father in the home. Kim's, Khloe’s, Kourtney’s, and Kylie’s current children won’t know what it’s like to have a married mom and dad.
It’s deeply concerning that Kris Jenner has never appeared to develop any sort of personal motivation outside of managing her children’s lives and careers. Children do not exist to fulfill our own unmet needs and desires. While the Kardashian sisters may feel grateful to have reached a high level of success career-wise, it begs the question: at what cost? In my eyes, it all ties back to Kris Jenner treating her children as only little extensions of herself, ones that she can control and exploit as she sees fit.
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