Kim Kardashian and Kanye West: a relationship timeline
From friends to power couple, via a whole lot of controversy
Kardashian, with her reality television empire and undoubtable star power, and West, with his Grammy-winning rap career and intent for world domination, were a match made in Hollywood heaven. Their combined empires catapulted them to the top of just about every celebrity gossip sheet going.
While they may still be prime tabloid fodder, they have managed to earn the respect of the high-end fashion world, too. West’s Yeezy label premiered at Paris Fashion Week, Kardashian’s sell-out shapewear brand Skims is stocked at luxury retailers around the globe and, between them, the pair have more than their fair share of Vogue covers.
Add into the mix their four children, and the past decade has been quite the evolution for the couple, who are now in the process of getting divorced.
Here, we take a look back at the rise, and apparent fall, of Kimye.
It was in the early Noughties that Kardashian and West’s paths first crossed. At the time, Kardashian, who was married to record producer Damon Thomas, was working as an assistant to singer Brandy, the sister of RnB star Ray-J, who she went on to date after her split from Thomas the following year.
In one of West’s most random ventures (which is really saying something), he got Kardashian on board to star in his hip-hop comedy puppet show, Alligator Boots. While the show never actually aired, clips of Kardashian’s involvement in the project surfaced online years later. She was seen dressed as Princess Leia, while West and his puppet friend Beary White attempted some cheesy chat-up lines.
A year after West and Beary White’s failed attempts to woo Kardashian, he released a verse on Keri Hilson’s Knock You Down, widely believe to be about the star, that implored her to leave her then-boyfriend, NFL player Reggie Bush.
West made his first appearance on Keeping Up With The Kardashians, attending the opening of Kim and sister Kourtney’s NYC Dash Boutique. In a clip from the show, Kim said: “Kanye and I have been good friends for a long time. He’s someone that we definitely respect his fashion taste and his style and so we wanted him to come check out the store.” At the time, she had just started dating NBA player Kris Humphries, who she famously went on to marry for just 72 days.
The official start of Kimye. After years of trying, West finally bags the girl, and not long after releases his track Cold, which throws some serious shade at Kardashian’s ex-husband. Humphries, at the time, played for the Brooklyn Nets, owned by West’s friend and collaborator Jay-Z.
He raps on the track: “And I’ll admit, I had fell in love with Kim / Around the same time she had fell in love with him / Well that’s cool, baby girl, do ya thang / Lucky I ain’t had Jay drop him from the team.”
The year of Kimye was rounded off by West dropping the bombshell at a New Year’s Eve concert that the couple were expecting their first child together.
“It’s true! Kanye and I are expecting a baby,” Kardashian later confirmed in a post on her personal blog. “We feel so blessed and lucky and wish that in addition to both of our families, his mom and my dad could be here to celebrate this special time with us.
“Looking forward to great new beginnings in 2013 and to starting a family. Happy New Year!!! Xo.”
In May, the couple attended the Met Gala together, when Kardashian was heavily pregnant. Her first time at the prestigious event, it was a big moment for Kardashian, who had officially taken her first steps into the world of the A-list, beginning to shed the skin of her reality television past.
A month later, on June 15, 2013, the couple welcomed their daughter, whose name, North West, caused a whole new media swarm.
Four months later, in October, West surprised Kardashian with a proposal at an empty AT&T Stadium in San Francisco. However, the entire Kardashian clan were hiding in the shadows waiting to surprise the star and, of course, the whole thing was filmed for KUWTK.
Another big year for Kimye. In April, the pair got the call they had been waiting for – inviting them to appear on the cover of Vogue. Photographed in a bridal gown with her 15-carat engagement ring on show, they were deemed the “#worldsmosttalkedaboutcouple”, which, by 2014, was not an overstatement.
A month later, on May 24, 2014, the pair tied the knot in Florence, Italy, in a wedding attended by 200 people and, of course, watched by millions more through the all-seeing eyes of the KUWTK cameras.
In late 2015, following another difficult pregnancy for Kardashian, the couple welcomed their son, Saint West, born on December 5. The pair had spent the previous year dealing with fertility issues.
A tumultuous year for the couple. West had some serious beef with Taylor Swift, who accused him of disrespecting her on his track Famous. Swift was unhappy with how her image had been used in the song’s music video, however, Kardashian quickly leapt to her husband’s defence, posting recordings of Swift supposedly giving West her permission to use the content.
Later that year, in October, Kardashian flew to the French capital for Paris Fashion Week, where she was held at gunpoint as her hotel room was raided by masked thieves. They escaped with $6.7 million worth of jewellery, including her prized engagement ring, leaving the star traumatised. West was performing in the US when he learnt of the robbery, cutting the show short to jump on a private jet to be at his wife’s side.
In November, West was hospitalised after suffering with mental health issues and exhaustion.
After the trauma of 2016, the couple remained quiet for 2017, reemerging in early 2018 to announce that they had welcomed their third child, Chicago West, via a surrogate, on January 15. Kardashian had been diagnosed with placenta accrete the previous year, making it difficult to conceive and carry another baby naturally.
Later that year, West confirmed he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and caused yet more media controversy after he made public comments deeming slavery as a choice. In an interview with TMZ, he said: “When you hear about slavery for 400 years ... for 400 years? That sounds like a choice."
It was in 2018 that he also publicly stated his support for President Donald Trump, appearing alongside him in the White House wearing a “Make America Great Again” cap.
The couple announced they were expecting their fourth child via a surrogate in January 2019, with Psalm West arriving on May 9, 2019.
Shortly after his birth, the pair renewed their marriage vows.
On American Independence Day, July 4, West announced his intention to officially run for president in the upcoming US election. Following the initial announcement, Kardashian showed her support for her husband, retweeting his announcement alongside a US flag emoji.
However, West’s mental health appeared to deteriorate as the year went on, leading to a series of erratic tweets from the star, in which he revealed a number of personal details about his wife and their family. He also claimed he was trying to divorce the star.
Kardashian later released a statement calling for “compassion and empathy” for her husband and his mental health.
"As many of you know, Kanye has bipolar disorder," she wrote, calling him a "brilliant but complicated person."
"Those who are close with Kanye know his heart and understand his words sometimes do not align with his intentions," Kardashian added.
Throughout the rest of 2020, the couple spent time together at the family’s ranch in Wyoming, and holidayed together, including Kardashian’s controversial private island 40th birthday trip.
Kim Kardashian has filed for divorce from Kanye West, after reportedly hiring celebrity divorce lawyer Laura Wasser. Reports suggest the couple had a prenuptial agreement, and that discussions on a property settlement are well advanced.
Updated: February 20, 2021 08:24 AM