Whether you’re a reality junkie or a farmer who lives in the back of beyond, you know who the Kardashians are. But if you haven’t kept up with them on their TV show, you may come to question – why are the Kardashians famous and how did they rise to fame in the first place?
It seems like the Kardashians have always been famous, but let’s take it back to a time when no one knew who the family were. The Armenian-American clan that we have grown to love today were just a regular family (wealthier than most) thanks to their lawyer dad Robert Kardashian, with a teenage Kim dreaming of one-day becoming famous. Luckily, for her, all her dreams came true, but let’s take a look at how the Kardashian-Jenner family became a household name.
Who are the Kardashians, anyway? See their family tree!
1. Robert Kardashian was a Famous Lawyer
Robert Kardashian was widely known for being a high-profile attorney and close friends to American footballer O.J. Simpson. He was quite wealthy and managed to earn enough to give his family a good life and a helping hand to their rise to stardom.
2. The O.J. Trial Shined Light on the Family
People really began to identify the Kardashian name when Robert found himself on the defense team when O.J. was accused of murdering his wife Nicole. His positioning in this trial caused conflict among the family as Kris was very close to Nicole and believed O.J. was guilty. That said, the family pushed their differences aside and managed to have a healthy and happy relationship until Robert passed with esophageal cancer in 2003.
3. Kris’ Marriage to Bruce Jenner
Shortly after Kris and Robert’s divorce, the famous momager remarried former Olympian star Bruce Jenner who also had four kids of his own. This matrimony aided in the family’s rise to stardom as Bruce had his own wealth and status. To extend their family further, Bruce (now known as Caitlyn) and Kris had two beautiful children of their own, Kendall and Kylie.
4. Kim’s Party Days With Paris Hilton
In 2003, we saw a short glimpse of Kim K as she appeared on The Simple Life as Paris Hilton’s assistant who was notorious for her closet organization skills. During this period, she was papped partying alongside Paris and became known as her ‘pretty brunette friend’. Kim then started organizing and styling other celebrities until a turn of events happened and she became one herself!
5. Kim’s Tape Leaked to the Public
What are the Kardashians famous for? Kim’s tape, duh! It seems her family have a lot to thank her for (awkward, we know)! Kim’s renowned tape with her ex-boyfriend Ray-J is indeed what really placed her on the celebrity map. This video turned into a pop-culture phenomenon and landed Kim a whopping $5 million in the settlement. Not bad for a failed relationship and leaked tape!
Find out more about Kimmy in our list of Kim Kardashian facts!
6. The Girls’ DASH Store
With a passion for fashion, Kim, Kourtney and Khloe opened a clothing store called DASH, which helped with their social status. As they rose to fame, their store became even more popular and was even the center of a spin-off show on E! called Dash Dolls where young girls shared their customer service skills on-screen, competing to impress the Kardashian ladies.
7. The Airing of Keeping Up With The Kardashians
If you want to know how the Kardashian family got famous, well, turn on E! and you’ll find out – it’s got reruns and reruns of their reality show!
In 2007, after Kris Jenner had pitched the idea of filming a reality TV show to Ryan Seacrest, the first episode of KUWTK aired on E!. Some people assumed that the D-list reality show would run its course, but season after season, we became addicted to seeing the ups and downs of the Kardashian lifestyle – turning this crazy family into worldwide superstars.
8. Kim’s Famous Appearances
The reality TV show opened many pathways for the Kardashian kids, and Kris never turned down an opportunity. So when Kim was offered a spot on Dancing With the Stars (even though she is widely known for her bad dance moves), she definitely took it, helping her become even more popular in celeb culture. She gained attention in the modelling and adult magazine world, too, when she done an iconic photoshoot for Playboy magazine – the first of Kim’s many controversial moments.
9. Kim’s Love Life & Marriage to Kanye West
Kim’s 72-day marriage to NBA player Kris Humphries was another mark in the Kardashians’ rise-to-fame. Her largely televised wedding was a two-part special that raked in millions, with an unorthodox ending. Many critics claimed that this was purely another shot at fame – but the Kardashian sisters were quick to shut down the rumors, saying that she would have picked someone much more famous if it was a way to make the front page – ouch!
Following her divorce however, Kim finally fell in love with Kanye West who had been pursuing her for a while. Their heart-clenching engagement, pregnancy announcement and fabulous wedding placed the couple on a whole different status level and completely changed the way that Kim was now perceived.
Is every man in this family cursed? Read all about the Kardashian Curse to decide for yourself!
10. Kim’s First Met Gala
In 2013, Kim attended her first Met Gala as Kanye’s guest – and we will never forget her curtain-esque patterned dress! That said, by attending this event, Kim gained a whole new entry into the celeb world. She was no longer known as the reality star with an adult-tape, but rather an entrepreneur and wife of Kanye West.
Check out every Kardashian Christmas card from over the years!
11. Kimye’s First Vogue Cover
Following the Met event, Kim and Kanye were invited to do a joint photo shoot to appear on the cover of American Vogue magazine in March 2014 – marking Kim’s cultural acceptance as more than just a reality star. From this moment forward, the Kardashians were welcomed into the fashion world and Kim was invited to sit on the FROW of various fashion events across the world.
12. Kendall’s Rise to Supermodel Status
While Kim was sitting on the front line of these fashion shows, Kendall was landing gigs to actually walk them! In 2014, the long-legged Jenner landed deals with all the big fashion houses including Dior, Channel and Balmain, becoming a household supermodel.
13. The Birth of Kylie Cosmetics
While Kenny was walking the runway, Kylie Jenner’s career took a completely different path. After her lip filler scandal and lip challenge trend, Kylie launched her very-own cosmetic brand and released her first lip-kit which sold out in seconds. Her business venture was so popular that she launched product after product and even managed to land a business deal with Ulta Beauty, placing her brand in over 1,000 stores.
14. Kylie Becoming the World’s Youngest Self-Made Billionaire
At the young age of 21, Kylie’s earnings from Kylie Cosmetics helped her become the world’s youngest-ever self-made billionaire, exceeding Mark Zuckerburg who was 23 when he hit this mark. While many have argued that Kylie’s celebrity status gave her a helping hand, it’s hard to argue with the facts that her initial investment into her brand helped her build a beauty empire that has even expanded to skincare with the launch Kylie Skin in 2019.
15. Kim’s White House Appearance
Kim’s status took a complete 360 turn when she decided to follow in her father’s footsteps and study to become a lawyer. Her interest in criminal justice has helped release a handful of innocent prisoners who face life-sentences for crimes they didn’t commit. The largest turning point, however, was her visit to the White House; during this visit, Kim convinced President Donald Trump to cut Alice Johnson’s sentence short and pardon it. She even aided the First Step Act in 2018, that banned shackling of female prisoners in labor.
Are the Kardashians slowly shifting from the glitzy spotlight and into the world of law? Now, that would be a game-changer!
There really is no telling what the Kardashians’ future holds, because as we’ve seen over the last decade – anything really is possible with this family! What we do know is that we will be ready to watch it unfold with popcorn at the ready.
What is your opinion on the Kardashians’ rise to fame and what was your favorite moment? Let us know by leaving a comment in the section below.