Kim Kardashian is reportedly getting divorced. Most people already know this because the news was shouted from just about every rooftop in America the last week. More still heard about a divorce early in the pandemic, and even more believed they had begun divorce proceedings in 2019, even as far back as 2018.
This, unlike most, is not simply one divorce between one couple. It is one million divorces happening to one million different couples and will last for an eternity, as is the way with Kardashians, whose continued longevity in the public arena came at the cost of their individuality and privacy. The tabloids will mine it for as long as they have page space to fill, and before long, the aliens hovering about the earth (or humans living under the ruined husk of the planet’s crust) might even do a podcast about it, some 100 years in the future. Because, for over a decade, they spilled their real-or-not secrets on camera and allegedly fed their petty feuds and interpersonal grievances to whichever of those same tabloids that might listen. Or, if one takes a more wholesome approach to understanding their sprawling empire, friends of friends and assistants and jaded nannies sold those secrets, at the Kardashians’ behest or not.
Tabloids speculate that Kanye and Kim had slowly fallen out of each others’ orbits, bit by bit, for some time. People reports that it was a “tumultuous year” of bizarre choices by Kanye that pushed Kim over the edge, and firmly into the grasp of a divorce lawyer. More base tabloids, like Star and In Touch, meanwhile, have long speculated their divorce proceedings began amid Kanye’s rants about a then-not-impeached-twice Donald Trump, including an appearance at the White House. Conspiracies about “the truth” now abound across the internet. Did he cheat with Jeffree Star, will Kim really leave him for Van Jones as the internet is speculating, is their Wyoming ranch a future cult, was it his Republicanism and presidential runs, was it his belief he is the next coming of the Messiah?
One million people, one million divorces, as I said.
On the summit of their marriage, I’m reminded of that timeless adage: “The devil works hard, but Kris Jenner works harder.” As publicist and maître d’hôtel and mother and Wild West cowboy to her brood of famous children, Jenner’s work is at once so obvious and totally invisible. With near-complete control over the family’s life and public image, it’s almost impossible to not read the actions of Kris this last decade as anything other than cynical. But there is also a rumor that Kris sold her family’s secrets to protect them, in some sick way. Randomize their personal lives with countless conflicting stories, so the “real” Kim Kardashian can never be known.
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And so, for the coming weeks, if months, if even years, Kimye’s divorce will play out on the cosmic scale. Even without a television show to peddle this narrative, I doubt that Kim or her brood will disappear from the limelight, not with all that speculation about her potential political career, and legal ambitions. Kanye West is also too titanic a pop culture force to fade into obscurity, as Kris Humphries did before him.
This divorce’s Kraken-like appendages will hold the tabloids, Twitter, and now TikTok too—as evidenced by that needless Jeffree Star speculation—firmly in their grasp. As is so common in monster movies, this is also not a formless monster come to terrorize humanity. In many ways, everyone’s unstoppable curiosity and penchant for gossip summoned this monstrosity up from the depths, by way of worship or sacrifice.
Stories about this divorce might span generations. As it bears down on civilization, it’s just too bad that watching “Hollywood history” happen is no fun at all.