The Kardashians have turned their family name into an empire. Love them or hate them, this family certainly knows how to play the entertainment industry game.
Like Paris Hilton during her time, this family is famous for being famous.
The combined net worth of the Kardashian-Jenner clan is well over $450 million and only seems to be rising. Many argue that the family has no talent. Whether or not this is true, they sure do have a knack for marketing.
But it’s a bit confusing when you think about how they got where they are. So, kick back and let ENTITY explain. Here’s the rundown of how the Kardashians rose to fame.
It All Began With Good Ol’ Dad.
When Robert Kardashian defended O.J. Simpson in the notorious murder trial, it put the family on everyone’s radar.
Robert Kardashian and Kris Jenner married in 1978. Over the next 20 years, they would go on to have their four children Kim, Khloé, Kourtney and Robert Jr. The couple eventually divorced in 1991, which was three years before the infamous trial.
Robert Kardashian was a key component in the “People of the State of California v. Orenthal James Simpson” case. However, the Kardashian patriarch was living comfortably as a part of the 1 percent club long before he won O.J. Simpson’s case. Basically, the Kardashians have always been pretty well off financially. Sadly, in 2003 Robert Kardashian died at the age of 59 from esophageal cancer.
Less than a year after her divorce was finalized, Kris Jenner married Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner who we have all come to know as Caitlyn.
She became a stepmother to Bruce’s four children from his previous marriages: Brandon, Casey, Burt and Brody Jenner. Kris and Bruce had two children of their own. Kendall was born in 1995 and Kylie in 1997. Shortly after Caitlyn Jenner came out as transgender, the couple divorced in September of 2014.
Kim K Actually Predicted Her Own Stardom.
No one really saw Kim Kardashian coming except, well, herself.
In this home video in 1994, Kim asks the camera, “Does everyone get a tape of this? I hope you do, so you can see me when I’m famous and remember me as this beautiful little girl!”
The déjà is very real. Today, you can’t turn on an entertainment show or flip the page in a tabloid without hearing her name. Who says Kim Kardashian doesn’t have a talent? She’s a fortune teller who has no need for a crystal ball.
Then, Kim Was Paris Hilton’s Lackie.
According to Paris Hilton, these two have been friends since childhood. We were able to see Paris and Kim’s friendship in 2003, when Kardashian debuted as Hilton’s assistant on the heiress’ reality show, “The Simple Life.”
It’s hard to imagine a world where Kim Kardashian isn’t plastered across every tabloid. Believe it or not, back before Kim was snapping selfies and crying on camera for a living, she was organizing Paris Hilton’s closet. However, Hilton never snapped at Kim Kardashian, contrary to popular GIFs swirling around the internet. During the heyday of “The Simple Life,” the pair were often seen indulging in girl talk and Kim was right by Paris Hilton’s side at every red carpet event and girl’s night out.
The trouble between the two came a bit later.
In a 2015 interview with Yahoo Style, Hilton stated, “We’ve known each other since we were little girls, we’ve always been friends.” However, this is hard to believe with the ongoing feud between these pop culture princesses.
A rivalry between these two emerged after not long after the show ended. As the Kardashian’s popularity increased, Hilton began hurling insults at her former friend. During an interview with “Entertainment Tonight,” Paris Hilton stated, “I created Kim Kardashian” and then goes on to say, “Her whole family owes me her life.”
Then there was the time in 2008 when she referenced Kim Kardashian’s butt saying, “It reminds me of cottage cheese inside a big trash bag.” Ouch.
The words are hurtful, but that clearly didn’t faze Kim.
So What About The Infamous Sex Tape?
While the Kardashian family name was technically introduced to the world through the O.J. Simpson trial and “The Simple Life,” it undeniably gained popularity after this scandal.
The pornographic video with her then-boyfriend, rapper Ray J, was released on the internet. After it was leaked by an undisclosed party, the sex tape was given to the adult film distribution company Vivid Entertainment under the ironically accurate title, “Kim Kardashian Superstar.”
According to Complex, Kardashian claimed this was all done without her knowledge and spoke about pursuing a lawsuit. However, she instead chose to sell rights to the tape to “Girls Gone Wild” creator, Joe Francis, for $4.5 million.
There have been various claims that this video was the key to the Kardashians becoming famous. In a revealing interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2012, Kim Kardashian was asked if she believes her fame would have been possible without the sex tape. Her response was, “I think that’s definitely how I was introduced to the world.”
She then continued to say that the video being leaked was “humiliating” for her and her family. During the interview, Kardashian wholeheartedly denied the allegations that she released the video herself as a publicity stunt.
Intentional or not, it certainly served the Kardashian family well in the long run.
Then There Was “Dancing With The Stars.”
In 2008, Kim Kardashian partnered with Mark Ballas on the seventh season of “Dancing with the Stars.” Unfortunately, the performance wasn’t too pretty. In fact, it was bad enough to land the Kardashian a spot on Us Weekly’s list of the “10 Worst ‘Dancing with the Stars’ Celebrities – Ever!” Tough crowd.
The pair only lasted on the show for three episodes. And judging by feedback from critics, it was three episodes too long. During an interview with “Orlando Sentinel” in 2015, her former dance partner confirmed what many were thinking during Kardashian’s three episode run. Dallas stated, “Dancing was not her thing, but she’s a great girl.”
Don’t worry Kim, there are bigger and better things to come.
And Of Course, There’s “Keeping Up With The Kardashians.”
With Kim Kardashian’s name swirling around in the tabloids, future “momager” Kris Jenner took this as the perfect opportunity. She disclosed in her memoir, “It was very calculated. My business decisions and strategies were very intentional, definite and planned to the nth degree.”
Jenner met with Ryan Seacrest in 2007 and pitched a reality television show about her family’s antics. Seacrest loved the idea immediately after meeting the family, and then “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” was born. The rest was history.
It seems like the reality show has been around forever and, well, it pretty much has. “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” is now in its 13th season. To put that in perspective, it is only three years older than Facebook. Since the show began in 2007, there have been several spin-off series. Some of these include “Kourtney and Kim Take Miami,” “Khloe and Lamar” and “Kourtney and Kim Take New York.” Nowadays, the family rakes in massive amounts of cash from endorsements, thanks to their social accounts with followers in the multi-million range.
To sum it up, the Kardashians got famous for a variety of reasons.
Robert Kardashian’s role in the O.J. Simpson murder trial put them on America’s radar. Kim K’s appearances on “The Simple Life,” “Dancing with the Stars” and her infamous sex tape didn’t hurt either. However, it was the launch of the reality show “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” that ultimately created the family dynasty.
The family has been bombarded with criticism since they came into the spotlight. But they remain a guilty pleasure of many as their reality show ends their 13th season. Regardless of how they got famous, this family doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. Keep on keeping on, Kardashians.