Another angle. Kim Kardashian and Kanye West had already split when filming for The Kardashians began, but the rapper is still a big presence on the show.
“Kanye and I are still going through a divorce now,” the Skims founder, 41, said during the debut episode of the Hulu series, which premieres on Thursday, April 14. “We’re just trying to figure it out. How to be good parents to our kids together, how to be good friends to each other. Our ultimate goal no matter what is just happiness and following that, whatever that looks like.”
When the Kardashian-Jenner family’s new show began filming in September 2021, the Grammy winner, 44, and the Selfish author were seemingly on great terms. One month before The Kardashians began production, the beauty mogul made a surprise appearance — in a wedding gown — at one of the listening parties for West’s album Donda.
“Kim supports Kanye and was happy to be on stage in a wedding dress,” a source exclusively told Us Weekly in August 2021. “She has always respected his art and ideas and was all in for the performance.”
After the KKW Beauty founder started dating Pete Davidson, however, West began publicly claiming that he wanted to reconcile with Kardashian, with whom he shares children North, 8, Saint, 6, Chicago, 4, and Psalm, 2.
“SNL making my wife say ‘I divorced him’ on TV because they just wanted to get that bar off and I never have seen the papers. We’re not even divorced,” he said during a November 2021 appearance on the “Drink Champs” podcast, referring to his ex’s Saturday Night Live hosting gig the month prior. “So how we — because [it’s] no joke to me, my kids want their parents to stay together. I want their parents — I want us to be together.” (The Keeping Up With the Kardashians alum filed for divorce from the Yeezy designer in February 2021.)
A judge declared Kardashian legally single in March and restored her maiden name, but West’s public feud with Davidson, 28, continued to escalate. “The boyfriend texts me, antagonizing me, bragging about being in bed with my wife,” the “Heartless” musician said in a since-deleted Instagram video that same month. “I fought it publicly for a year and a half. I’ve been dragged how she’s not my wife, she don’t have [my] last name and now he’s texting me, bragging about how he’s in bed with my wife and I’m like well, ‘Who’s watching my children?’ if he [is] texting me, bragging about being in bed with my wife.”
Keep scrolling to see everything Kim and her family have said about West on The Kardashians.
How the Divorce Was Going
In the premiere of The Kardashians, the former couple communicated several times about SNL. At the end of the episode, Kardashian even called her ex to discuss what to do about the possibility that additional footage from her sex tape would be leaked.
“Kanye and I are still going through a divorce now,” the Dancing With the Stars alum said during a confessional interview. “We’re just trying to figure it out. How to be good parents to our kids together, how to be good friends to each other. Our ultimate goal no matter what is just happiness and following that, whatever that looks like.”
At one point in the episode, Kardashian also asked North whether she wanted to go with her dad to the Grammys, though it wasn’t clear when that conversation took place. (West was banned from performing at the 2022 ceremony after a series of threatening social media posts.)
Kanye’s ‘SNL’ Involvement
The first episode was filmed ahead of Kardashian’s SNL hosting debut in October 2021, and in several scenes, she discussed the possibility of having West join her as the musical guest. “That would be epic if he was my musical guest, but then do I want my own moment?” she asked her family in one scene. In a confessional interview, she added, “This is my first time, and I kinda want this to be about me and not about, ‘How are they gonna act to each other?'”
The former E! personality continued weighing the decision in a conversation with stylist Danielle Levi. “It could either be super calming. It would be so cool for the kids to see Mom and Dad on SNL together,” she said. “But then, like, I might be more stressed out. The more people you know that are there, I just might be like, ‘Oh, my God.'”
Halsey eventually signed on as the performer for the episode, but West helped his ex with her monologue and her wardrobe for the show. Comedians Amy Schumer, Sarah Silverman and Dave Chappelle also helped Kardashian brainstorm jokes about her divorce. “Sarah Silverman was like, ‘What if you’re like, OK, I’m gonna ask some questions from the audience,’ and I go, ‘You,’ and it’s really Kanye in a disguise, but you know it’s him,” the Skims designer said, laughing. “He [would go], ‘So, do you believe in second chances in marriages?’ and [I’d say], ‘No!'”
A Career Change?
While at lunch with her sisters Khloé Kardashian and Kourtney Kardashian, Kim claimed that West told her he was considering becoming her full-time stylist even after their split. “He says wants to quit everything and just dedicate his life to being my stylist,” she explained.
In a confessional interview, she added, “Kanye and I remain friends. Kanye’s always dressed me, he’s always styled me. In the early 2000s, he would literally just send me random emails with all these looks and what my style should be. … That’s always really been our thing, but there’s also a side of me that wants total independence too.”
After Kim found out about the potential sex tape leak, she called West to debrief him on the situation. His words weren’t audible, but in a confessional interview, Kim revealed that his advice helped her cope with the situation. “The one thing that got me kinda just, like, more calm about it was when I was crying,” she said. “Kanye was like, ‘Listen, you have the power. Nothing will cancel you. Stop worrying about the public perception. You know who you are.'”
During the April 20 episode, Kim detailed the lengths that her ex went to in order to make it to NYC for SNL. “He literally took a coach commercial flight, sat in the seat next to the bathroom,” she told her friend Tracy Romulus, who’s also an exec at KKW Brands. “He said he didn’t sleep all night long just so that he can get in town early enough to meet up with Dave [Chappelle] and go over jokes.”
In a confessional interview, however, Kim noted that she “set some serious boundaries” with West before his arrival. “Kanye and I are staying at separate hotels,” she explained. “I’ve been really clear with him as far as where we stand in our relationship. Just super drama-free is the vibe for this week.”
In one scene during the April 20 episode, Kim spoke to SNL producer Lindsay Shookus about being concerned that one joke about her split from West went too far. “The divorce is so sensitive for him,” she said, noting that she already planned a line about the breakup in her monologue.
“I’m always afraid of hurting people’s feelings, and I would never go in there making fun of especially, like, the father of my kids,” Kim said in a confessional scene. “And it doesn’t mean that because we didn’t work out that we don’t have a great love and respect for each other.”
In a Class by Himself
After West returned the sex tape that Kim was worried would leak, Kris Jenner had nothing but praise for her former son-in-law. “Thank you for Kanye and for his unbelievable way he does things and the ability to get something done,” the momager said during the April 28 episode. “You can negotiate my next deal. How about that?”
Kim, for her part, said that it meant “a lot” to her that her ex went through so much effort to retrieve the files. “I know Kanye did this for me, but he also did this for my kids,” she said in a confessional interview. “I wanna shield them from as much as I can. And if I have the power to, or if Kanye has the power to, that is the most important thing to me, and I’m just so emotional because of it.”
The ‘SNL’ Aftermath
In the May 5 episode, Kim revealed that her ex-husband walked out of her SNL taping while she was still doing her monologue. “I haven’t talked to him since,” she told Khloé. “He’s upset at the fact that I said ‘the reason I divorced him’ — used the word ‘divorced.’ He wished I said the word ‘filed’ for divorce. He was upset that I also said he was a rapper. He said, ‘I’m so much more than a rapper. I can’t believe you said rapper.'”
Kim also noted that she “sat there through so many speeches and things that have not been the most comfortable” during their relationship. “But that was my partner and I stood by him,” she explained. “I would never embarrass him and walk out of the room.”
After Khloé pointed out that Kim also supported West when he took “strong public stances” about controversial topics, Kim replied: “That’s the thing, he’s so used to getting exactly what he wants. I’ve never seen anything like it. Good for him. But hey, it’s not gonna happen here.”
In a confessional interview, the beauty entrepreneur said that the SNL drama changed her attitude toward West. “We have four kids together,” she explained. “I always want to have a good, healthy relationship with him, but after SNL happened, I felt [like], ‘OK, I need to know focus on the bar and I need to get new energy.'”
Not on the Same Page
During the May 12 episode, Kim questioned the way she had to approach discussing her divorce publicly.
“I am always super protective of Kanye and not sharing a lot of the negative things that have happened. Just because he is not here doing the show,” she shared during a confessional interview. “Also, if I do something on a reality show then it’s like, ‘How dare she talk about him?’ But he can do a song and, ‘That’s so creative and expressive.’ It is always two different sides are being expressed two different ways. One is respected and one is not.”
While reflecting on her decision to file for divorce, the beauty mogul noted that she was confident in the next chapter of her life. “I knew it needed to be done when I filed because I knew it wasn’t the right situation for me,” she added. “Now I feel super good. I got to a point where I would ask him for advice for everything down to what I wear.”
A Critical Outlook
“He told me my career was over and showed me a picture of Marge Simpson wearing something similar,” Kim told Kourtney during the May 12 episode of The Kardashians, shortly after her appearance at the WSJ. Magazine Innovator Awards in October 2021.
The Skims founder revealed that she was trying to style herself to cut ties with Kanye, adding, “I always just trusted in him, but it is not just about the clothes. That was the last thing we really had in common. I was always the Kardashians with my sisters. Then I was Kimye. Who is Kim K.? That is the jump. How do I get there without Kanye?”
“I’m always going to take the high road,” Kim said on the May 19 episode after West arrived to take the kids to school. “We have kids involved. Kanye is here to pick up the kids. I just woke up and the mornings that he takes them to school [are] kind of relieving for me because I get to do a little bit of work. We now trade off on who takes the kids to school in the morning.”
The following day, she added, “No matter what we’re going through, I always want my kids to be around their dad as much as possible and just to have their mornings with dad and get dropped off at school.”
During the May 26 episode, Kim read a message about West’s upcoming music to her family. “Kanye’s coming out with a new rap song. Kim is all in it,” she said.
She then added, “He’s probably talking mad s–t about me and probably saying whatever.”
Pete vs. Kanye
“I’m happy that she has someone who is nice to her, caters to her,” Khloé said, praising how the comedian acts toward her sister.
Scott, however, threw some shade at Kim’s marriage to West, adding, “She hasn’t had [someone who caters to her in] a really long time. It’s really cute. She’s so different, too, in front of [Pete].”