Ever since Kim Kardashian and Kanye West tied the knot at the Forte di Belvedere in Florence, Italy, back in May 2014, there has been a guiding light that has played a profound influence on their union — and it hasn't been the Miami preacher or pastor Rich Wilkerson Jr., who presided over the "I Do's."
Kris Jenner, the Beverly Hills socialite with no formal education who built her and her family a billion-dollar global empire, has been pulling the strings for years, gently encouraging her daughter to ditch whom she perceived to be a raging out-of-control hubby because he's "toxic for the brand."
Ever ruthless, Kris plays multiple roles as the family matriarch: mom, confidante, businesswoman and overlord. To understand this, one needs to consider that when it comes to the Dynasty-meets-Beverly Hills, 90210 world of the Kardashian-Jenner universe, fact can often be way more outlandish than fiction.
For the uninitiated, Kris Jenner represents everything there is about the American dream. She is, every bit, a true story of ambition, wealth and someone who came from relative obscurity and rose to full-blown stardom. This once shy girl from San Diego is also a rare example of how one can extend their 15 minutes of fame… to 16.
In the case of the Kardashian-Jenner clan, it was, indeed, 20 seasons of their hit television show Keeping Up With the Kardashians on E!.
With Kris' own story dramatized before our eyes, the scene of Kim's split from Kanye writes itself.
Kris has been tugging on heartstrings to persuade her daughter to do the right thing, sources told me recently, as I put the finishing touches on what OkMagazine.com has called an "explosive" and "sensational" new biography on the Hollywood 'momager.'
For all intents and purposes, the Kimye marriage has been over for some time. The pair live completely separate lives. He lives full-time at his ranch in Wyoming and has made it clear he has no plans to return to Los Angeles, where his wife and four children call home.
Kanye, who considers himself not just a musician but an artist of a generation, is working and so focused he doesn’t like to be disturbed when he is creating.
For her part, Kim believes she has married a genius, the equivalent of a "modern-day Picasso" as she once told a friend. This is the price you have to pay to be around such talent, she told this confidant. She had accepted this and even enjoyed her freedom... to an extent.
But with Kanye's support of President Donald J. Trump, his own presidential candidacy, his meltdowns and instability, there came a moment of reckoning that has played out previously in the Kardashian-Jenner household with other men such as Bruce, who transition to Caitlyn, Lamar Odom, Scott Disick, Tristan Thompson, Tyga, Kris Humphries, French Montana, Travis Scott and James Harden.
When the man becomes a liability, it's time to move on.
Kim didn't make the decision to separate from Kanye alone — and, as is the case with all within the empire — divorce lawyer-to-the-stars Laura Wasser is on speed dial. Kris has been tugging on her daughter’s heartstrings to persuade her to do the right thing, which is kick Kanye to the curb. He had outlived his usefulness, and it's about time he was cut loose.
"She has gently reminded her daughter what a toxic liability Kanye is to the Kardashian brand," a source told me.
One pivotal moment that Kanye has never been forgiven for was his bipolar outburst last year when the "modern-day Picasso" went on a bizarre rant and publicly likened his mother-in-law to Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.
As a source explained: "Kris holds grudges. She never mentions the incident but she's still seething and does not want to be in the same room with him, despite his apologies."
My book with co-author Dylan Howard, who has chronicled the Kardashians from his post as a top celebrity editor for the past 12 years, published by Skyhorse Publishing and released nationwide this week, tells the true story of ambition, wealth, betrayal and how a ruthless Beverly Hills socialite became the ultimate momager and raked in billions.
While the book set out on a journey to deliver empowering messages of Kris' rags-to-riches story, it quickly dovetailed into the unearthing of embarrassing revelations about Kris' role in the release of Kim's sex tape and her business dealings with shamed double murder suspect O.J. Simpson.
While some have joked Kris pulled out Rule 1 from her playbook (actively conspire to leak an alternate story to deviate attention away from another scandal — in this instance, the revelations in Dirty Sexy Money: The Unauthorized Biography of Kris Jenner), it's more likely that it's just good timing.
The real reality is that Kim is playing by her mom's well-used playbook.
When the man in your life no longer serves a purpose, ditch him. Initially when Kanye went off the rails in July 2020, Kim could do nothing else but to nobly support a mentally-ill husband. Anything else would have tarnished her image.
Now, she can more easily exit Stage Left, while Kris will use the 'painful experience for the family' narrative to the family's advantage.
After all, image has been everything in the family's meteoric rise to fame. When Kanye married Kim, it allowed the family to shed the reality television label and be accepted in the luxurious fashion world.
After he came along, members of the Kardashian-Jenner clan were all of a sudden rubbing shoulders with Vogue editrix Anna Wintour, hobnobbing at the Met Gala and gracing the cover of Vogue. Kris used the association to build a new social network, just like she's done all her life with each man she has been with — and now that she's done that, Kanye is surplus to requirements.
She calls the shots. She always has.
Dirty Sexy Money: The Unauthorized Biography of Kris Jenner details how Kris has leapfrogged from man to man, and used each relationship to climb the social ladder — from her first boyfriend when she was 17, a golf pro, up to Bruce Jenner, who was dubbed the World's Greatest Athlete at the time.
Kim has closely followed her mother's own playbook, and now that she has surpassed Kanye in status — as his star dims ever so lightly — she doesn't need his money.
She just needs peace and quiet — albeit on her, or her mom's, terms.