A spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Superior Court told BuzzFeed News that divorce paperwork was officially filed Friday. A notice that the papers had been filed was later posted electronically, but there was little additional information.
TMZ was the first to report the news about the impending split of one of the most influential couples in show business. Page Six reported last month that Kardashian West had hired celebrity divorce lawyer Laura Wasser and formal divorce proceedings were imminent.
The development comes after the rapper's increasingly bizarre public behavior in the last year, which included a pseudo campaign for president and social media posts in which he said his wife had tried to have him hospitalized.
In a statement on Instagram in July last year, Kardashian West addressed her husband's mental health, describing him as "a brilliant but complicated person, who on top of the pressures of being an artist and a black man, ... experienced the painful loss of his mother, and has to deal with the pressure and isolation that is heightened by his bi-polar disorder."
She said the family was "powerless" to force West into treatment because he was not a minor. She also asked for compassion and empathy from the media and public and thanked those who expressed concern for West's well-being.
The couple has spent much of the last year apart, with Kardashian West based in LA with their children and West on his ranch in Wyoming. While the family reunited for Halloween, Instagram posts suggest they weren't together for Christmas, and she had also already removed her wedding ring according to recent photos.
The couple first began dating in 2012 while she was still legally married to her second husband, NBA player Kris Humphries. Kardashian West was previously married to music producer, Damon Thomas, from 2000 to 2004.
"We've been friends for like six or seven years," Kardashian West told Oprah Winfrey about Kanye in 2012. "So it's very comforting to have someone that knows everything about you, that respects you, understands, [and] has gone through similar things."
The pair married in a lavish ceremony in Florence in May 2014 after pre-wedding celebrations in Paris following West's proposal at a stadium with a live orchestra and fireworks spectacle.
They share four children: North, Saint, Chicago, and Psalm.
For years, her family described the pair as "soulmates" and "two peas in a pod." Kardashian West also cited her husband as a tower of strength following the traumatic Paris robbery in 2015 that saw her held up at gunpoint. The star later revealed that the traumatic experience not only reinforced the importance of her role as wife and mother, but was the catalyst for them deciding to expand their family. They used surrogates for their third and fourth children after Kardashian West suffered pregnancy complications that left her unable to carry another pregnancy to term.
In recent years, Kardashian West has been studying law and advocating for criminal justice reform. She was the key lobbyist behind President Donald Trump's decision to grant clemency to Alice Johnson, a 63-year-old woman who had been serving a life sentence for a first-time nonviolent drug offense.
In October 2020, Kardashian West sparked controversy for her decision to celebrate her 40th birthday on a private island amid the coronavirus pandemic.
A month before that, she had made the surprise announcement that her family's E! reality show, Keeping Up With the Kardashians, would be ending. West had made sporadic appearances on the show since he and Kardashian West first became friends in 2010.
The news of the show ending came amid a bizarre presidential campaign launched by West, who over the years had turned his attention from music to fashion to politics.
West announced via Twitter on the 4th of July in 2020 that he was running for president, although he had previously joked to Trump during their 2018 Oval Office meeting that he would only run after 2024. While West made efforts to land on the ballot in certain states, observers were torn as to whether the campaign was a serious one or a publicity stunt for the upcoming album Donda.
A supposed campaign rally in Charleston, South Carolina, on July 19 devolved into a spectacle in which the 43-year-old tearfully alleged that Kardashian West had contemplated aborting their first child, North, and falsely said abolitionist Harriet Tubman, who helped enslaved people escape via the Underground Railroad, “never actually freed the slaves, she just had the slaves go work for other white people.”
There was increased concern for West’s well-being after a series of late-night tweets on July 20 in which he said his wife had tried to have him hospitalized against his will for mental health treatment. "Kim tried to bring a doctor to lock me up with a doctor," he wrote in one of a series of posts that were later deleted. "If I get locked up like [Nelson] Mandela, Ya'll will know why.” That night, he had also tweeted that he wanted a divorce.
He also posted a screenshot apparently of a message to Kris Jenner, his mother-in-law, and asked publicly for her and his wife to call him.
West's foray into politics appeared to drive a wedge between the couple, with Kardashian West remaining tight-lipped on who she planned to vote for in the months leading up to the 2020 election despite her husband publicly running for office. However, she made clear in the minutes after the race was called for Joe Biden that she had cast her vote for the Democrat.
But visible tension between the pair had been mounting since 2019 when they began publicly arguing on Keeping Up With the Kardashians. During one dispute, West berated his wife for wearing a dress that he perceived as too revealing. "You built me up to be this sexy person and have confidence and all this stuff, and just because you're on your journey and you're on a transformation, doesn't mean that I'm in the same spot with you," she responded before storming out of the room.
Since he publicly revealed that he has bipolar disorder in 2017, West has spoken and rapped at length about his mental health. The disorder is typically characterized by bouts of depression and anxiety juxtaposed against episodes of manic and even reckless behavior. In his 2018 album, Ye, he referred to the disorder as his “superpower"; he announced later that year that he had stopped taking his prescribed medicine.
"It's not [that] I hate being bipolar. It's awesome," West told TV host Jimmy Kimmel in a 2018 interview. "It actually drives more of how you really feel. It doesn't do the opposite thing. I think it's important for us to have conversations about, you know, open conversations about mental health. Especially with me being Black. Because we never had therapists in the Black community."
In recent years, the rapper has transformed into a vocal conservative, proudly sporting a "Make America Great Again" hat while accusing Black Americans of blindly supporting the Democratic Party. In 2018, Kardashian West said at a criminal justice forum that her husband was drawn to Trump’s personality, not his politics. West himself told Forbes magazine in a July 8 interview that he no longer supported Trump.
Near the end of 2018, West had vowed to distance himself from politics and focus on his art, tweeting that he had come to believe he was being used to “spread messages” he didn’t believe in.
Correction: Alice Johnson's name was misstated in an earlier version of this story.