If there’s one thing we know about the Kardashian-Jenners, it’s that loyalty is everything, especially when it comes to family.
And there’s perhaps no better testament to their fierce commitment than how they’ve treated their romantic partners over the years, particularly those with whom they share children.
Whether it’s exes like Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick still teaming up for family vacations, or Kim Kardashian showing up at Kanye West’s Donda performance wearing a wedding dress months after filing for divorce, for better or worse, the Kardashians have been known to stand alongside their exes and baby daddies through thick and thin.
And unfortunately for Khloé Kardashian, she’s had to weather her fair share of challenges when it comes to her past partners — namely, Tristan Thompson.
So, after finalizing her complicated divorce from Lamar Odom in 2016, it began to look like the tables might have finally turned for Khloé after she met Tristan on a blind date in the same year.
However, as we all now know, things were anything but straightforward for Khloé and Tristan, who went on to face a string of messy cheating scandals in 2018, 2019, and once again at the start of this year.
Back in 2018, after it was confirmed that Tristan had cheated on Khloé in the days before their daughter True was born, Khloé faced a lot of backlash a few months later in June when she announced on Twitter that they were working on “rebuilding” their relationship in spite of the scandal.
But it wasn’t long before history repeated itself and Khloé and Tristan split once more — less than a year after they rekindled their romance for the first time — after Tristan was exposed for kissing Jordyn Woods, Kylie Jenner’s former best friend.
However, several months later, Tristan and Khloé seemed to be working things out yet again — even pursuing the idea of having another baby together.
As it became increasingly clear that Khloé and Tristan had reunited for a second time, some fans were critical of her, particularly in light of the fact that she had been so public in her criticism of Jordyn.
But regardless of the wider backlash, Khloé and Tristan’s second reconciliation was looking promising, with their newly reformed relationship being closely documented on the last season of Keeping Up With the Kardashians and more recently on the family’s new show, The Kardashians.
However, things eventually came tumbling down once again in January this year, after Tristan was forced to confirm that he had welcomed a child with a woman named Maralee Nichols, having conceived the baby back in March 2021 — the very night that he and Khloé had gone public with their rekindled romance.
Which brings us to today, and despite the fallout of his paternity scandal, Khloé recently gushed over her ex and praised his role as a father.
“I think at the end of the day all of us just aspire to have blissfulness,” she told Robin Roberts during an ABC News special last month, going on to say that she still thinks Tristan is “a great guy” and “a great dad.”
Fans had remained eager to see whether the couple would reunite once again given their previous reconciliations. However, Khloé did go on to clarify that while she appreciates him as True’s father, Tristan is “just not the guy” for her.
But, as all Kardashian fans know only too well, it isn’t just Khloé who maintains a strong bond with her complicated ex.
Following their split in 2015 after nearly a decade of dating, Scott Disick and Kourtney Kardashian had been known to pride themselves on converting their crumbled romance into a friendly and functional coparenting relationship.
However, things aren't really straightforward with this duo, either, and many have been critical of Kourtney for maintaining such a close relationship with Scott, who was at the center of a number of cheating accusations throughout their on-again, off-again relationship.
And ever since Kourtney moved on with now-husband Travis Barker in late 2020, she and Scott have struggled to both maintain their friendship and define the boundaries of their coparenting dynamic. In fact, recent episodes of The Kardashians have centered on Scott feeling isolated from the family in the wake of their relationship intensifying.
And just like Kourt, her younger sister Kim Kardashian has maintained a pretty close relationship with her ex-husband Kanye West.
Despite the complicated demise of their marriage in late 2020 and his public harassment of her earlier this year, Kim still speaks highly of the rapper and is known to constantly support his various career ventures.
So much so, in fact, that in September last year — seven months after Kim filed for divorce — the exes were spending so much time together that fans became convinced that their split had been called off.
Interestingly, the sisters’ close relationships with the men who have publicly humiliated them has raised eyebrows among fans in recent years, prompting Khloé to address the dynamic in this week’s episode of The Kardashians.
During a scene filmed in November 2021 — less than two months before Tristan’s paternity scandal broke — a newly rekindled Khloé and Tristan are working out together in Kim’s home gym before they get a surprise interruption from none other than Kim and Kanye.
Fans of the show will know that at this stage in their divorce, Kim and Kanye weren’t on the friendliest of terms after he had stormed out of her Saturday Night Live monologue weeks earlier.
However, Kim explains in her confessional that Kanye was there to pick their kids up for school and that, despite their differences, she will “always take the high road” for the benefit of their children.
After Kanye and Kim leave the gym, the surprise Kanye appearance prompts Khloé to reflect on their unusual family dynamic, comparing it to “the mob.”
“Let me just really ask you something, Tristan, and be as honest as you want, OK?” she begins. “Either an individual would say, ‘What an amazing family, that you guys just keep everyone around at all times,’ or, are you like, ‘How does this family still keep all these guys around?’”
“Once you’re in, it’s like the mob, you can’t get out,” she jokes.
Speaking from first-hand experience, Tristan then responds in agreement: “It’s like one in, one out.”
The scene then cuts to Khloé’s confessional where she begins to explain why she and her sisters keep their exes so close to hand — a seeming response to the backlash she faced for getting back together with Tristan after his cheating scandal.
“We have a very loyal, strong vibe in our family,” Khloé says. “We are great coparenters, we are great at blending families. We’ve learned that from my mom and my dad.”
Returning to the gym where Khloé and Tristan have resumed their workout, Khloé explains to Tristan that her and her sisters’ coparenting styles have been inspired by that of their parents, who divorced when she, Kim, Kourtney, and their brother, Rob, were children.
For context, Kris Jenner and Robert Kardashian Sr. split in 1989 after Kris’s affair with Todd Waterman was uncovered by private investigators. Their divorce was finalized in 1991, by which time Kris had already embarked on a new relationship with Olympian Caitlyn Jenner, who she’d marry months later.
Reflecting on her parents’ post-split relationship, Khloé reveals that they remained close and adds that Robert and Caitlyn even struck up a bond too.
“That’s just how we are. That’s how we were raised,” she says. “Like my mom and my dad were best friends, my dad and my stepdad played golf together twice a week.”
In response, Tristan offers a wider perspective, explaining that the family’s approach to coparenting is pretty unusual, even for him.
“Yeah, that doesn’t really happen anywhere else besides your guys’ family,” he says. “The dad and the stepdad are usually... somebody’s getting hit with a golf club.”
But Khloé knows exactly how it is in her family and swiftly responds, telling Tristan that he’s stuck in the family “forever.”
“Scott is never leaving. Kanye is never leaving. Looks like you’re never leaving. We’re all here, forever!” she says, calling their unconventional approach “a beautiful thing.”
Tristan then quips, “No, no. More like you’re never leaving me,” which, as far as quotes go, certainly hasn’t aged well given what the following months would entail.
You can watch the latest episode of The Kardashians now on Hulu or Disney+ internationally. The next episode will be released on May 25.