Through Kim’s family reality show, Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Kanye’s music videos and performances, and their various interviews and social media posts, their relationship genuinely did look like a fairy tale for a time.
The pair started dating in 2011 when Kanye — who changed his name to Ye in August — invited Kim to his Paris fashion show when she was feeling low about the breakdown of her marriage to Kris Humphries.
“I swear from the moment I landed, I fell madly in love with him and I thought: ‘Oh, my god, why didn’t I do this sooner?’” Kim previously revealed. “Like, this is what real life is like — love and fun and real support.”
They got engaged two years later in an extravagant proposal that saw Ye rent out an entire baseball stadium, complete with a 50-piece orchestra.
Kim and Ye also welcomed four children over the course of their relationship: North, Saint, Chicago, and Psalm.
But the cracks first began to show in 2015, when Ye announced that he would be running for president in 2020. The following year, he revealed his allegiance to controversial figure Donald Trump and supported him throughout his 2016 presidential run.
Ye continued to fan the flames of public backlash in 2018 when he said that slavery was a “choice” in an interview with TMZ. “When you hear about slavery for 400 years. For 400 years? That sounds like a choice. You were there for 400 years, and it is all of y’all?” he said at the time.
He also moved to a ranch in Wyoming that same year, with Kim and the kids remaining in California. Kim later revealed that Ye moving to a different state away from his family was one of the big contributing factors behind her decision to divorce him.
Things didn’t really seem to begin to sour between Ye and Kim until his presidential campaign in 2020, when he publicly revealed that he and Kim considered an abortion when she became pregnant with their first child.
He broke down in tears during the rally and claimed that he “almost killed [his] daughter,” and later published a series of scathing social media posts against Kim and her family.
“Kim was trying to fly to Wyoming with a doctor to lock me up like on the movie Get Out because I cried about saving my daughter’s life yesterday,” one of Ye’s tweets read.
He also compared Kim’s mom, Kris Jenner, to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by referring to her as “Kris Jong-Un,” and called both Kris and Kim "white supremacists."
At the time, Kim defended Ye and released a statement that referenced the fact that he has bipolar disorder, writing: “I’ve never spoken publicly about how this has affected us at home because I am very protective of our children and Kanye’s right to privacy when it comes to his health.”
“But today, I feel like I should comment on it because of the stigma and misconceptions about mental health. Those that understand mental illness, or even compulsive behavior, know that the family is powerless unless the member is a minor,” she added.
Kim apologized to her family for the way that Ye treated them in an episode of her new reality show, The Kardashians, which premiered in April.
Reflecting on her marriage, Kim said: “I can’t control how he treats me, or how he’s always treated you guys. I protected that for so long, but I said I will never let that happen to you guys again.”
“For once in my life, I feel strong. I’m not gonna let anyone treat you guys a way — or myself,” she went on.
Kim added in a confessional: “I do recognize the impact that my relationship has had on my family, and that I’ve never had the opportunity to just say, ‘I’m sorry, guys.’”
In another episode, Kim admitted that she wasn’t always “comfortable” with Ye’s behavior over the years, but publicly stood by him because she was his wife.
“I sat there through so many speeches and things that have not been the most comfortable for me,” she told her sister, Khloé Kardashian. “That was my partner, and I stood by him. I would never embarrass him and walk out and leave.”
Khloé agreed, adding: “Not even his speeches — strong public stances he’s taken in many different areas that may not be your stance, but you were his wife and that’s what you do. But how was that fair for you?”
Kim and Ye’s relationship reached new lows earlier this year as the anniversary of their separation loomed. Kim found new love with comedian Pete Davidson in October, and Ye repeatedly took aim at both of them in now-deleted Instagram posts.
In fact, Ye’s treatment of the couple sparked genuine concern, with the rapper being accused of “harassing” his ex as he shared screenshots of text messages that she’d sent him expressing fear for Pete’s safety.
“You are creating a dangerous and scary environment and someone will hurt Pete and this will all be your fault,” she told him in the text. “There are dangerous people out there and this is scary and it doesn’t have to be.”
And Kim addressed her relationship with Ye in this week’s season finale of The Kardashians as she suggested that nobody knows just how bad the marriage was behind closed doors.
The star also questioned her family’s decision not to intervene when things weren’t “OK,” but ultimately shared her gratitude that she was able to go on the “journey” by herself.
“When is that time we step into our siblings’ lives and be like, 'this isn’t OK'?” she asked Khloé. “I feel like we always tiptoe around each other’s situations because we don’t want to meddle, and I respect that.”
“No one came to me during my marriage and was like, ‘Are you good?’” Kim went on. “Everyone let me have my own journey and see that on my own, and I appreciate that but sometimes I look back and I’m like, ‘When do we jump in?’ That’s what I’m so unclear about.”
Kim then added: “If people knew what my relationship really was like, I think they’d be like, ‘How did this last this long?’ But I can live with myself knowing that I tried everything humanly possible to make a situation work, so I can walk away absolutely guilt-free.”
Thankfully, Kim appears to have found a healthier relationship with Pete, who delighted fans when he made his surprise The Kardashiansdebut in a hidden post-credits scene after this week’s finale.
In the same episode, Khloé suggested that her sister may have even found her happily ever after with him, saying in a confessional: “Pete is so sweet. I don’t know him really, really well, but what I do know is [the relationship is] really drama-free, it’s really easy.”
“I think that’s something that’s everyone’s end goal,” she went on. “Everyone wants that fairy tale.”