In October 2016, Kim Kardashian was robbed at gunpoint in her Paris hotel room while she was in the city for fashion week. Around $10 million worth of jewelry was taken during the heist, including her $4 million Lorraine Schwartz engagement ring.
The star was staying at the Hôtel de Pourtalès when the masked men broke in, and she later revealed that she feared she’d be sexually assaulted and murdered when they tied her up and duct-taped her mouth and eyes shut.
During a sit-down interview with David Letterman in 2020, Kim described the terrifying evening as “seven or eight minutes of torture” as she recalled what happened in harrowing detail.
“They brought in the concierge from downstairs, handcuffed, with a gun up to him. They were yelling at me in French, and I just sat up,” she explained.
“He grabbed me and pulled me towards him. But I wasn’t wearing anything underneath [my bathrobe],” Kim went on through tears. “So I was like, ‘OK, this is the time, I’m going to get raped. Just deal, like, it’s gonna happen.’ You know, like, just prepare yourself.”
She added, “But then he tied me up, with handcuffs and then zip ties and duct tape. And then duct-taped my mouth, and then my eyes. Before he duct-taped my eyes — because that was the last thing — I saw he found my whole jewelry box and held it up.”
Kim said that before her mouth was covered, she was begging the concierge — who was also bound and handcuffed — to speak to the robbers in French and ask them to spare her life for the sake of her family.
“Just tell them I have children, like, I have babies, I have a husband, I have a family...I have to get home,” she recounted.
Kourtney Kardashian was staying in the same hotel suite but was out with friends the night of the incident, and Kim said that she began to imagine her sister discovering her dead body and being “traumatized for the rest of her life” when she got back from the night out.
Thankfully, Kim did not sustain any physical injuries during the robbery, but she was left mentally scarred by the ordeal and suffered flashbacks and anxiety attacks.
It was later revealed that the intruders — a group of men in their 60s and 70s — planned the burglary for two years before the attack and used Kim’s social media activity to carry out the heist.
French police said Kim’s use of Snapchat could have alerted the robbers to the jewelry that she had with her in Paris, as well as the fact that she was in the hotel room alone.
“I went on the internet and I saw her jewelry, I saw her ring, I saw that she showed it everywhere,” he said. “We knew this information through social media, we knew that she was coming for fashion week, so we went there to do some reconnaissance so we were sure.”
Yunis added that he didn’t know who Kim was when the other men started to plan the robbery, but he was able to work out how rich she is online — as well as the elements that would make her an easy target.
“I saw one of her shows where she threw her diamond in the pool in that episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. I thought, She’s got a lot of money, this lady doesn’t care at all,” he recalled.
Yunis went so far to suggest that the attack was a result of Kim being “provocative” with her wealth online, and warned celebrities to “be a little less showy towards people who can’t afford it.”
While Yunis’s comments were heavily criticized for victim-blaming Kim, she did completely overhaul her lifestyle and how she conducts herself on social media after the attack.
Speaking on The View in 2017, Kim said of her new approach, “I might take a photo, save it, post it when I leave the place or when I'm in a different location, because I don't think that worked out for me so well when I was posting every last detail. I’ve learned from experience.”
She also said that she became less “materialistic” after her ordeal, telling Ellen DeGeneres in 2017: “I was definitely materialistic before, and not that there’s anything bad with having things and working hard to get those things, but I’m so happy that my kids get this me, and that this is who I am raising my kids as.”
Kim added, “I just don’t care about that stuff anymore. I don’t care to show off the way that I used to.”
And in a 2021 Keeping Up With the Kardashiansreunion, the star reiterated: “No expensive items ever come to my home. I have it all taken from security before I even enter my home. I can't sleep if I have jewelry in my safe, or money, or anything at my house. I just don't live my life like that."
She went on, “As far as jewelry, if I'm wearing something, it's borrowed. It's fake.”
Which is why Kim appeared to be overwhelmed by the opportunity to reclaim some of her past “glamour” in this week’s episode of The Kardashians.
The star was taken by surprise when Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana gifted her with luxurious jewelry as a thank-you for collaborating with them on a limited collection in September.
Ahead of the runway show, the designers gave Kim a stunning diamond cross necklace and matching earrings, which she was pictured wearing that night.
Visibly overcome with emotion, Kim gasped and said, “This is beautiful,” before adding, “This is the nicest piece of jewelry I own, because I lost it all.”
And she reflected on the Paris robbery some more in a confessional. “The first thing I ever bought when I got a check was a cross diamond necklace," she said.
“After I was robbed in Paris, I haven’t bought jewelry, I haven’t really been about wearing jewelry,” she went on. “Because when it was taken from me, I didn’t know I was ready for that experience and what that meant, but I was ready to give it up.”
Kim added, “This symbolized, to me, more than just getting a diamond cross necklace. This brought a piece of my glamour back to me, and that’s why it's so special I got it back from a really meaningful experience.”
And — aside from her ongoing rift with Kourtney over the Dolce & Gabbana deal — Kim’s collab was a huge success, and she was later filmed celebrating with the designers as well as her inner circle after the show.
You can watch the latest episode of The Kardashians on Hulu now or on Disney+ internationally. The next episode will be available to watch June 29.
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 (HOPE), which routes the caller to their nearest sexual assault service provider. You can also search for your local center here.