Are the Kardashians the most famous family on the planet? If not, they’re clear contenders. The female-dominated clan is well-known for its billionaire fortune, relationship scandals, ever-growing family, and luxurious lifestyles. How did the Kardashians get so famous in the first place? You’re not the first person to ask.
Some say the Kardashians are simply famous for being famous, which leaves many wondering what they actually do — and how they became household names. A dig into their family history reveals exactly why the Kardashian-Jenner family shot to fame and how they’ve maintained their sky-high status over the last two decades.
Stick with us as we explore the secret lives of the Kardashians, their trials and tribulations, and their rise to A-list celebrity status.
Who Are The Kardashians?
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past few decades, you’ve probably heard of the Kardashians. The family has many different faces. In keeping with their surname, all the women in the family have names beginning with “K” — even the mother. Some say it’s cringe-worthy, others say it’s genius. After all, their names are part of their brand.
It’s easy to get confused with who’s who, so let’s quickly run through the household. Bonus points if you already know who everyone is!
Kris Jenner is the matriarch of the Kardashian family. She’s well-known for coining the term “momager” and being the powerhouse behind the Kardashian brand. Kris helps manage her six kids’ lives and businesses. If you’re wondering why her surname is different, it’s because of her second marriage to former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner (who used the name Bruce Jenner during their marriage). The couple divorced in 2015.
Kourtney Kardashian is the eldest of the Kardashian siblings. She married Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker in Italy in May 2022, and shares three children with her previous partner, Scott Disick — sorry, Lord Disick.
Kim Kardashian is perhaps the most famous Kardashian, though her siblings might not like to hear us say it. Her marriage to rapper Kanye West helped to keep Kim in the spotlight and opened up a world of new opportunities. She’s done a lot over the years — in fact, the media shares almost anything she does. Her three marriages, four kids, business ventures, and crying face regularly circle the internet.
Khloé Kardashian is Kris and Robert Kardashian’s third daughter, although this has been questioned over the years. On Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Khloé took a DNA test after global gossip suggested she had a different father. Spoiler alert — she’s definitely her father’s daughter.
Rob Kardashian is the only male in the sibling lineup and the final child of Kris Jenner and Robert Kardashian. He’s taken a step back from the media in recent years and is rarely seen at social events with his siblings. He still boasts 3 million Instagram followers, though.
Continuing with the “K” theme, Kris and Caitlyn named their first child Kendall. She’s most well-known for her runway status and for appearing on the covers of magazines. Also, of course, for being a member of the Kardashian-Jenner clan.
Kylie Jenner is the youngest of the Kardashian siblings, but one of the richest. In fact, Forbes magazine named her the youngest “self-made billionaire” in history. Since having her second child, Kylie’s taken more of a backseat in her career, but she’s still just as famous as ever.
The Kardashians: A Timeline to Fame
Now we know who they all are, it’s time to ask the question: why are the Kardashians famous? Let’s go back to where it all began and discover how the family catapulted to fame.
1991: The Olympic Wedding — Kris & Caitlyn Jenner
Following her divorce from Robert Kardashian, Kris found love with former Olympian, Caitlyn Jenner (known as Bruce Jenner during their marriage). The pair tied the knot after a four-month courtship.
Caitlyn was already a famous face in the sporting world, which elevated the family’s celebrity status. She also brought several other children into the family from a previous relationship, including Brody Jenner, who you might know from the hit TV show The Hills. A few years later, Kris’s youngest children, Kendall (1995) and Kylie Jenner (1997) were born.
1994 – 1995: Robert Kardashian’s Role in the O. J. Simpson Case
The O. J. Simpson case was probably the start of the Kardashians’ celebrity status. Robert Kardashian was a well-respected attorney and a close friend of O. J. Simpson. He became a member of the NFL star’s defense team when O. J. was accused of murdering Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.
Robert Kardashian read O. J.’s suicide note to the media five days after the trial. This was one of his first appearances on the world stage and our first introduction to the wider Kardashian family. Robert later died from esophageal cancer in 2003. Although he and Kris were divorced, they remained great friends.
2003 – 2006: Kim Kardashian Under Paris Hilton’s Spotlight
Even before she became famous, Kim Kardashian had a few A-listers in her friendship group. Her first appearance on TV was under Paris Hilton’s spotlight when she appeared as Paris’s friend and, later, her assistant, on The Simple Life. Kim quickly gained recognition as Paris’ pretty brunette friend, but little else was known about her in the early ‘00s.
2006: DASH Welcomes Shoppers
Kim, Kourtney, and Khloé Kardashian launched their women’s clothing store, DASH. The first boutique opened in the affluent Californian city of Calabasas. They later launched a spin-off of Keeping Up with the Kardashians (likely to promote the store) called Dash Dolls, which followed the lives of DASH employees, including Khloé’s besties Malika and Khadijah Hadd.
2007: Kim K’s Sex Tape Scandal
The sex tape scandal is often talked about as the start of the real Kardashian fame. Although the family claims the tape was accidentally leaked, in recent years, many have talked about whether momager Kris purposely orchestrated the leak to drive media attention toward the family. At the time of the recording, Kim Kardashian was in a relationship with rapper Ray J, who features in the footage. It’s since been removed from the internet.
2007: Keeping Up with the Kardashians
Coincidentally or not, the Kardashian-Jenner family welcomed cameras into their home the same year the sex tape drama happened. The reality show Keeping Up with the Kardashians first aired on E!, giving viewers an inside look into the family’s day-to-day lives. It was a huge success, with millions tuning into every episode.
E! also ran a series of spin-off shows, including Kourtney and Kim Take Miami, Kourtney and Khloé Take The Hamptons, and Khloé and Lamar, among others. 14 years and 20 seasons later, the Kardashian-Jenner family waved goodbye to KUWTK for good. Thankfully, you can still stream all 20 seasons on Amazon Prime Video, Peacock, and Vudu.
2007: Introducing Momager Kris
With KUWTK a raging success, Kris Jenner wanted to make the most of the family’s increasing celebrity status. Kris’ momager efforts are adequately paid for though, as she takes a 10% cut of all her kids’ profits.
In the early days, she encouraged the then-most-famous sister, Kim, to do as many business opportunities as she could. One of Kim’s earliest ventures was her 2007 Playboy cover — which is also featured on KUWTK. Kim even dipped her toe in the music industry in 2011 when she released her first and only single, Jam. Kris then turned her attention to Kendall’s modeling career, as well as the business ventures of her other daughters, Kourtney, Khloé, and Kylie.
2009 – 2014: The Kardashian Weddings
The wedding bells sure do ring often for the Kardashian family. Kim was the first to tie the knot in 2000 at 19 years old to music producer Damon Thomas — the marriage lasted four years. Since the Kardashians didn’t have much of a celebrity status back then, Kim almost got away with no one knowing.
Khloé was next down the aisle, marrying NBA star Lamar Odom in 2009 after just one month of dating. Kim then entered into her famous 72-day marriage (yes, really) with another NBA player, Kris Humphries, in 2011. Their short-lived wedding hit headlines when the pair divorced after less than 3 months. Kim decided to have another go with the rapper Kanye West in 2014. The lead-up to their European wedding is on season 9 of KUWTK, in case you want to re-watch it.
2009 – present: Here Come the Kardashian Babies!
The Kardashian family got even bigger in 2009 when Kourtney welcomed her first child with then-boyfriend Scott Disick. Mason Disick was the first baby and grandchild in the family, though he certainly wasn’t the last.
Kourtney had two more children with Scott, and Kim shares four with her ex-husband Kanye. Khloé, Kylie, and Rob also have children of their own. As it stands, Kris Jenner currently has 12 grandchildren.
2014: Kimye Vogue Cover
The power couple that was Kim and Kanye reached a new status of celebrity when Vogue featured them on the front cover a few months before their marriage. It was at this point the world could see Kim was more than a face on reality TV. Since then, she’s become a fashion guru, working with many leading brands across the world.
2014: Kendall Takes to The Runway
Although all the Kardashian-Jenner sisters like to dabble in fashion, only one made it a career. Kendall Jenner has become one of the most high-profile models in the world. She began modeling in 2009, but her career took off when she hit the runway in 2014. She’s now walked for most of the major luxury brands, including Chanel, Dior, and Prada. In 2017, Kendall became the highest-paid supermodel globally, bringing in an impressive $22 million that year.
2015: Caitlyn Jenner Comes Out
The Kardashian-Jenner family made headlines once again when Caitlyn Jenner (Kris’s ex-husband) came out as a trans woman. A two-part special of Keeping Up with the Kardashians explored the family’s response to her transition.
2015: Kylie Cosmetics Is Born & So Is a Billionaire
The youngest of the siblings, Kylie Jenner, launched her cosmetics brand in 2015. Initially, she only sold Kylie Lip Kits, but she’s since grown the brand to offer many types of makeup and skincare. The success of her cosmetics line saw Kylie become the youngest self-made billionaire ever at just 21, according to Forbes magazine.
2017: Blac Chyna’s Lawsuit
Rob Kardashian’s relationship with American model Blac Chyna (also known as Angela White) was featured in the spin-off show Rob & Chyna on E! in 2016. After E! announced they were pressing pause on the show in 2017, Blac Chyna said she was suing members of the Kardashian family for defamation, claiming they interfered with the show.
Blac Chyna failed to win her case when the court dropped any charges against the Kardashian family in 2022. Kris’ phone call with the trial result was televised on season 2 of The Kardashians.
2019: Kim Turns to Law
Not content with her success as a reality TV star turned fashionista, Kim Kardashian wanted to try out a completely new career path. Following in her father’s footsteps, Kim began studying law. It took her a few years and four attempts, but Kim finally passed the baby bar in 2021. She’s not a qualified lawyer just yet, but she plans to take the final bar exam in February 2025, so watch this space.
As a legal activist, Kim has worked on many cases of injustice in the US, helping to release wrongfully convicted individuals from prison.
2021: The Kimye Divorce
Kimye was more than just a coined name, it was an enterprise. When Kim announced she was filing for divorce in May 2021, it took the world by storm. The media and public were well aware of Kanye’s erratic outbursts on social media, some of which shamed his wife, but I don’t think anyone was expecting a divorce. The once much-in-love pair finalized their divorce in November 2022.
2022: The Kardashians
The family invited the cameras back once again for their latest series, The Kardashians, in 2022. Leaving E! behind, the new show is only available to stream on Hulu and Disney+. Rumors suggest the decision to move streaming channels was down to the lack of input the family had over production and editing. Season 3 of The Kardashians is currently airing every week on both platforms.
2022: Khloé & Tristan’s Paternity Scandal
Khloé’s relationship with NBA player Tristan Thompson hit headlines in 2022 when it was revealed he had fathered another child during their relationship together.
Published court documents showed Tristan’s confession of having a one-night stand with Maralee Nichols on his 30th birthday. A few months later, he confessed to having a full relationship with Maralee and confirmed he was the father of her baby. At the time, Khloé and Tristan were also expecting another child through a surrogate.
2022: The Kravis Wedding
Amid Khloé’s turmoil and Kim’s incredibly public divorce, there were some positives for the Kardashian family in 2022. Kourtney married Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker in a series of three lavish weddings. Kravis’ gothic-themed Italian wedding was covered by media all over the world throughout May 2022 and even made it onto Disney+ and Hulu for a one-episode special — ‘Til Death Do Us Part: Kourtney & Travis.
The Kardashians’ Businesses
Although the Kardashians are known for their hugely successful reality TV shows, they have plenty more going on behind the scenes. Between them, the family has a huge empire of businesses, some of which generate billions in profit every year. Of course, momager Kris is involved with them all.
Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian own the most businesses, which is probably the reason behind their billionaire fortunes — and their private jets. Here’s a quick round-up of some of the most well-known (and current) Kardashian-Jenner businesses and their CEOs:
|Business||Kardashian-Jenner CEO||Launch year||What can I buy?|
|Arthur George||Robert Kardashian||2012||Socks|
|Kylie Cosmetics||Kylie Jenner||2015||Makeup|
|Good American||Khloé Kardashian||2016||Jeans|
|KKW Beauty||Kim Kardashian||2017||Makeup|
|KKW Fragrance||Kim Kardashian||2017||Perfume|
|SKIMS||Kim Kardashian||2019||Shapewear and other clothing|
|Kylie Skin||Kylie Jenner||2019||Skincare|
|Poosh||Kourtney Kardashian||2019||Lifestyle website and products|
|MOON||Kendall Jenner||2019||Teeth whitening pens|
|Grandeza Hot Sauce||Rob Kardashian||2020||Hot sauce|
|Kylie Baby||Kylie Jenner||2021||Baby products|
|Kylie Swim||Kylie Jenner||2021||Swimwear|
|818 Tequila||Kendall Jenner||2021||Tequila|
|Lemme||Kourtney Kardashian||2022||Lifestyle products|
|Kourtney x Barker Wellness||Kourtney Kardashian||2022||Lifestyle and wellness products|
|SKKY Partners||Kim Kardashian||2022||Consumer and media private equity firm|
Where Can I Stream Keeping Up with the Kardashians?
Keeping Up with the Kardashians might have stopped airing in 2021, but you can still watch all 20 seasons on Amazon Prime Video, Peacock, and Vudu. If you’re in the UK or Australia, you can also catch seasons 1-3 on Netflix.
If you’re traveling to a country where your streaming subscription isn’t available, you don’t have to miss out! Use CyberGhost VPN to take Kim and the family with you. Just connect to a server in your home country to regain access to your account and enjoy keeping up with the Kardashians.
Where Can I Watch The Kardashians?
If you’re all up-to-date with older seasons of Kardashian drama, it might be time to move on to The Kardashians. All 3 seasons are available on Hulu and Disney+. Season 3 started airing on May 25, 2023.
Can the Kardashians Maintain Their Fame?
Many celebrities rise to fame and then fall off the radar, but the Kardashians seem here to stay. In fact, their A-list celebrity status continues to grow. From reality TV appearances and relationship dramas to fashion shows, business empires, and new babies, there’s always something about the billionaire family in the media.
Thankfully, their reality TV shows give us plenty of access to behind-the-scenes footage. CyberGhost VPN’s streaming-optimized servers give you secure access to all the drama, whether you’re watching on your lunch break at work, passing time on your commute, or vacationing abroad.
Now, the only question I want to know is, who’s your favorite Kardashian?
The family wasn’t exactly short of cash before they got famous, but they weren’t as rich as they are now — and they certainly didn’t have private jets, Bentleys and Rolls Royces in the garage, or penthouse apartments in every state.
How did the Kardashians get famous and rich? When Keeping Up with the Kardashians first started, the family seemed “normal.” Things changed quickly and their lifestyles became more luxurious. You can watch their transition from everyday Americans to celebrity stars on Amazon Prime Video, Peacock, and Vudu.
If you’re wondering why the Kardashians are famous, the answer is Kris Jenner. Kris Jenner took the idea of a reality TV show to E! in 2007. After Keeping Up with the Kardashians aired, the Kardashians’ fame skyrocketed. Kris is behind much of the family’s fame, which is exactly why she’s labeled a momager. She’s involved in managing each of her kids’ business ventures, taking a healthy paycheck from each.
Many of the Kardashians’ early business plans are available to watch on KUWTK, which you can stream on Amazon Prime Video, Peacock, and Vudu. Seasons 1 to 3 are also on Netflix UK and Australia.
Kim and Kylie are generally considered to be the most successful Kardashians. Kylie Jenner was hailed as the youngest self-made billionaire, reaching her wealthy status at just 21 years old. However, as of May 2023, Kim is out in front. According to Forbes, Kim’s wealth stands at $1.2 billion, while Celebrity Net Worth revealed Kylie is worth $750 million.
Both sisters have a number of profitable businesses, which contribute to their net worth. That said, every member of the Kardashian-Jenner family is successful in their own right. You can keep up with their latest business ventures on The Kardashians. Season 3 is now streaming on Disney+ and Hulu.
Kylie Jenner is famous simply for being a member of the Kardashian-Jenner family. She was just nine years old when Keeping Up with the Kardashians first aired. However, she’s also proven herself a hardworking businesswoman as CEO of four hugely successful companies.
Although she took a step back from the spotlight after having her son, you can catch her back in action on the latest seasons of The Kardashians.