The year the Kardashian bubble burst, amid a string of public scandals

Since Keeping Up With The Kardashians debuted on screens back in 2007, one question has plagued the Kardashian/Jenner clan: How long could this family – famous for very little but their displays of obscene wealth — sustain their fame?

In 2020, there were several signs the wheels have started to fall off. The show that thrust them on to TV screens worldwide is finishing up, as Kim and co weather scandal after scandal. All too often, they’ve appeared clueless and out-of-touch, unable to do anything but flaunt their unimaginable wealth as their country descended into health crisis and civil unrest.


To celebrate her 40th birthday in October, Kim rented out a private island for a week of celebrations, including kayaking, swimming with whales and drinking cocktails, and took a massive group of family and friends.

“Before Covid, I don’t think any of us truly appreciated what a simple luxury it was to be able to travel and be together with family and friends in a safe environment,” the reality television star wrote in a tweet, sharing photos from the trip.

“After two weeks of multiple health screens and asking everyone to quarantine, I surprised my closest inner circle with a trip to a private island where we could pretend things were normal just for a brief moment in time.

“We danced, rode bikes, swam near whales, kayaked, watched a movie on the beach and so much more. I realise that for most people, this is something that is so far out of reach right now, so in moments like these, I am humbly reminded of how privileged my life is #thisis40.”

But Kardashian West was met with fierce backlash, with dozens of commenters calling the reality star “tone deaf” and suggesting she’d endangered the lives of people around her.

The five-day birthday trip reportedly cost the beauty mogul more than US$1 million ($1.38m).

Later on, sister Khloe defended the pricey jaunt to Ellen DeGeneres – another person who’s weathered her share of scandals in 2020.

“I did hear people were upset that we went out of town,” she said.

“This year is a frustrating year — I get it. I think there are so many frustrations going on for everybody, but also it’s her 40th and this is something that she really wanted to do. For us, it was such a nice thing.”


Kim and Kanye were both valued as billionaires in 2020, with Kanye tweeting to publicly congratulate his wife for joining the billion-dollar club in July. “I am so proud of my beautiful wife Kim Kardashian West for officially becoming a billionaire. You’ve weathered the craziest storms and now God is shining on you and our family,” he wrote. Touching.

Unsurprisingly, the message – particularly the reference to long-running reality star Kim “weathering the craziest storms” – rubbed many the wrong way.

“Is this really the time to announce pride at your wife becoming a billionaire?” one person tweeted.

“I’d suggest those who have somehow kept their businesses afloat and/or recovered from Covid have ‘weathered the storm’.”

Another added, “Billionaire being a measure of success when black people are dying, the world is burning and the economy failing. Okay.”

Kim’s news came just weeks after little sister Kylie Jenner, 22, was stripped of her billionaire title by Forbes. The publication claimed Kylie lied about her wealth and the amount of taxes paid when they had earlier declared her a billionaire.


Kanye West’s decision to run for President in the November US election was a slow-motion trainwreck from the start. Nobody took it seriously – least of all his own wife, who vacillated between half-hearted shows of public support and pleas for understanding about Kanye’s well-documented issues with mental illness.

Kanye hit worrying new lows during disastrous campaign rallies as he appeared hysterical, telling his followers he and Kim had considered aborting their first child, North West.

“I almost killed my daughter! I almost killed my daughter!” he shouted.

“Kim begged Kanye to stop his presidential thing, to stop talking about their kids at rallies,” a source told the New York Post. “But he ignored her and instead he went ahead and hired more people … and tried to register in more states. He just won’t stop this presidential bulls**t.”

In the end, it was all for nothing. Kanye collected just 60,000 votes out of an estimated 160 million.


As Kim and Kanye hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons, in September came a shock announcement for this fame-addicted family: Kim revealed she and her family had made the “difficult decision” to say goodbye to the reality show that made them household names, Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

“It is with heavy hearts that we’ve made the difficult decision as a family to say goodbye to Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” the reality star and beauty mogul announced on Instagram, following months of intense scrutiny about her turbulent marriage to West.

“After what will be 14 years, 20 seasons, hundreds of episodes and numerous spin-off shows, we are beyond grateful to all of you who’ve watched us for all of these years – through the good times, the bad times, the happiness, the tears, and the many relationships and children. We’ll forever cherish the wonderful memories and countless people we’ve met along the way.”

Kardashian thanked the “thousands of individuals and businesses that have been a part of this experience,” and revealed that the final season of Keeping Up with the Kardashians will air early next year.

And after that? Who knows, but this famous family may have to think of some new tricks to remain in the public eye.

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