When Kanye West met reality-TV queen Kim Kardashian in 2003, the “hypertalented, egotistical” musician was smitten, says Allison Davis in New York Magazine. He started Photoshopping himself into the Kardashians’ “Khristmas cards” and emailing her the results. Maybe it was because he kept mispronouncing her name – “Kim Kar-dijon” and “Kim Kardi-shawn” were among the attempts – but the pair only got together in 2012. In October 2013, his $3.3m proposal included a 50-piece orchestra. Their wedding in Florence the following year cost $12m.
Back then, Kanye was in his musical prime. Although the Kardashians had a $40m TV contract, Kim wasn’t taken seriously by the fashion world: Anna Wintour reportedly banned her from attending the Met Gala. Kanye cleared out 250 pairs of spiky Louboutin heels from her wardrobe and took her to the front row of New York Fashion Week – to sit next to Wintour.
After that, Kim took control. Her beauty businesses expanded, while Kanye’s 2016 tour was cut short after he suffered a breakdown and was subsequently diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Kanye, 43, went on to his “Maga hat phase”, hugging Donald Trump and branding slavery “a choice”. Kim campaigned for prison reform.
Last July, during Kanye’s short-lived presidential run, he “unleashed a series of tweets” claiming that Kris Jenner was a white supremacist, and that she and Kim wanted to have him locked up. Kim filed for divorce in February and the pair agreed to joint custody of their four young children. Kim, 40, is working on a law degree and her billion-dollar business empire – a presidential run for her seems much more plausible. “As much as theirs was a love story, it was also a story about power.”