In the midst of a week that included a seditious white supremacist insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, it's easy to understand why you might not be totally caught up on what would otherwise be a more interesting bout of gossip: the Kimye divorce/Jeffree Star affair debacle.
It began on Monday, January 5th, when — like many tabloids before — Page Six reported that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West were getting a divorce. A source told them, "They are keeping it low-key but they are done. Kim has hired Laura Wasser and they are in settlement talks."
It has been a rough year for Kimye, possibly America's most chaotic couple. Kim has generally stood by Kanye during his mental health struggles and erratic behavior, while Kanye has so far dealt with Kim's rather boisterous family without too much drama, but apparently it's all come to a head now.
The couple had a few extremely devastating blows this year, most involving Kanye's ill-fated presidential campaign. Apparently, according to Page Six, Kim's career aspirations are the reason for their separation — "She is serious about taking the bar exam and becoming a lawyer, she is serious about her prison reform campaign," the source said. "Meanwhile Kanye is talking about running for president and saying other crazy s--t, and she's just had enough of it."
After Kanye told the world that Kim almost had an abortion at a rally and then Kim failed to vote for her husband (she tacitly supported Biden the whole time), the couple apparently went on a last-ditch vacation in an effort to save their marriage. From there, things went (a bit) quieter – until now.
The couple has always danced on the edge of collapse. In July, Kanye tweeted, "I been trying to get divorced since Kim met with Meek at the Warldolf [sic] for 'prison reform'" and called Kim's mother, Kris Jenner, "Kris Jong-Un" after the family reportedly tried to put him in a psychiatric facility. Yet, somehow, Kimye survived, perhaps thanks to their four kids, exorbitant wealth, and shared talent and passion for conjuring drama and spectacle.
Until...now? Kim and Kanye have not confirmed the divorce rumors. Kim has since been seen wearing her wedding ring, and the couple apparently exchanged millions of dollars worth of Christmas gifts, so it's possible that this is all tabloid conjecture. If the Page Six story is to be believed, then the couple is at the end of the road and are currently fighting over their eerily minimalist Calabasas, California mansion. It's unknown what the fate of custody over their frighteningly giant couch is.
Kimye as the Spectacle We Deserve
The couple has always been the subject of drama and speculation — It's Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, after all, two of the most polarizing entertainment figures of our time. We hate them and love them, buy their products and critique their shenanigans relentlessly, and we cannot look away.
Baudrillard said, "We are no longer spectators, but actors in the performance, and actors increasingly integrated into the course of that performance. Whereas we could face up to the unreality of the world as spectacle, we are defenceless before the extreme reality of this world, before this virtual perfection. We are, in fact, beyond all disalienation. This is the new form of terror, by comparison with which the horrors of alienation were very small beer."
The Internet, of course, lost it in response to the news and immediately inserted themselves into the story. Hundreds of dudes DM'd Kim on Instagram and tweeted screenshots of their quasi-sympathetic messages.
But then another, stranger thing happened: A rumor surfaced that the reason for the split is that Kanye had an affair with widely loathed makeup mogul Jeffree Star. The rumor was proposed by Ava Louise, a TikTok influencer responsible for last year's "Coronavirus Challenge."
"Kanye's been hooking up with a very famous beauty guru, male beauty guru, a lot of people in the scene have known for a while," the influencer said in a TikTok. "i can't say WHO cuz he'll sue me hint hint but it's part of the reason Kanye's so religious now it's his self hatred …. my source is legit I promiss [sic]," she wrote in the caption.
Jeffree Star officially denounced the rumors in TikTok and YouTube videos, calling them "the dumbest s--t I think I've ever read in my entire life." Clearly he's never heard about QAnon, but the rumors are pretty dense.
Addressing The Kanye Situation www.youtube.com
All told, this story feels like 2000s pop culture come back from the dead, zombified and high on speed. And if you needed further evidence that we're living in a broken simulation: We're in a pandemic, people dressed in furs are trying to bring the Confederacy back and the cops are letting them, and you're reading an article about Jeffree Star in a pink bathrobe, drinking Red Bull and saying, "I woke up and my phone was blowing up and I'm like, 'Oh my God, what in the scandal is going on today?' I honestly had no idea, right?... I'm keeping to myself. I'm living in this beautiful state. I'm loving life."
Apparently there's no need to worry because Kanye is not Jeffree's type. "I'm single. I'm not sleeping with anyone," the beauty influencer said. "I like very tall men. Me and Kanye have never hung out, and this whole thing is really funny."
But Star, ever a formidable gossip-monger in his own right, couldn't help but say, "If Kris Jenner orchestrated this whole thing, Happy New Year sweetie girl." Sounds about right. But more importantly: What year is it? Where are we? Did we take one too many tabs at the 2019 New Years party? Did Kris Jenner give us the tabs?
At this point, we're too far down the rabbit hole to know anything for sure, but one thing is clear. We're barely one week into the new year and the chaotic energy of 2020 is just getting started.