What’s at Stake in Kim Kardashian’s Divorce From Kanye West: Family, Branding and $2.1 Billion

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"The first night I slept at Kanye's house… I won't say the date because I'll get in trouble, but years and years ago, he slept with the heat on and socks, and I was like, 'OMG, I met my soulmate,'" Kim Kardashian said in 2018 at the Create & Cultivate Summit, gleefully recalling how she knew Kanye West was "The One."

There are a slew of reasons aside from a sensitivity to cold why she—and we, for that matter—thought they were meant to be. And when you feel as though you've found your soulmate, you don't say "I do" expecting to ever break up.

But that is what has come to pass between Kim and Kanye, their differences having become too irreconcilable of late, his previously unflagging support of her sputtering to a point where Kim finally decided that enough was enough. 

After months of leading increasingly separate lives, Kim filed for divorce Feb. 19. She is seeking joint legal and physical custody of their four children, North, 7, Saint, 5, Chicago, 3, and Psalm West, 21 months.

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Not that news of their split comes as a complete shock if you've been following the highs and lows of their marriage for the past few years. Last summer Kanye tweeted, "I been trying to get divorced since Kim met with Meek at the Warldolf [sic] for 'prison reform,'" the rapper—maybe serious, maybe not—implying that something untoward was going on between his wife, who has taken up the cause of criminal justice reform in recent years while pursuing her own legal studies, and the previously incarcerated artist Meek Mill

"Meek is my man and was respectful," Kanye added in the since-deleted thread. "That's my dog. Kim was out of line."

Kanye has been open about re-embracing his religious faith, his Sunday Services becoming a hot ticket pre-pandemic, but after years of openly championing every artistic decision his wife ever made, he started sounding uncharacteristically judgmental about what Kim chose to wear and the sort of pictures she posted online, the sexy selfies she's been known for since the dawn of Instagram seemingly no longer his cup of tea.

Following his outburst about Meek, Kim took to social media to reiterate to her almost 200 million followers that her husband has bipolar disorder and that, if people could refrain from judgment for a second, they'd do well to remember that the situation was "incredibly complicated and painful" and, when it comes to mental illness, "the individual themselves have to engage in the process of getting help no matter how hard family and friends try."

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There had been highs since—including their tropical getaway with the kids in August and Kanye's out-of-this-world 40th birthday gift for Kim, a message read by a hologram rendering of her late father, Robert Kardashian, who died in 2005—but overall their life together was on a downswing.

A source told E! News that Kim wanted to start divorce proceedings last year but tried to give their marriage a chance for as long as she could. While she's been primarily in their Los Angeles-area home with the kids, Kanye has been spending most of his time on his sprawling ranch in Wyoming, one of two similarly priced properties he purchased less than two years ago outside Coty after he discovered Jackson Hole to be a restorative place to get away. Nevertheless, the source says they are committed to co-parenting, and they will always be willing to come together for their children.

"They grew apart," the source said. It wasn't more dramatic than that.

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