10 Times the Kardashians Broke the Internet the Past Decade
The most famous family of the 2010s has given us so much
On September 8, Kim Kardashian West announced that Keeping Up with the Kardashians, the hit reality show that has spawned numerous spin-offs and supplied fans with endless hours of drama and entertainment, is coming to an end in 2021. “It is with heavy hearts that we’ve made the difficult decision as a family to say goodbye to Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” Kardashian West wrote in a post to Instagram. “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.”
It’s safe to say that when the Kardashian family signs off in 2021, they’ll leave a lasting—if not surprising—impact on pop culture. Could anyone have predicted in, say, 2011 that the stars of a reality show about a somewhat famous family would go on to be the family who ultimately defined the 2010s? Actually, given that it was the year of Kim’s infamous whiplash-inducing 72-day marriage, we might have had an inkling that the 2010s would eventually be marked not by our own milestones, but by knowing exactly where we were each time the Kardashian-Jenner clan broke the internet.
Behold, a not-exhaustive timeline of the biggest headline-grabbing Kardashian moments of the past decade. But before we get to that, if you get nothing else out of this article, we (and Kris Jenner) just want you to know:
2007: The Sex Tape
It’s worth straying outside the decade to throw it back to the moment that started it all. In December 2006, Kim Kardashian was just a socialite who dabbled in personal styling and was also Paris Hilton’s personal assistant at one point. In January 2007, however, a “home video” of a, uh, sexual nature, starring Kim and her then boyfriend, hit the internet. Kim Kardashian, Superstar was an early viral sensation and in many ways set the tone for who the entire Kardashian family would become: Overexposed, famous yet somehow relatable, impossible to look away from—and impossible to ignore.
2007: Khloé Kardashian gets a DUI
Again, this took place more than a decade ago, but it’s important to note because the situation—Khloé is arrested for drunk driving and the aftermath is all caught on camera for the family’s new reality show—marked a very early meme-able moment. Kris and Kim are in the back of the car, en route to Khloé’s sentencing, and Kim is preoccupied with taking selfies, an art of which she was an early practitioner.
2011: Kim Kardashian is married for 72 days
As anyone who watched the big TV special leading up to Kim’s wedding to Kris Humphries can attest, it was a marriage that was doomed before it began. They argued all the time, no one seemed to like him and…he didn’t seem like he really wanted to be there anyway? Still, it was a shock just how little time Kim and Kris’ marriage lasted: A whole 72 days. But all the “things that lasted longer than Kim K’s marriage” jokes? That’s forever.
View this post on Instagram
2014: Kim Kardashian’s extremely-well-oiled butt breaks the Internet
This one speaks for itself, we think?
2015: Caitlyn Jenner publicly comes out as a trans woman
This was one of those moments that seemed to cement the Kardashian-Jenners as more than just people who were famous for being famous. When Caitlyn, assigned male at birth and formerly known as Bruce, came out as a trans woman, it was a culturally significant moment that felt like part of a greater social wave of awareness and acceptance for transgender people. It’s something that would have been unthinkable at the beginning of the decade, and the impact of the Kardashian-Jenner family sharing their journey with the world can’t be underestimated.
2016: Kim Kardashian is robbed in Paris
Not all of their news stories are good stories, and this event is one that appears to have permanently traumatized Kim. While in the city for Paris Fashion Week, she was tied up and robbed at gunpoint in her Paris hotel; thieves made off with nearly $20 million worth of jewellery.
2017: Kim and Kanye have a baby via surrogate
Look, we could have included all of Kim’s pregnancies (and her entire relationship with Kanye, TBH) on this list of internet-breaking moments. (Hello, floral dress she wore to the Met Gala while very pregnant, which divided entire families on whether it was amazing or ugly.) But we’re picking the birth of Chicago, their second daughter, as significant because it marks their very public decision to have a child via surrogate, something Kim decided was necessary after two difficult, dangerous pregnancies. It’s also just an excuse for us to bring up North West, their first daughter, and the internet-breaking but also heartbreaking gif above.
2017: Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi Ad
This one broke the internet for all the wrong reasons. You can watch it in all of its culturally insensitive glory, but the TL;DR on it is this: Kendall, having a major moment as a model, stars in an ad that trivializes protests like those for Black Lives Matter by saying tension caused by systemic racism could be cured if we’d all just get along and drink a Pepsi together.
View this post on Instagram
2018: Kylie Jenner announces that she has given birth
At this point in the decade, the younger Kardashians (technically Jenners) are firmly in the ascendant. At 20, Kylie had amassed hundreds of millions of followers and was reshaping fame one Snap at time (until she declared the platform “over” and tanked its stock price, of course). There had been rumours for months that she was pregnant—the entire thing a masterclass in don’t-confirm-but-don’t-deny PR—so the internet was well primed to break itself when she finally did announce that she’d had a daughter in February 2018. Her Instagram announcement post is the third-most-liked of all time, with more than 18 million likes.
2019: Kylie sells a stake in her cosmetics company for $800,000,000
We can quibble over whether she’s really the youngest-ever self-made billionaire, but there’s no disputing that the youngest Kardashian has been particularly good at monetizing the bizarre world she grew up in. A banner moment in her mogul career was the recent sale of a 51% stake in Kylie Cosmetics, a brand built on matte nude lip liners, for an insane amount of coin. It’s the kind of move that makes us think that the ’20s could be, if not the Kardashian decade, the Kylie decade for sure.