Kris Jenner is more than just a TV mom — she’s also the tie that binds the famous Kardashian and Jenner family together and catapulted her children into stardom. While it’s hard to imagine her as anything but the all-powerful matriarch of the reality fam, there was, indeed, a time when Jenner was probably one of the few people in the world who actually cared about keeping up with the Kardashians. Here’s what Kris Jenner was like before she became such a big screen personality.
“Oh hello motherf—er!”
Kristen Mary Houghton Before she was a Kardashian or a Jenner, Kris was Kristen Mary Houghton, born in San Diego, California to a middle-class family. Her parents divorced when she was seven years old, and Kristen and her younger sister Karen were raised by their mother MJ until she remarried. Due to her stepfather’s business changes, Kris found herself moving around quite a bit, which is probably why she was so prepared for her busy lifestyle today.
Come fly with Kris These days, Jenner is accustomed to jetting around the world in private planes and flying first class. But she was once on the less glamorous side of the friendly skies. After graduating from high school, she worked as a flight attendant for American Airlines. Kris reportedly only held the job for a year, but given her flair for the extravagant, we can only imagine her safety briefing as nothing short of iconic.
“Oh your shoulders. Right, yes, that’s what I’m talking about, whooo!” When Robert met Kris Kris’ romance with attorney Robert Kardashian was love at first sight — well, at least, for him. Jenner reportedly met Robert at a horse racing track in California when she was just 17. Even though he was 11 years her senior, and she reportedly rejected his initial proposal, the debonair lawyer was not deterred. Kris eventually accepted Robert’s second proposal, and the two wed in 1978 and had their four children together, Kourtney, Kim, Khloe, and Robert. So began Kris’ high-profile life. Consider her the original real housewife of Beverly Hills.
An affair to remember The Kardashian marriage eventually imploded, much to the detriment of her late ex-husband. The pair split in 1990 because, as she recounted in 2011 memoir, she had an affair with animator and former soccer star Todd Waterman. Her book describes the tryst in nauseating detail, and the decision resulted in a messy divorce — we’re talking cancelled credit cards messy.
Jenner cites the dalliance with Waterman as her only regret in life. “I think I have one regret, and that was getting divorced.” The Jenner bunch Before the ink was dry on Kris and Robert’s divorce papers, she went on a blind date with the Olympic gold medalist formerly known as Bruce Jenner. The connection was undeniable, and the two were married within a year. In fact, Bruce, now Caitlyn, had to meet with Robert and ask him to finalize the divorce, before the pair could get hitched. But the group was eventually united, and they became step-parents to each other’s eight children from previous marriages.
Eventually, the couple would welcome their own pair of daughters as well, and with that, their family was complete, with Robert’s blessings. “Robert and I at the end of his life, were best friends, and so was Bruce. I have some of the greatest pictures of him holding Kendall and Kylie as babies and he was Uncle Robert.” The trial of the century The impact of the O.J.
Simpson case on recent history is undeniable, which is why it’s often referred to as the “trial of the century.” Interestingly, few people were closer to the drama than Kris. Not only was she good friends with the football star’s murdered ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, but she also watched her ex-husband serve on the “Dream Team” of attorneys defending the man accused of killing her friend. Needless to say, the 1994 trial became a period of immense emotional turmoil for the entire family. During the high-profile, televised trial, Kris, who was pregnant with Kendall at the time, actually sat in court wearing Nicole’s hand-me-down maternity clothes.
In another attempt to keep her friend’s memory alive, Kris gave her first daughter with Bruce the name Kendall Nicole Jenner. Infomercial queen We all know that Mama Jenner is an overachiever by nature, which is why she wasn’t content with just being Bruce’s wife. She chose to be his manager as well. She spent a good deal of the mid-’90s negotiating her husband’s endorsement deals and creating an assortment of highly profitable opportunities. From putting together press kits to booking speeches, she did it all. In 1994, the couple premiered a self-produced infomercial and launched a successful line of fitness equipment.
Stay at home ‘Momager’ Before she was producing sex tapes and booking Playboy shoots, Kris was just another stay at home mom with an uncanny ability to weave careers of gold for her kids. She pitched the idea for a reality show following her relatively unknown family to entertainer mogul Ryan Seacrest in 2007, and the rest is history. The high-powered “Momager” has since literally trademarked the term that has marked her public life ever since Keeping Up with the Kardashians launched. If that’s not showbiz savvy, nothing is.