In her 34 years (today!), Khloé Kardashian has had more than a few curve balls thrown at her, many of them directly from the NBA court. But she’s always taught us how to turn tragedy into triumph. Sure, she was born into a wealthy family in sunny California, but her childhood was rocked by loss early on; then she was turned into a middle child; and then she was very publicly betrayed by a slew of cheating partners, most recently Cleveland Cavaliers basketball player Tristan "cheat-on-my-pregnant-girlfriend" Thompson.
But it appears as through Khloé has always managed to face the toughest challenges with the utmost grace—and see an opportunity where other see a bind. Has she mastered the art of vengefully positive thinking? Her fuck-you optimism is inspiring. Just look at the Revenge Body franchise she's built; she took a childhood riddled with body insecurities and turned them into an inner growth experience and a successful brand.
Khloé Kardashian doesn't have a "revenge body"; she has a revenge life. Let me explain...
From Body Shaming to Revenge Body Empire
In 2007, the world was first introduced to Khloé Kardashian as the family’s “fat, funny sister”—that may not be how we remember it, but so said Khloé during an early episode of her reality series Revenge Body. Khloé recalls that, before she was famous, high-end retailers would snottily tell her they didn’t carry anything in her size, so she would have to sit and observe her size-26 and -28 sisters Kim and Kourtney happily peruse the racks. And yes, that does evoke the ridiculous scene in Mean Girls where Regina George is body shamed at a store called 1,3,5 that only carries sizes 1, 3, and 5. On a more recent episode of Revenge Body, Khloé admits that her own family often got down on her about her non-Jessica Rabbit figure while she was growing up. She always felt taller and bigger than her tiny older sisters, Khloé says, and among the Kardashian brood, that was painted as a negative. “You know, for a long time I was told, ‘Khloé, you’ve got to lose weight because you’re really hurting the brand’ or this or that,” she says.
Though Khloé began her career being made to feel like the ugly duckling, she’s taken that narrative, deadlifted it, and turned it into a franchise. Not only has the world come around to the realization that she is in fact hot by the most traditional definition. And not only has her confidence caught up. But almost sneakily, Khloé, has also become both a body-positivity ambassador and the go-to fitness guru in Hollywood (and, more importantly, Calabasas). Since her separation from Lamar Odom in 2013, her fitness and health kick inspired her instantly iconic Complex Magazine cover in the summer of 2015, which was essentially a launch party for her new lewk and opened the door to a book, Strong Looks Better Naked, which was released in 2016; her reality show (arguably one of the most successful Kardashian spin-offs to date), Revenge Body, in 2017; and a denim line, Good American, launched in 2016 and made for all body types. Good American especially focuses on celebrating inclusivity, casting models of all sizes, races, and orientations in their ads. Khloé turned the undoubtedly negative body-image energy around he to her favor, both physically, emotionally, and monetarily.
VIDEO: What's This? Khloé Kardashian Is Sporting a Giant Diamond on That Finger
Khloé's Kwestionable Kardashian-ness
It’s long been speculated that Khloé's biological father is someone other than Robert Kardashian. The theories about who her real dad is range from “alleged” murderer O.J. Simpson to Kris Jenner’s former hairdresser, Alex Roldan. The family has even publicly acknowledged the rumors, Kylie posting a photo of Khloé and Roldan to Twitter in 2012 and joking, “First official photo of my sister and her dad! Like father like daughter!” That same year, Robert Kardashian’s widowed wife, Ellen Pierson, claimed that Robert explicitly told her that Khloé “wasn’t a real Kardashian” but that he never consider getting a DNA test because he loved her “very much.” In her memoir, Kris Jenner did openly admit to having affairs around the time of Khloé’s conception, but she’s always been adamant that Khloé is biologically Robert’s. Plus, in legal documents from 1999, Robert Kardashian—a lawyer—stated that he has four biological children, Kourtney, Kim, Khloé, and Rob.
Regardless of whether the claims have any veracity, Khloé has gracefully turned the insult into testament to her individuality. And by acknowledging and poking fun at the rumors, she’s only endeared herself to fans. If anything, Khloé’s reaction has marked one of the first instances of her teaching the media and haters not to f*ck with her, because she won’t play. Khloé Kardashian is American royalty, and no paternity test can threaten her claim to the throne.
Khloé and Lamar
The love that Khloé and her ex-husband former NBA player Lamar Odom shared was nothing short of a nightmare. But in the face of supreme embarrassment and confusion, Khloé emerged from the entire ordeal somehow both deeply committed to her family and even more self-respecting. CliffNotes: In September 2009, the two lovebirds met and married within a month. Khloé filed for divorce in December 2013, on the heels of Lamar allegedly cheating, getting a DUI, and struggling with substance abuse. After their separation, more news broke that Lamar had consistently been cheating on Khloé for much of their marriage—even throughout their lovey-dovey reality show, Khloé and Lamar, and a perfume venture called Unbreakable Bond. However, when Odom nearly overdosed in a Nevada brothel in 2015, Khloé—who was, at best, on the outs with her ex—cared for him, withdrew the divorce petition, and sat by his bedside (even contracting a staph infection). Khloé’s unwavering support for a man who did her supremely wrong is inspiring, not because she made herself a martyr but because she didn’t. After their history, Khloé did not need to be by Lamar’s side and make sure he survived, but she did, still able to access the love she once had for him. She also respected her own needs. After Lamar got back on his feet, Khloé even supported him financially for a some time, but when it became clear that Odom was back not reforming, she filed for divorce again and moved on.
Khloé and Tristan
Finally, we have the most recent drama surrounding Khloé. After a string of relationships with high-profile men like French Montana and James Harden, the luckiest man of all, Tristan Thompson, won Khloé’s heart. She moved fast with doting NBA player Tristan and became pregnant with his child in August 2017, almost one year after they started dating. Thompson didn’t appear to raise the red flags that Odom did. But that all changed in April 2018, when multiple videos surfaced of Tristan cheating on Khloé throughout their relationship. The worst? One such instance occurred just days before Khloé gave birth to their daughter, True.
This type of betrayal, during the third trimester of pregnancy, was one of Khloé’s greatest publicly suffered disappointments. Which is why all of her family members who could flew to be by her side in Cleveland when the news broke. It was expected that Khloé would pack up and run, but she did the opposite. Nesting with her newborn and newly outed trashbag of a BF, Khloé stayed put in Cleveland to work on their relationship. She caught a lot of flak for staying with the man who so grossly betrayed her … multiple times … while she was pregnant. That seems pretty unforgivable, and fans saw Khloé’s response as her granting Thompson permission to walk all over her. But just this week, Khloé hit back at a fan, stating that she’s not some idiot staying with a no-good man just because. She tweeted, “Not exactly Queen Persia, you have no knowledge of what goes on in our household or the enormous rebuilding this takes to even coexist. I’m proud of my strength. I appreciate your opinion and I hope you hold that same opinion to everyone else who has stayed in situations.”
And that’s what’s at the core of all of Khloé’s triumphs, isn’t it? She’s not a pushover, and she also doesn’t pretend to be impervious to pain or to her own mistakes. She’s honest about who she is and what she wants. She rises above the BS life sends her way—and ignores the haters who fan it in her face—and comes out on top every time.