"It was brutal."

By Isabel Jones
Updated Mar 26, 2019 @ 3:30 pm

Wedged between her marriage to record producer Damon Thomas and current husband Kanye West, Kim Kardashian spent 72 long days married to former NBA player Kris Humphries.

In a candid (and somewhat meandering) essay for The Players’ Tribune, the 34-year-old athlete got real about his life in the public eye, which of course reached its crux when he and one of the world’s most recognizable women tied the knot in summer 2011.

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Humphries said it best himself: “I met a girl who happened to be really famous, and I got married, and … Damn.”

Damn, indeed.

“Look, I should have known what I was getting into,” Humphries wrote of partnering with a Kardashian. “I was definitely naive about how much my life was going to change. But the one thing that really bothers me is whenever people say that my marriage was fake.”

Despite its brevity, Kris is insistent that he and Kim’s marriage was authentic.

“There’s definitely a lot about that world that is not entirely real,” he philosophized, “But our actual relationship was 100% real. When it was clear that it wasn’t working … what can I say? It sucked. It’s never easy to go through the embarrassment of something like that — with your friends, with your family ... But when it plays out so publicly, in front of the world, it’s a whole other level. It was brutal.”

The pressure of this new attention hit particularly hard when it came to Humphries’s career.

“I remember having this moment when I was getting booed so hard in Philly, and I thought to myself, ‘Why exactly are they booing me, though? Is it just because I’m That Guy from TV? Do they think I was trying to be famous? Is it because they think I disrespected the game of basketball?’” he wrote.

“The last one killed me, because all I’ve ever wanted to be known for was basketball.”

Unsurprisingly, Kris’s newfound fame affected not just his career but his mental health.

“I dealt with a lot of anxiety, especially in crowds,” he confessed. “There was about a year where I was in a dark place. I didn’t want to leave my home. You feel like … I don’t know … the whole world hates you, but they don’t even know why. They don’t even know you at all. They just recognize your face, and they’re on you.”

“I didn’t want to be Kris Humphries,” he continued. “It’s the craziest feeling in the world, not wanting to be yourself. And I didn’t even want to say anything to defend myself, because it felt like I couldn’t win. You can’t go up against the tabloids. You can’t go up against that machine. There’s no point. And even if I played that game, I felt like it would be disrespecting the game of basketball.”

Well, despite knowing that “most people will always see me as That F****** Guy from TV,” things are looking up for Humphries. He concluded the essay by announcing his official retirement from the NBA — and also plugging his impressive franchise building skills (he’s opened 10 Five Guys locations — 10!).

Next time you eat a burger, I implore you to thank "That F****** Guy from TV."