A Look At The Life And Career Of Kris Jenner

You don't have to keep up with the Kardashians to know who Kris Jenner is. The infamous "momager" is the matriarch of arguably the most famous family in the United States. She's catapulted her kids to success on the heels of her daughter Kim Kardashian's infamous sex tape and managed to create a billion-dollar empire with no plans of stopping. She's the mastermind behind her family's E! reality television show which aired for 20 seasons before they landed their own Hulu docu-series in 2022. Like her or not, it's impossible to escape the mega-brand she's created that has saturated pop culture since the dawn of social media.

But Jenner wasn't always the chic, business-savvy, mega-millionaire she is today. She had middle class jobs, like being an airline stewardess and working in a doughnut shop. We're pretty sure the only doughnuts Jenner is eating now are probably coated in 18-carat gold frosting, but humble beginnings, right? "I think all the boundaries that we feel like other people have set for us are imaginary at this point," Jenner said in an interview with MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski. And if you've managed to keep your family relevant for the better half of two decades, that's probably true. While you may not like Jenner and the mega-brand she created, you know who she is. After all, they say all publicity is good publicity. Grab a martini in true Kris Jenner fashion, because we're diving into the life and career of this pop culture icon.

Kris Jenner was in on the sex tape

Before Kim Kardashian became one of the richest women in America, she ran an eBay closet organizing business. Celebrities, they're just like us, right? Kim's meteoric rise to fame is often linked to her sex tape with ex-boyfriend Ray J, which fueled a decades-long debate over its leak. In 2022, Ray J alleges via the Daily Mail that Kris Jenner brokered the deal to sell the tape.

Kim Kardashian met Ray J in 2002 while working as a stylist for his sister Brandy. The two dated for three years before calling it quits in 2006. Shortly after, Vivid Entertainment obtained the infamous sex tape filmed in Cabo while the two were still dating. Kim filed a lawsuit following its release, but the case was dismissed and presumed to be settled. Ray J defended himself in 2022, saying, "I have never leaked a sex tape in my life. It has never been a leak. It's always been a deal and a partnership between Kris Jenner and Kim and me and we've always been partners since the beginning of this thing," per the Daily Mail.

The rapper didn't take too kindly to Jenner's appearance on "The Late Late Show with James Corden" where she denied having a role in the tape's release. He clapped back on Instagram (via Yahoo!), alleging that Kris Jenner even picked the tape she felt her daughter looked best in. "You know you was the mastermind," Ray J said. As of the time of this writing, Jenner has not responded to his claims.

She has a strained relationship with Caitlyn Jenner

Kris Jenner and Caitlyn Jenner seemed to have the American dream. An Olympic champion meets a bubbly socialite, blending large families and documenting their lives on their mega-successful reality series. But their marriage ran its course, and after 22 years together, the two called it quits and finalized their divorce in 2015.

In 2015, Caitlyn Jenner said goodbye to Bruce in an announcement of her true gender identity on the cover of Vanity Fair. In the article, Caitlyn said, "Twenty percent was gender and 80 percent was the way I was treated," in regard to her marriage to Kris. The two sat face-to-face together for the first time since Caitlyn's transition on an "I am Cait" episode where Kris aired her grievances. "You're sensitive and amazing to all these new people in your life, you're just not so sensitive and amazing to this side of the family that you left behind," Kris told Caitlyn, via ET.

The two have seemed to squash any major beef, but they aren't exactly besties. "I don't have any hard feelings towards her. We did a great job and this and that. Yeah, I wish [our relationship] was closer, but it's not," Caitlyn said in 2021 on an episode of Big Brother VIP (via Daily Mail.) Kris spoke to Robin Roberts (via People) about their current relationship, saying, "We're fine. Yeah, we're friends. And I see her when she's at a family thing so it's, you know, settled down a lot."

She was a flight attendant

Before Kris Jenner was traveling the world on private jets, she was working in economy class as a flight attendant. According to the Daily Mail, The Kardashian matriarch once worked as a junior flight attendant earning $500 a month. Jenner was dating her photographer ex-boyfriend Alfred M. Garcia at the time, who told Daily Mail that the famous momager always had her sights set on a more glamorous lifestyle. "Maybe she could meet more people [as a stewardess] than she could working in a store because she was very friendly with people, and she was always looking out for the gold at the end of the rainbow."

Jenner looks back on her days of normal jobs with fond memories, despite her lavish lifestyle today. "Being a flight attendant in the '70s was a lot of fun," she told Media Zone. "Those were the days before they had anybody taking their shoes off ... it was like an exciting ... really beautiful job to have." As for now, we're pretty sure Jenner is comfortable looking back on those nostalgic days aboard her private jet.

A murder trial threatened to tear apart her family

The Kardashian family was front and center of a media circus like no other when Kris Jenner's best friend Nicole Brown Simpson was murdered and family friend O.J. Simpson was charged with the crime. Jenner's ex-husband, the late Robert Kardashian, represented Simpson in the infamous trial that led to his shocking acquittal. Jenner admits it was taxing on her family to be involved in a case that to this day generates public interest. "It was very difficult because my ex-husband was on one side, and, you know I was kind of on the other, the kids were in the middle," the "Keeping Up With The Kardashian" star said on "The Ellen Show."

Jenner confessed she regrets that she didn't recognize the warning signs in her friend's relationship sooner. In her memoir, "Kris Jenner ... and all things Kardashian," she admits that not intervening in her friend's relationship was one of the things she most regretted in her life. While Jenner has always defended her friend, her children were torn between their parents.

Kim Kardashian, who was just a teenager at the time of the trial, has vivid memories of the tense time between her mother and father. "We didn't really know what to believe or whose side to take as kids 'cause we didn't want to hurt one of our parent's feelings," she told David Letterman. Caitlyn Jenner has no doubts. "Obviously he did it, and he got away with it," she said on "Big Brother VIP" in 2021.

Kris Jenner had an affair

Kris Jenner is an open book, literally. In her memoir "Kris Jenner ... And All Things Kardashian" she confessed she had a steamy affair while she was still married to her ex-husband Robert Kardashian. "It made me feel young, attractive, sexy, and alive. Along with these feelings came a wave of nausea. I actually wanted to throw up at the same time. Because it dawned on me that I had not felt that way with Robert for years," Jenner wrote.

The mystery man came forward to reveal himself as Todd Waterman, an Emmy-nominated Hollywood animator. Waterman told the Daily Mail that Kardashian even hired a private investigator during the affair. "I was driving in an open Jeep at the time. As I pulled out of my garage, it was about 5pm and a sunny day, he comes charging out with a golf club in his 450 SL convertible," Waterman recalled. The animator confessed he feared for his life, thinking that Kardashian, who was well-connected in Hollywood, could ruin his life.

The affair imploded Jenner's marriage, with Robert filing for divorce as a result. The mom of six told Dianne Von Furstenburg that cheating on her late husband is her biggest regret in life. "I didn't know what to do, I had four kids, I was single, I didn't know where I was going to live, I didn't know what I was going to do, I didn't know how I was going to make a living...it was scary," she said on the podcast "InCharge with DVF."

She trademarked the term momager

We all know Kris Jenner is a fabulous "momager," but the entrepreneur even went as far as trademarking the term. According to Justia Trademarks, Jenner applied for the rights to the word in 2015 and achieved ownership in 2020. She was blocked when she first attempted to secure the term due to an existing trademark on the term "momanger," but iHeart Radio reports that the two parties were able to settle the dispute. The only caveat in her securing the trademark is that she cannot use it for any reality television or web programming.

For all her efforts in obtaining momager status legally, the businesswoman definitely puts it to good use. According to Forbes, Jenner takes a 10% cut out of all business deals her six children are involved in, and if you're familiar at all with Kardashian brands — that's quite a lot of cash flow.

"KUWTK" fans might be surprised to know that Jenner got her start by managing her ex, Caitlyn Jenner's, speaking career. "That was such a great learning experience for me," Jenner said on the podcast "InCharge with DVF." As for her motivation, Jenner credits her desire to get her kids through college and pay her bills as her biggest driving force. "I wanted a certain education for my girls, and a certain lifestyle for myself," Jenner continued. "Once I felt like what it felt like to work and then get a paycheck for that, the sky was the limit."

She almost got her leg amputated

Kris Jenner got candid when she revealed on Harvey Levin's show "OBJECTified" that she almost lost her leg as a child due to a bone tumor. "The technology in those days was they couldn't tell if it was cancerous or not until they got in there, and if it was, they were going to have to amputate. I didn't really understand at the time the impact of what was going on around me and how lucky I was to have survived that."

But Jenner's health scares may not be over just yet. Access Hollywood posted a clip from Season 2 of "The Kardashians" on Hulu, where the matriarch is in a hospital bed appearing to be battling a health crisis. In the preview, the 67-year-old shares in a confessional interview, "I can't tell my kids I'm scared, they have enough problems, they don't need to worry about mom." Another promo for the episode revealed a doctor telling the momager she needed a hip replacement, via Daily Mail.

Kanye West struck a nerve with Jenner when he leaked texts with his ex-wife Kim Kardashian. The SKIMS founder pleaded with the rapper after he called out the momager on his Instagram for letting her children pose for Playboy. "From my mom — PLEASE tell him to stop using my name. I'm almost 67 years old and I don't always feel so great and this stresses me to no end," the texts read.

She has an estranged relationship with her sister

You can keep up with the Kardashians all you want, and you probably still wouldn't have any idea who Kris Jenner's younger sister is. That's partly because Jenner has an estranged relationship with her sister Karen Houghton, who has been very vocal about the TV mogul in the tabloids — and not in a good way.

Houghton lives a much less glamorous life, working as a part-time nurse in an assisted living facility. She had some harsh words for her big sis in the midst of Jenner's split with Caitlyn, writing on her Facebook page (via Daily Mail), "Pray for Kris Jenner she needs it ... crazy. She's [a] nutcase," adding, "I get p***ed off at her because she doesn't respond to me. If you think your sister would call you back, she doesn't. And it hurts me."

And although the scorned sis admits the momager gifted her a Mercedes, money isn't buying Houghton's happiness. "I think she could do a lot more for her family," Houghton told Radar Online "My mom could have anything she wanted, considering if I had three Bentleys, Mercedes cars, clothing lines." Jenner isn't thrilled about her sister's tendency to dish family secrets to the press. "Unfortunately, my sister has been dealing with demons for years," Jenner clapped back to Radar Online. "I am not in touch with her. But I wish her the very best."