When Kanye West and Kim Kardashian were first introduced by singer Brandy in 2003, the rapper became a good friend of the family.
Both knew the pain of loss. Like the Kardashians – whose father Robert died from oesophageal cancer in September 2003 – Kanye also lost his beloved mother Donda to complications from surgery in 2007.
And after Kim’s dramatic 72-day marriage to Kris Humphries ended in divorce in 2012, the clan was only too happy to welcome Kanye into the fold.
“We’ve known Kanye for like nine years,” her sister Khloe told Us Weekly at the time.
“He’s great with the family, but again we’ve known him for so long. It’s not like some stranger getting into a hurricane.”
But all that reportedly changed after Kanye’s most recent outburst, which saw him call Kim and her mum ‘white supremacists’ and claim he’d been trying to divorce her for some time.
In the midst of a bipolar episode, the rapper also claimed he and Kim had considered aborting their first-born daughter North in a move that is said to have left Kim ‘furious’.
Kim was later pictured in floods of tears as she met Kanye for crisis talks. And despite putting on a cosy display at Christmas, behind the scenes, sources claimed the ‘trust is gone’ and that her sisters have warned her to leave.
“Kim’s family feels so bad for her,” the insider told The Sun.
“Kourtney and Khloe both want Kim to leave Kanye and told her she can raise her kids better without him being there because he is literally dragging her down now and he’s become a danger and a liability.
“The trust is gone. Kim‘s fairytale just came to an end and now she’s left with the choice of being a single 40 something year old mum with four kids or staying with her mentally unstable husband who doesn’t respect her.”
A rep for the family said the claims were “not true”.
The couple are said to have been living separate lives for ‘months’, with Kanye, 43, holed up at his ranch in Wyoming.
Sources have told the New York Post’s Page Six that ‘divorce is imminent’ and that Kim has ‘had enough’ of defending her husband.
“They are keeping it low-key but they are done. Kim has hired [celebrity divorce lawyer] Laura Wasser and they are in settlement talks.
“She is serious about taking the bar exam and becoming a lawyer, she is serious about her prison reform campaign. Meanwhile Kanye is talking about running for president and saying other crazy s**t, and she’s just had enough of it.”
It’s a sad end to a love story that has spanned almost 20 years.
For Kanye, it was lust at first sight when he first met Kim – but she was married to Damon Thomas at the time.
He told E! True Hollywood Story: “Any time I was around her and I saw her, it was magnetic attraction to this force of energy.
“She was good, pure, happy, loving, brave, courageous, strong.”
But after her split from Damon, Kim didn’t get with Kanye, instead dating Brandy’s brother Ray-J, Reggie Bush, Nick Lachay and Nick Cannon.
The pair remained friends with Kanye convincing her to star in his hip hop puppet show, Alligator Boots, in 2007. And despite not knowing how to pronounce her surname, Kanye was hooked.
“I just knew I wanted her to be my girl for a long time,” he told Ryan Seacrest in 2013.
“I remember I saw a picture of her and Paris Hilton, and I remember telling my boy, ‘Have you seen that girl Kim Kardijon?'”
But sadly for Kanye, it appeared Kim didn’t feel the same and she went on to tie the knot with basketballer Kris Humphries in a 2011 TV extravaganza – despite Kanye’s desperate pleas for her to back out.
In his song Cold, Kanye would later admit he’d fallen properly in love with Kim around the same time she met Kris. But at that time, Kim was set on a future with the sports star.
“Right before I got married to Kris Humphries we were talking and I just went a different direction,” she said. “I think I had to go through that to figure out what I wanted.”
But as luck would have it, their marriage lasted just 72 days and when it all fell apart, Kanye was waiting and offered to whisk her away to Paris to watch his fashion show.
“After my break up I was feeling really low and down,” she once said. “He jokes that he put on this whole fashion show just to get a date with me.”
But his huge romantic gesture paid off and finally sealed the deal.
“I went and I stayed with him and that’s where we started dating,” Kim continued.
“I swear from the moment I landed and was there, I fell madly in love with him and I thought ‘Oh my god, why didn’t I do this sooner? This is like what real life is like and love and fun and real support. This is what it is.'”
What would you do in Kim’s position? Have your say in the comments section below…