Kim Kardashian shot to fame in 2007 following the release of her notorious sex tape which continued to haunt her for years to come.
Thirteen years ago, the reality TV superstar was just an aspiring celebrity who owned a fashion store in Calabasas, California with her sisters.
However, the release of the tape – which Kim made in 2002 with her then-boyfriend Ray J – changed everything for her and made her a celebrity in her own right.
The leak came just months before Kim’s reality TV show Keeping Up With The Kardashians was due to air and has been credited with bringing the series to the public’s attention.
Subsequent rumours suggested Kim’s momanager Kris had orchestrated the whole thing as a publicity stunt for the show and the star has spent years denying the claims.
Kim filmed the tape with Ray J back in 2002 during a holiday in Mexico for her 23rd birthday.
She’d started dating the singer in the early 2000s following the breakdown of her marriage to music producer Damon Dash.
It was another five years before it got out, with the tape being sold to porn giant Vivid Entertainment in early 2007.
At the time, Kim had enjoyed her first taste of showbusiness working for Paris Hilton as her assistant and making a number of brief appearances in the hotel heiress’s reality show The Simple Life.
The company put out a press release stating the tape had been bought from an unnamed third party for $1 million and they released it as Kim Kardashian Superstar in March that year.
Kim had filed a highly-publicised lawsuit against Vivid, but failed to stop the tape’s release – eventually settling with them for a reported $5 million.
That figure has since been described by Kim’s lawyer as “greatly inflated”.
At the time, Kim was looking forward to the premiere of her new family reality show after signing a deal with E! to film their lives for TV.
The tape’s release came just six months before the show’s debut.
The situation seemed to mirror the experiences of Kim’s then-boss Paris several years earlier.
Back in 2004, Hilton’s own sex tape – 1 Night In Paris – was released shortly before her show The Simple Life debuted on TV.
Paris ended up in a legal battle over the tape, which was filmed by her former boyfriend Rick Salomon, and ended up with a reported $400,000 settlement.
Although 1 Night In Paris was initially put out by another distributor, the rights were eventually snapped up by Vivid – the same company which released Kim’s tape.
Paris’ TV show was a huge success, and many commentators put its massive ratings down to the publicity boost she received from the tape.
The socialite has since insisted she was no way involved in its release and “hasn’t made a dime” from its distribution.
After the release of Kim Kardashian Superstar, Keeping Up With The Kardashians debuted to much fanfare becoming a hit for E!
During the first season, Kim was seen posing for Playboy in a sexy shoot that was published in December 2007.
The TV scenes showed Kim’s mum and manager Kris Jenner encouraging her daughter to strip off for the sexy title claiming it would give her career a massive boost.
In subsequent years both Kim and Kris had been forced to fend off rumours they were involved in the leak of the sex tape.
The rumours were put to print in Ian Halperin’s book Kardashian Dynasty in which he described setting up a meeting with bosses at Vivid to try and work out how a sex tape could make it to market.
In the book, the writer claims Vivid chiefs told him they would not be able to release a sex tape unless it was signed off by both parties otherwise it would be considered an invasion of privacy.
Halperin claimed a Vivid rep told him: “A third party brought it [Kim’s tape] to Vivid.
“Vivid got in touch with the Kardashian family and explained the truth, which is if [their representative] doesn’t buy it and pay for it, there’s a good chance that other sites will put it up and not charge for it, and they’ll never get anything.”
He went on to question whether Kim and Kris could have been involved as the release would have needed her consent, and called her lawsuit an attempt to portray herself as a victim.
Kim’s representatives denied the claims in Halperin’s book, and they have long denied the tape was released to publicise the family’s reality show.
Steven Hirsch, the head Vivid Entertainment also denied Kim was involved in the deal, telling New York Post gossip column Page Six: “Someone just called the office one day and said, ‘We have some footage of a celebrity.’ Somebody took the call and we set up a time to talk.
“The person brought it in and they had the footage on this computer and they came in with this big, like, rolling suitcase and they unpacked all of it. It was a production…
“I think they just wanted to be in control the whole time… It wasn’t that they were representing the people in the video.
“It definitely wasn’t. Because Kim was not involved in it. It was that these people had the footage and were looking to sell it.”
Speaking in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Kim insisted she was definitely not behind the leak.
She explained: “You know I think that was definitely how I was introduced to the world.
“I like to think I’m not naive to that… I felt like I really had to work 10 times harder to get people to see the real me… I felt humiliated…”
When asked whether she was behind the release, Kim added: “I think why would anyone put that humiliation on their family like that?
“I have always been concerned about humiliating the family and that’s what I did.
“And that’s something I’m going to have to live with for the rest of my life and it’s something I’m going to have to explain to my children one day…
“That’s something I would take back.”
Speaking about the sex tape in a 2018 interview with author Bret Easton Ellis for Richardson magazine, Kim insisted she went through hell.
She explained: “I thought that for Paris [Hilton, whose own sex tape was released in 2004], it was explosive and a super lot of attention for her too, in a positive way.
“But once you go through it and you have those conversations with your parents and grandparents and everyone that you’d be really embarrassed about it with, I think you get to a point where you’re like, ‘Okay, we’re dealing with this legally, and it’s time to move on.’
“Everyone deals with things differently and I seem to deal with things — whether the sex tape, the robbery, even the death of my dad, who was the most important person in my life – I push to just overcome it.”
Kim’s mum Kris has also previously spoken out about the sex tape.
In a 2018 episode of Fox News’ OBJECTified, she insisted the release was “devastating” for her and the family.
She said: “You know I can’t control what other people say and obviously that was a hard thing to go through.
“The thing I learned from that is that you can get through anything as a family.
“That was obviously a real hard time for any mom, it was devastating.”