The Kardashians' Origin Story Is Not What You Thought

Photo: Jim Smeal/REX Shutterstock.
These days, it's hard not to keep up with the Kardashians. They're everywhere. In fact, they've been so omnipresent in the public eye for such a long time now that it's hard to remember why they're a famous family in the first place.
Origin story alert: The Kardashian Klan didn't just one day rise up out of obscurity and take over your newsfeed. Nor did they emerge from Paris Hilton's closet, groomed to be her successors to the plastic L.A. throne. Their domination was a process, one that literally began decades ago, before reality television really started its meteoric rise. And the person who got the ball rolling isn't actually the one we typically associate with Kardashian stardom.
We're talking about Robert: father of Kourtney, Kim, Khloé, and Rob, ex-husband of Kris, and former lawyer and friend of a certain football star who was the defendant in the "trial of the century": O.J. Simpson. With Ryan Murphy's star-studded retelling of the Simpson case, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, airing tonight on FX, many of us will be learning how the Kardashian name catapulted from obscurity onto prime-time TV. Recognizing the Kardashian patriarch's role is the key to understanding how the family was primed for limelight in the first place.
So, let's start at the very beginning — a very good place to start — and take a look at the family's not-so-humble beginnings, to better understand how they became America's so-called other first family.

More from TV

Watch

R29 Original Series

Watch Now
Documentary
Five love stories behind diverse, multicultural marriages.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Life experiments, 5 days at a time.
Watch Now
Fashion
The style of subculture.
Watch Now
Beauty
Viral trends, tried and tested.
Watch Now
Documentary
From vibrators to lipstick, learn how your favorite products are made.
Watch Now
Documentary
Extraordinary, one-of-a-kind individuals
Watch Now
Documentary
The latest stories to watch.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Inside the homes of millennial women — & what they paid for them
Watch Now
Comedy
Let's talk about sex, baby.
Watch Now
Documentary
Female artisans around the world
Watch Now
Politics
Made by and for smart, opinionated women.
Watch Now
Film
We helped 12 female directors claim their power.