- E!’s “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” began airing in 2007.
- Now filming its 19th season, the reality show has catapulted the Kardashian-Jenner family into global fame.
- While the footage may seem raw and spontaneous, there are countless moving parts going on behind the scenes.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The Kardashian-Jenner family showed an early willingness to put their personal lives on a platter when they debuted their reality show in 2007.
What started as a way to promote their brick-and-mortar boutiques, Dash and Smooch, “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” set the stage for the family to become defining figures in reality television.
Though it may seem like the Kardashian-Jenner family has exposed the intricacies of their lives — including break-ups, pregnancies, physical fights, etc. — during the past 18 seasons, what fans see on the camera is only half the story.
Here are 20 things fans probably didn’t know about the hit reality show.
There’s controversy about who first came up with the idea for the show.
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
“The house is awash in puberty and adolescence and young adulthood and two parents with very different styles, it seems to me something is there for television,” Caitlyn told Kris, according to her book.
Later, Caitlyn wrote, “Kris says she is the one who came up with the idea and decided to actively pitch it to Ryan Seacrest.”
In response, Kris told The Hollywood Reporter that Jenner’s claim was “so absurd.”
“I’m not sure what the motivation was for her to say something like that. Maybe somebody should remind her that it’s called ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians,'” Kris said.
Kris set Google Alerts on her children’s names.
Kris confirmed that she uses Google Alerts to keep tabs on her kids’ locations during a 2014 episode of “Beyond Candid With Giuliana.”
“Sometimes I want to know where everybody is,” she said. “I have a Google Alert on the kids. I’ll go, ‘Wait, oh that’s right. They’re in Italy.'”
Kourtney Kardashian said she used to cry in a bathroom off-camera during season one.
Kourtney was very camera-shy while filming the first season and wasn’t always on board with the idea of the reality show, she told The Hollywood Reporter.
According to Kris, her eldest, who was 27 at the time, had to be convinced to join the show.
“The only person I got any resistance from was Kourtney. She was sort of skeptical,” Kris told The Hollywood Reporter.
Kourtney joined the show but admitted that she hid some of her emotions from the camera.
“I remember in season one being like, ‘I have to go the bathroom,’ and I’d cry in there as quietly as I could carpet cleaning lexington because I was still mic’d,” Kourtney said. “I never want to cry in front of cameras.”
Though Kourtney has stuck with the show and its spinoffs, she recently made a decision to step back from the cameras to focus on motherhood and her brand Poosh.
Kim Kardashian West is the most involved with the show’s production.
Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images
Though Kris and the three Kardashian sisters all serve as executive producers on the show, Kim said she’s the most involved with shaping the “KUWTK” story.
“I’m very aware of what fans want to see,” Kim told The Hollywood Reporter. “I think if you ask the crew, I probably produce the most, because I know what my sisters might not be sharing. So I’ll tell them, ‘Go over to Kourt’s house right now. Something is going on.'”
Khloe Kardashian did not want her own spin-off but signed up for “Khloe & Lamar” because of Lamar Odom.
Frederick M. Brown/Getty
“Khloe & Lamar” aired for two seasons and revolved around Khloe and Odom’s whirlwind romance and subsequent marriage.
“I never wanted to do ‘Khloe & Lamar;’ my ex-husband did,” Khloe told The Hollywood Reporter. “He has his career, but he really fought for it. I said, ‘You have to go into E! and promise them that you have the time.'”
The series began in 2011 and ended in 2012 after the couple moved to Texas so that Odom could play for the Dallas Mavericks. Eventually, Lamar sustained an injury while playing for the team, which led Khloe to make a difficult decision about the show.
“He sold it, and I let it happen because I wanted him to be happy, but I was the one who canceled it,” Khloe said. “It was way too much.”
She filed for divorce in 2013, though they didn’t officially end their marriage until 2016.
Kim didn’t plan on showing her and Kanye West’s wedding on the show.
In the season 9 finale “Kim’s Journey to the Altar,” Kim and Kanye tied the knot at Forte di Belvedere in Italy in 2014.
“We had no intention of showing our wedding on the show,” Kim told The Hollywood Reporter, adding that her assistant filmed the footage using a Handycam.
“She was literally standing on top of a castle and freezing, because we knew we wanted to capture this gorgeous walk from up above. People were yelling at her like, ‘You can’t film up there!'”
Kim said she and Kanye “loved the footage so much” that they included some of it on “KUWTK.”
Kris had a nail artist come to the house each week to make sure Kendall and Kylie Jenner always had their nails done.
Kylie has become well-known for her long, intricately painted nails.
During a 2017 interview with Cosmopolitan, the makeup mogul revealed that she gets them done once a week, a habit that has been engrained in Kylie and her older sister Kendall Jenner from a young age.
“My mom would make us do it. She would have a nail artist come to the house once a week and she would make us get our nails done. She was like, ‘You are never going to look like you’re not put together.’ So we were always getting them done,” Kendall explained.
The supermodel said she only does them if she has a photoshoot, but Kylie said she took her mother’s advice.
The exterior shots of houses aren’t actually the Kardashians’ homes.
“My old home in Beverly Hills was really my home & I would get people showing up at all hours ringing my gate & had to call the police on several occasions,” Kim wrote, according to ABC News.
She continued, “People hopping the gate & scaring me. It was so unsafe. The hollywood star tours would stop by too, bc they recognized my home from our show. After that we realized how unsafe it is to show the exterior of our homes. So now we use different homes for the outside for security purposes.”
Kim said that the family does film inside their own homes.
According to the Daily Mail, one of the homes with an exterior that was featured on the show went up for sale in 2014. The house, which is located around 20 miles from the Kardashians’ actual homes, was reportedly listed for $6.25 million, according to TMZ.
Kris’ doorbell inspired the show’s original theme song.
Kourtney said her breakup with Scott Disick was the hardest episode to film on “KUWTK.”
Though the pair have remained close following their split and seemingly mastered co-parenting their three children, Kourtney said their 2015 breakup was the most difficult episode to film during a 2017 interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
“The hardest episode to film was my breakup with Scott,” she said. “I had a lot of anxiety about it, and finally said let’s just get this over with. I sat down and started crying. You go through something, and then you move past it. Then you do your interview, and get all riled up again. And then you see the episode, and start seeing all these comments.”
Kanye initially didn’t want to be on the show.
Getty Images / Pascal Le Segretain
Kanye decided to keep his personal life off of “KUWTK” when he married Kim in 2014.
“Kanye was like, ‘I’m not a part of the show. That’s not what I do. I have my own career and life,'” Kim told The Hollywood Reporter.
The rapper has since gotten involved with the show, despite his initial hesitations.
“He’ll really surprise you though. He’ll be like, ‘I’m not filming’ and then randomly show up. But I will get [the footage] and show him. He knew I would love to have my engagement on camera so he filmed it and he said, ‘The look might be a little different because I need these type of cameras,’ and got music clearance,” she said.
Kim explained that she respects Kanye’s boundaries and only speaks for herself in front of the cameras.
“I won’t really ever talk about something that’s going on with Kanye. I’ll talk about how I feel. He knows that I’m really protective of him,” she said.
When Adam Stotsky, the president of E!, suggested that Kanye try taking on his own show or series, Kris shot down the idea.
“Kanye does not have time or have any desire that I know of to do a show like that,” she said.
Kylie’s most embarrassing on-air moment happened during season one.
Though the show has followed Kylie’s life from the time she was only 10 years old, her least favorite moment happened during the first season.
When asked about her most cringeworthy moment on the show during an interview with E! News, Jenner said that it was “probably the stripper pole,” referring to an episode on season one of “KUWTK” when she played on a pole at her family home.
“The stripper pole was so embarrassing,” she said. “I wish it never happened.”
The original goal of the show was to direct attention to the family’s clothing stores.
Marc Stamas/Getty Images
In a 2014 episode of “Beyond Candid With Giuliana,” Kris admitted that she initially used the show as a marketing tool for the family’s stores, Dash and Smooch.
Dash, which was co-founded by the Kardashian sisters in 2006, became the focal point for spin-offs like “Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami” and “Dash Dolls.”
Kim echoed Kris’ statement during a 2015 interview with Variety, stating she never predicted the show’s success.
“When the opportunity for our TV show came about, I wanted to do it to bring attention to our stores,” she said. “I was thinking this might not last very long, but we’ll grow a great business and expand online. I thought it would be great press. I didn’t think it would turn into what it turned into.”
In 2018, Kim released a statement announcing that they were closing the Dash stores, which had brick-and-mortar locations in Los Angeles, New York, and Miami.
The family had brand new iPhones dropped off for filming each week during the pandemic.
Kim Kardashian West/instagram
The reality stars continued filming season 19 of “KUWTK” during the coronavirus pandemic, executive producer Farnaz Farjam told Elle.
Because a camera crew wasn’t categorized as “essential” under California’s stay-at-home orders, the family was tasked with capturing their own footage.
Farjam worked with the Kardashians to create a detailed system, which required a brand new iPhone for filming each week.
A photographer and technician set up properly lit rooms for confessionals and iPhone-compatible tripods in Kim and Khloe’s homes.
All of the equipment was thoroughly sanitized, Farjam explained, adding that the family waited at least 24 hours before entering the room where the gear was stationed.
Each Monday, a showrunner wearing protective gear collected the iPhones and dropped off brand-new smartphones to the family’s security teams to begin the next cycle of recording.
Producers considered naming the show “Kardashians: Krazy With A K” and “Living Kardashian.”
Before the series first aired in 2007, producers struggled to find the perfect name for the show.
In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Damla Dogan, the senior vice president of development and programming at E!, said that several titles had floated around for the series, but none really stuck.
When Farjam showed up to a meeting without any ideas, she said she was “too busy keeping up with the Kardashians” as an excuse. It was a hit.
“I came up with it on accident because I was living it,” Farjam said.
Khloe said she won’t let her daughter True Thompson watch “KUWTK” until she’s 13 years old.
The letter outlined plans for Khloe as a parent, including her decision not to let True watch her first episode of the reality show until she turns 13.
She also said that she plans to raise her daughter to have an abundance of self-love and won’t allow True to go on her first date until she’s 15.
Some scenes, including Kim’s engagement to Kris Humphries, have been reshot or rehearsed.
Jason Merritt/Getty Images
According to court documents obtained by Life and Style during the pair’s divorce trial, “KUWTK” producer Russell Jay said that at least two scenes directly related to the estranged couple’s relationship had been reshot.
The scenes included Kim and her mom discussing the divorce, Kim discovering a party in her hotel room, and Humpries’ proposal, which they decided to reshoot because Kim allegedly didn’t like her initial reaction.
The family requires guests on the show to sign nondisclosure agreements.
Though the Kardashian-Jenner family is willing to bring cameras into their homes, they aren’t ready to share all of their secrets.
In 2015, a New York Times reporter shared that Kris keeps a stack of nondisclosure agreements on the foyer of her house for guests to sign.
Kim also confirmed that everyone on”KUWTK” is required to sign the documents in a tweet that said, “Btw NDA’S for all.”
After Blac Chyna accused Rob Kardashian of physically abusing her in 2017, media outlets emailed members of the Kardashian family to ask for their statements. In response, Kim’s representatives sent ABC News a photo of the nondisclosure agreement that Chyna signed as a precursor to appearing on the show.
The family usually shoots footage for 10 to 12 hours per day.
Just because “KUWTK” is reality television doesn’t mean it doesn’t require long days of shooting.
Kris told The New York Times that the family usually films for 10 to 12 hours per day while taping “KUWTK.” She explained that the days can run longer depending on the complexity of the plotline.
Kris and Kim get their makeup and hair done each day they shoot “KUWTK.”
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for LACMA
Though they’re known for their curated outfits and detailed makeup, the Kardashians enlist assistance to get them camera-ready for their show.
Kris admitted that she gets her hair and makeup done every day before filming “KUWTK” during her 2015 interview with The New York Times. Her assistant added that her busy schedule often only permits for one hour of preparation from start to finish.
Kim takes slightly longer, however. She told Paper that she sets aside two hours for professional hair and makeup each day.
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