Quick, what’s the first word you think of when you think of the Kardashians? Is it “rich”? Well, who could blame you — for nearly 20 years, Keeping Up With The Kardashians has treated us to an up-close look at their lavish homes, luxurious vacations (amid a pandemic or otherwise), and extravagances both so outrageous and so random that most viewers know they’ll never experience them in their lifetime. So, imagine our surprise in reading Kathie Lee Gifford’s new memoir It’s Never Too Late and hearing from Kylie and Kendall Jenner’s godmother herself that the Kardashians too have known financial hardship — and not as long ago as you might think. According to Gifford, the months before the family signed on to KUWTK saw Kris Jenner and her family seriously struggling to stay afloat and praying for an answer to their financial troubles.
Talk show host Gifford devotes a whole chapter of her memoir to her long relationship with the Kardashian-Jenner family, starting with a friendship with Kris in the ’80s and ’90s. Describing the months leading up to Kris being pitched on KUWTK — during which time Gifford says she herself was approached for a reality show, and pointed them in Kris’ direction instead — Gifford writes that Kris’ entrepreneurial spirit was already hard at work trying to figure out a new cashflow.
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“What very few people know is that at that time, the family was in difficult financial straits,” she writes. “Kris was managing Bruce’s career, but he was no longer the super sports hero du jour and wasn’t pulling in the lucrative endorsement or appearance money he once had. As they say, fame is fleeting. I kept praying with Kris as they struggled, moving from one rental home to another in order to survive.”
“Then one day I was talking to my new agent at the William Morris Agency. She once again wanted me to consider doing a reality series — something I had resisted for years,” she continues. “‘No,’ I told her for the umpteenth time. ‘But you should do one with Kris and Bruce Jenner. That would be just unbelievable.'”
And the rest, as they say, is history.
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