The public and celebrities alike have been highly critical of the Kardashians because of how they came to become famous. While others have reached fame due to their talent or intellect, the Kardashians don’t have the best reputation since Kim Kardashian was first introduced to mainstream audiences through her sex tape. The release of the tape coupled with a few famous friends helped to land Kim her own reality show, and the fascination over Keeping Up with the Kardashians also helped to give celebrity status to the entire Kardashian/Jenner clan.
Although the Kardashians can officially call themselves celebrities, people still tend to look down on them in regards to their fame status. As a reality star, it’s possible that none of the Kardashians will ever obtain a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and many celebrities have even come out to show their disdain over the entire family. While the Kardashians have come under constant attack over their means of obtaining fame, it’s interesting how many celebrities and sports stars have used the Kardashian name to try and get their own names in the papers. People are hugely critical over the Kardashian clan, but aren’t as critical over some of their hanger-ons. From ex-partners to so-called friends, there seems to be a gang of people that aren’t above latching onto the Kardashian name to gain celebrity status of their own. Check out our list of the 15 celebrities that used the Kardashians to get famous, and see how even this famous clan can get used to gain fame.
15 Nick Lachey
When Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson called their marriage quits after the conclusion of their reality show, Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica, the world wondered who could possibly fill the shoes of this blonde bombshell. The series actually made Simpson appear even more likable, but had the opposite effect on Lachey. Perhaps he felt that he could hitch his wagon to yet another beautiful woman to try and inch up his fame or perhaps he was trying to use someone to try and show Simpson that he could still get the girls. Whatever the case, Lachey began dating Kim Kardashian in 2006. After their relationship didn’t turn into anything, Lachey tried to turn the situation in his favor by saying that it was actually Kardashian that was using him to gain fame. In an interview with Details magazine, Lachey stated, “We went to a movie. No one followed us there. Somehow, mysteriously, when we left, there were 30 photographers waiting outside. There are certain ways to play this game, and some people play it well.” Insinuating that it was Kim that called the paparazzi, Lachey couldn’t seem to believe that the paparazzi would actually be interested in photographing her instead of him.
14 Ray J
Kim Kardashian and Ray J met while she was working as a stylist for his sister, Brandy. The two dated for around three years, and most famously filmed a sex tape that was leaked and released by Vivid Entertainment. While the sex tape was hugely successful in making Kim Kardashian a household name, it is also the biggest embarrassment of her career (which is saying a lot). On the other hand, the sex tape was actually favorable for Ray J. In his book, Death of a Cheating Man: What Every Woman Must Know About Men Who Stray, Ray J seemed pretty happy about his portrayal in the tape and even stated, “I literally became a sex object.” He also released an album with a pixilated picture of Kim Kardashian, which highlighted the song, “I Hit It First.” It’s obvious that Ray J was hoping to drum up some added publicity for his album release by using his relationship past with Kim Kardashian. While she wants the world to forget about her time with Ray J, he is hoping to exploit it as much as humanly possible.
13 Karrueche Tran
When Karrueche Tran was first introduced to the world, she was just the girlfriend of Chris Brown. During a time when Brown had just split from Rihanna (for the second time), he seemed to be moving on with Tran to put his sordid past behind him. No one seemed to know much about Karrueche Tran when she was first seen on the arm of Chris Brown, but they quickly began to see more and more of her. During their tumultuous ups and downs of their relationship and subsequent breakup, Tran began being seen with a number of other celebrities as “friends.” She was seen riding on a motorcycle alongside Christina Milian at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, but the most shocking was her YouTube collaboration with Kylie Jenner. In an effort to show fans more of her personality (and more of her celebrity friends), Tran created a YouTube channel and invited Kylie Jenner to join her. The two can be seen making tacos together, which is almost laughable since Kylie isn’t exactly known for being domestic. This is an obvious attempt at gaining more subscribers and views, since no one is expecting Kylie Jenner to be the next Bobby Flay.
12 Damon Thomas
At just 19 years old, Kim Kardashian eloped with music mogul, Damon Thomas. At the time, Kardashian was working in low-level fashion as a sales associate in retail. While she definitely wasn’t the well-known celebrity she is today, she still came with the Kardashian name and had youth and beauty on her side. However, the relationship wasn’t made in heaven, and their divorce papers detailed both physical and verbal abuse that included Thomas punching Kim in the face on numerous occasions. They wound up divorcing after around just three years of marriage, but that wasn’t the last time the public would hear from Thomas. After Kim found fame through the reality series, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, (and her sex tape) the media started to delve into Kim’s past to know more about her personal life. Whether it was to make himself look better after the damning divorce papers went public or just a way to get his name in the papers, Thomas released a tell-all with InTouch magazine. Filled with critical statements about his ex-wife, Thomas stated, “Kim is obsessed with fame. She’s jealous and competitive with her sisters. She can’t write or sing or dance, so she does harmful things in order to validate herself in the media. That’s a fame-whore to me. It’s just not cool at all.” With statements like these, it makes people wonder whether Thomas was a bit of a fame-whore as well.
11 Nick Cannon
Shortly after Kim Kardashian’s breakup with Nick Lachey, she began dating Nick Cannon. Unlike her relationship with Lachey (which only seemed like a few highly publicized dates), she seemed to have a real relationship with Cannon. The two were together for around a year, and she even introduced him to her family. They actually could have made it down the aisle if it weren’t for the release of her sex tape with Ray J. While many believe that it was Kardashian that leaked the tape in order to gain notoriety, details surrounding that tumultuous time show that perhaps Kardashian truly thought that the video would never be seen by the public. Supposedly, Cannon heard about the possibility of a sex tape between Kim and Ray J, and confronted Kim about whether or not the tape existed. Allegedly, Kardashian lied about the existence of the tape, and this lie was what caused the two to break up. While others would just let this breakup stay in the past, Cannon has been known to remind the public via throwback Thursday photos of the pair on his Instagram page. Not only does it look like a desperate attempt of attention-seeking, but it also makes him look envious of days from long ago.
10 Reggie Bush
Kim Kardashian started dating Reggie Bush, an NFL football player, back in 2007, just as Keeping Up with the Kardashians was starting to take off. While there are some sports stars that have gained celebrity status beyond their time on the field, not everyone can become instantly recognizable. Yet, it definitely helps when you’re seen on a hugely popular reality series due to your girlfriend, Kim Kardashian. During their three-year relationship, Reggie Bush received so much free publicity that there were even positive benefits to his professional career. He was asked to participate in photo shoots that he probably never would have been offered if not for his girlfriend Kim, including a pictorial spread where she is seen riding his back while he did push-ups. In an interview with ESPN, Bush stated, “The gossip magazines and all the other stuff, the ugly side of it. But you know what, I wouldn’t change anything because it helped mold and shape who I am today and I’m a better man for it.” Obviously, he doesn’t hold resentment over his time in the limelight while dating Kim, and that’s probably because it helped to inch up his celebrity status.
9 Miles Austin
With the fame that resulted in the relationship between Reggie Bush and Kim Kardashian, professional athletes were starting to look at Kim with dollar signs in their eyes because of all the help that could come to their careers. In 2010, Kardashian began dating NFL football player, Miles Austin, which was briefly covered on Keeping Up with the Kardashians. In comparison to other Kardashian relationships, this was pretty low profile for Kim. However, the couple couldn’t seem to make it work. There are conflicting reports as to why the two broke up, with some saying that it was because of conflicting schedules and others saying it was because Austin was using Kardashian for fame. Us Weekly ran a story with statements from insiders of the couple stating, “Sitting on the floor of the Lakers game with her was better than any commercial of him that would ever run. Sure, he liked her to an extent, but he loved the publicity a lot more.”
The popularity of Keeping Up with the Kardashians gave rise to more than just the celebrity status of Kim Kardashian. The public became interested in the lives of her sisters, Khloe and Kourtney, and that resulted in the spinoff show, Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami. Although much of the storyline involved Kourtney’s boyfriend, Scott Disick, there was an opening for a love interest storyline for Khloe as well. In stepped Omarion, the ex-boy band lead singer from the group B2K. Omarion had a mildly successful music career, but definitely was forgotten by the time he was featured on Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami. The episode featuring Omarion was lackluster at best, with viewers forced to believe that he was actually trying to court Khloe. It was embarrassing to watch since it seemed completely unbelievable, and it resulted in a drunken episode with Khloe looking bewildered and desperate. Perhaps the real goal of the episode was to give Omarion his time in the limelight, so the goal was accomplished.
7 Kris Humphries
In 2010, Kim Kardashian began dating NBA basketball player, Kris Humphries. This basically proved that she doesn’t just date rappers, music moguls, reality stars, and NFL players. Branching out into the NBA, the public didn’t exactly know how to react since it had been become blatantly clear that Kim didn’t seem to care who she dated as long as they were rich and famous. It’s hard to get on board with her new relationship when she seemed to jump so easily from one relationship to the next. The whirlwind courtship between her and Humphries was highly publicized on Keeping Up with the Kardashians, and even resulted in a wedding episode special. However, it seemed that much of the relationship was a lie, and the two only stayed together for 72 days of marriage. The public came down on Kardashian for her exploitation of the sanctity of marriage, and even some of the wedding guests came out to say that they expect to get their gifts back from the wedding. Humphries may not have gained a soul mate out of their union, but he sure did gain a ton of free publicity.
6 Adrienne Bailon
While Keeping Up with the Kardashians was mainly meant to highlight the Kardashian sisters, their brother, Rob, was quickly thrust into the spotlight as well. Unlike his sisters, that always seemed to have a steady flow of income, Rob never actually had a career. Instead, he was seen more as the annoying little brother. That is, until he became romantically linked to Adrienne Bailon, lead singer of 3LW and member of The Cheetah Girls. The group, 3LW, by no means became as famous as other groups like Destiny’s Child, and The Cheetah Girls produced things that went straight to video at the very best. Whether Bailon truly did love Rob Kardashian is a bit of a question, but the one thing that is for sure is the fact that she received plenty of screen time while dating him. In fact, the best thing that could have happened to Bailon was for Rob to cheat on her. Not only did it give her an accepted out from the relationship, but it made her look like the devoted and beautiful girlfriend that deserved much better. Bailon went on to become a successful talk show host on The Real and snagged herself a catch when she became romantically linked to Israel Houghton.
5 Corey Gamble
The public has come down pretty hard on Kris Jenner, since she’s given a whole new meaning to the title, “Momager.” She has come off as looking like she doesn’t have her children’s best interests at heart on Keeping Up with the Kardashians, and made people actually feel sorry for her husband, Bruce. Yet, the tables turned when Bruce transitioned into Caitlyn, and people started to feel sorry for the long-suffering Kris Jenner. The humiliation factor alone seemed like enough for the world to sympathize for Kris, but that changed again when she became romantically linked to Corey Gamble. Not only is Gamble a shocking 35-years-old compared to Jenner’s 60-year-old age, but he seems like an obvious opportunist hoping to jump on the Kardashian bandwagon. Gamble has quite a history of latching onto celebrities, and even worked with Justin Bieber while on the road. He was obviously happy to be photographed alongside the Bieber crew, but never made it to the red carpet until he was on the arm of Kris Jenner.
The connection between Tyga and the Kardashians is actually quite shocking, since the mother of his child is Blac Chyna. Tyga was around the Kardashian crew while Blac Chyna was friends with the Kardashian sisters, which is how he became close to Kylie Jenner. At the time that they started their relationship, Kylie was actually a minor and it made people wonder why no one was getting involved. Her parents have never been known to intervene on behalf of the children’s best interests, but it seemed surprising that they wouldn’t step in with such an older man courting their underage daughter. In the meantime, Tyga has seemed to love his time in the limelight. He even performed at Kendall Jenner’s Sweet 16 episode in Keeping Up with the Kardashians. It seems completely slimy to know that Kylie was only 14-years-old at the time, but it’s obvious that pretty much anything goes in the Kardashian world.
3 Kanye West
When Kanye West was first featured on Keeping Up with the Kardashians, audiences didn’t really know what to make of it. During that time, West was in a tumultuous relationship with Amber Rose and people were still hoping Reggie Bush would finally pop the question with Kim Kardashian. Once the two finally made it official, much of their relationship was documented on the reality show. From the over-the-top stadium proposal to the televised wedding special, West definitely got added attention because of the relationship. The Kardashian sisters visited him in concert, which gave him added publicity, and a lot of his new music was featured on the show. West has also gained a bit of notoriety off the show, since the pair has made a career out of exploiting their relationship. From posing together for Vogue magazine to wearing matching ensembles to the Met Gala, the couple has become a commodity that is far beyond what they could have ever achieved on their own.
2 Blac Chyna
Blac Chyna started off as a regular hanger-on with the Kardashian sisters, and posed numerous times for highly publicized social media posts. Showing off her Jessica Rabbit physique in scantily-clad gym apparel, she and the Kardashian sisters made a career out of social media photos. Once it seemed that the sisters moved on to better (and more famous) friends, Blac Chyna found a new way to use the Kardashian name to gain celebrity status. When she became romantically linked to Rob Kardashian, the public couldn’t believe how dysfunctional the family was becoming. The connection between her dating Rob while having the child with Kylie’s boyfriend was just too much for people to handle. Everything was thrown into the public eye, from social media posts showing her engagement ring to the spin-off series, Rob & Chyna. She has definitely used the Kardashians for as much as she could possibly get out of them, and the train doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
1 Rita Ora
There are some celebrities that seem to be famous without many people understanding exactly where their fame came from. Rita Ora is a prime example of that since many people still don’t know how or why she is famous. While she’s had some mild success in the music industry and she was popular in the UK on The X Factor, she still has yet to gain true recognition here in the U.S. However, she once tried to gain fame by latching onto Rob Kardashian early on in her career. While it did work in creating some buzz around her name, it wasn’t exactly positive attention by the press. During their breakup, the pair had a highly publicized Twitter war that resulted in Rob unleashing some dirt on why the two split. In one Twitter rant, Rob wrote, “She cheated on me with nearly 20 dudes while we were together, I wonder how many she will sleep with now that we apart? But I mean 20?!!!” That doesn’t exactly make Ora look like a great catch, but at least it got her name in the papers.