Keeping Up With the Kardashians has seen its fair share of breakups — Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries, Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom (sob!), Rob Kardashian and that Cheetah Girl — but no split is as shocking as that of Kardashian momager Kris and husband Bruce Jenner. The couple played nice on Season 8 of KUWTK, but it turns out that the couple has actually been separated for over a year. Though Kris and Bruce insisted that they were very much still in love, the season also featured Bruce spending more time at his beach house than the home that he shared with Kris and daughters Kylie and Kendall — a sign of brewing trouble that was written off as a way for Bruce to get some "me time". Sigh.
Look, I live in the real world — not the world of reality TV. I'm aware that everything shown on the cameras is not always true-to-life (I did watch every single episode of The Hills, after all) but that doesn't change the fact that the Bruce and Kris Jenner split makes me a little, well, sad.
Keeping Up With the Kardashians took the overexposed Jenner/Kardashian family outside of the tabloids. They made the family seem wacky, fun, loving, and, weirdly, actually relatable. Yeah, okay, so maybe the private jets, $4,000 handbags, and the museum that they call a house doesn't exactly scream "average American family", but there was some real family conflict within the show.
The Jenner/Kardashian clan is a mixed family, not totally unlike the one at the center of The Brady Bunch. Bruce Jenner brought his three sons (Brody, Burt, and Brandon) and daughter (the little-seen Casey Jenner) into the mix, while Kris brought along the three famous Kardashian sisters and her son, Rob. Together the couple had their own children, Kendall and Kylie. As with any family, there was bound to be some conflict. Kris, for example, was accused of not wanting to spend time getting to know Brody (which is a mistake, because, well, have you seen Brody?).
But despite the conflicts, family always seemed important to the Jenner/Kardashians — family dinners, trips, birthdays, were all put at high priority. Yes, it's a reality show about a family and it needs some form of constructed plot, but I genuinely believe that the reason that this family spends so much time together isn't for the cameras, but because they really do care about one another.
As stepfather to the Kardashians, Bruce was a respected father-figure who treated his stepchildren just as well as his own, and his children credit him as a source of support during the death of their father, Robert Kardashian. Because, blood-related or not, to the Jenner/Kardashians, family is family.
Kris and Bruce may have played up their romantic relationship for the cameras, which, honestly, is exactly what the viewers wanted to see. No one would have wanted to watch the crumbling of a marriage that tied together two families (would you have wanted to watch Carol and Mike Brady duke it out in divorce court?). Kris and Bruce represented a reality for many families in America, where divorce and remarriage are now more commonplace than ever.
Sadly, they also represent the reality of reality television, which tends to be the fastest route to divorce. Perhaps we will get to see a new, modern-day post-divorce couple emerge from the ashes of their failed marriage. According to E! News, Kris has this to say about her soon-to-be-ex: “We are living separately and we are much happier this way. But we will always have much love and respect for each other. Even though we are separated, we will always remain best friends and, as always, our family will remain our number one priority."
I will mourn the end of this marriage during my viewing of Season 9 of Keeping Up With the Kardashians and be thankful that at least, for now, we still have Scott.
Written by Kaitlin Reilly