Khloé Kardashian on mental health, motherhood and managing a brand

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Photo credit: Dennis Leupold / Cosmopolitan UK
Photo credit: Dennis Leupold / Cosmopolitan UK

'Hello? Can you hear me okay?' asks a strangely familiar voice.

It’s hardly surprising that I recognise Khloé Kardashian’s voice. She’s one of the most famous women in the world, with 190 million Instagram followers and counting. Keeping Up With The Kardashians, the reality TV show that followed her family’s lives over 14 years and 20 seasons, has aired in over 167 countries and spawned 14 spin-off shows. So Khloé is used to people thinking they know her.

‘I’m such a people person,’ she tells me. ‘Someone will call me Khlo or Koko (her nicknames) and I’m like,“Heyyy!” I have to be reminded that I don’t know this person, they just watched the show.’ Sometimes, it can get a bit weird. ‘When I was married [to basketball player Lamar Odom] people would come up to me and give me sex advice because I was trying fora baby for so long,’ she laughs. ‘It’s sweet – I understand they were trying to be helpful, but I’m beyond talking about sexual positions with a stranger.’

Photo credit: Dennis Leupold / Cosmopolitan UK
Photo credit: Dennis Leupold / Cosmopolitan UK

We’re speaking today because this year, Khloé, 37, is celebrating five years since she co-founded her denim line Good American with CEO Emma Grede. The US-based label has always promoted a healthy body image, with an inclusive size range.In 2016, it reportedly became the most successful denim launch in history, earning over $1 million in sales on the first day – and Khloé is, quite rightly, extremely proud of this incredible achievement.

Building A Brand

‘I feel like I’ve had Good American for so much longer than five years, but at the same time, I feel like we’re just getting started,’ she admits. Khloé has had more time to focus on the brand since Keeping Up With The Kardashians wrapped in March. And, while the family are back filming together again, she still has grand plans for the Good American brand in the next five years. ‘Just global domination,’ she laughs.

When it comes to Good American, her family’s input is invaluable, especially her sister Kim Kardashian’s. ‘We definitely give each other advice and opinions,’ she says. ‘Kim will send me ideas of things I should do for new collections.’ Kim launched her very own shapewear brand Skims in 2019. ‘It’s funny because we have similar category brands, but they’re so different at the same time. She’s really good at giving advice.’ Kim is also the sibling who Khloé goes to in a personal crisis.‘She’s the PR crisis helper,’ says Khloé. ‘Poor girl. She’s really calm and now that she knows all this legal jargon (Kim is training to be a lawyer) she will say things that make you feel reassured – I don’t even know what they mean. If there’s any kind of drama, you talk to her about it.’ Feigning Kim’s voice, Khloé adds, ‘She’s like,“we’ll figure it out.” She comes up with a plan – she’s a little wizard like that. Either I feel calm or I’m like,“Why the fuck aren’t you more upset! I don’t understand why you’re so calm about this.”’

Of course, being part of the Kardashian-Jenner dynasty comes with a lot of attention, so by all accounts, Kim must be fairly busy. It’s funny to think that back when the show first aired in 2007, the family were barely known in the public domain. Khloé grew up in LA with her mother Kris, 66, father Robert, and siblings Kourtney, 42, Kim, 41, and Rob, 34. Her parents divorced when she was seven.

Kris remarried former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner and they went on to have Kendall, 26, and Kylie, 24. When Khloé was 19, her father Robert, who was a lawyer, sadly died of cancer.

It was Kris who pitched the idea for the show to E! producer Ryan Seacrest. She now manages all of her six children, who have made millions (some of them billions), with the show’s help. The first episode aired in October 2007 – Khloé was 23 and working as Nicole Richie’s assistant.

Photo credit: Cosmopolitan UK / Dennis Leupold
Photo credit: Cosmopolitan UK / Dennis Leupold

Over the years, we’ve watched nearly every intimate moment of her life, from meeting her ex-husband, basketball player Lamar Odom, to her struggle to get pregnant and their split in 2013. Then there was her pregnancy with True, three, and her subsequent split with basketball player Tristan Thompson. Has she ever struggled with the attention on her private life?

‘I have my days,’ she explains. ‘There are definitely times that I’m like,“I don’t give an ass about anything.” I have this great ability to block everything out. Then I have times where I struggle and I can’t drown out the noise, and I get mad at myself for not being able to. It’s
a vicious cycle. You have to take everyday as it comes. There are definitely times when we’re like,“Just get these cameras out of our faces!”’

Setting Boundaries

Khloé admits that these days, she is more guarded about what she shares about her life with her fans. ‘I used to share anything and everything. I don’t know if it’s age or if I started being more aware and exposed, but you become more guarded – in a healthy way. We definitely like to, now, keep some things for us. It’s growing up. You’re allowed to change what you’re comfortable with. It’s nice to keep a lot of the milestones more private and maybe release a couple of photos. People are still in our lives and know what we’re doing, but it doesn’t have to be the entire birthday party.’

Khloé and her family find themselves the subjects of press attention regularly. It’s something she has become accustomed to, but, understandably, she still finds rumours about herself infuriating. ‘It depends what mood I’m in – if I’m having a hard week, I snap and that’s when I go on Twitter and start commenting. Sometimes, I spiral. We’re all used to there being so much crap out there, but sometimes it can be the smallest thing and I just want to set the record straight – especially when it’s about my family, I get more protective.’

Photo credit: Cosmopolitan UK / Dennis Leupold
Photo credit: Cosmopolitan UK / Dennis Leupold

It’s for this reason she’s often seen as the most outspoken of her sisters. ‘I am, but we’re all outspoken indifferent ways. I’m the one who’s outspoken publicly, whereas the others might have their opinions within their circle. I’m probably just the loudest!’ She adds, ‘I used to comment a lot more but the last couple of months, I’ve been posting and walking away,’ she tells me. ‘It’s so dark and consuming sometimes. When I don’t feel strong enough emotionally, I have to know that and put myself first.’ So much so that she has limited the time she spends online as a result. ‘I don’t even spend an hour a day on social media. I used to spend more for sure, but I’m really good at not being on social media. It scares me.’ It must be especially hard when people comment on her appearance online, and Khloé has often found herself the subject of trolls and criticism over how much or little she chooses to edit her pictures.

Putting Family First

When it comes to True, Khloé is very strict about what she shares on social media. ‘I’ve learned that you can’t just post anything because people will comment and say the craziest things! I’m like, “What are you talking about?” I remember I posted a video of her talking – she was eating cut up grapes and people were going, “Cut the grapes, she’s going to choke.” And I was like, “They’re cut!” I’m not going to let my child choke. People give unsolicited commentary no matter what you do. So I try and keep True stuff as clear and simple as I can for her sake. I don’t want that energy on my child. Leave her alone.’

When she talks about True, Khloé becomes very animated. She clearly loves being a mother. She split with Thompson, True’s father, in 2019 following cheating rumours. They’ve reportedly had an on-and-off relationship since then. Khloé believes becoming a parent has changed her for the better. ‘I definitely have more empathy. And the motivation that having a child gives you... you want them to be proud of you so badly. That’s not just work, but my manners and how I treat people. You just carry yourself in a different way, or I try to. Three is the best age. She was telling me the craziest story this morning and I was like,“Where did you get all these words from?”’

Khloé admits that her own mother has been a real inspiration to her. ‘I don’t know how she does it all. I’ve always loved and respected my mom, but once you become a mom yourself, you get this different understanding of what it takes to raise a human. And for her to be a mom of six and a manager to every one of us... I don’t know if she’s crazy or a genius. I’ve learned so much from her and she’s always there for us.’

Photo credit: Cosmopolitan UK / Dennis Leupold
Photo credit: Cosmopolitan UK / Dennis Leupold

Khloé tries to live by the same mantra with True. ‘If I have a crazy work week with more limited time with True, I clear out my weekend. Some things are non-negotiable for me. I try and take her to every gymnastics class and I schedule things around her schedule – I live and die by a schedule! Every single day, everything is accounted for and that gives me a sense of peace because there are typically no surprises. My mom has always been regimented, so I definitely get that from her. Normally, I get up at 4.30am. I go to the gym before my daughter wakes up and then I have my morning with her and get my day going. If I didn’t have a schedule, I’d feel really lost. I’m a little insane like that, but it makes me feel less stressed when I can see everything.’

Something that Khloé and her sisters have also inherited from Kris Jenner is their love of fashion. Khloé tells me about a designer dress in Kris’s closet that she and Kourtney have had their eyes on. ‘My mom has a great wardrobe and we do go in there a lot. She has great stuff from the eighties. She has this one vintage Alaïa mini dress with graffiti on it. It’s super cool. I feel like it’s in Kourtney’s closet, she might have stolen it! We’re so lucky that my mom has always been a little fashionista.’

With that, it’s time for Khloé to go. Because, of course, this interview is only a small part of the full-on and immaculately timed schedule that comes with being a Kardashian. But it’s clear that she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Cosmopolitan's December 2021 / January 2022 issue is on sale 23rd November and available for purchase here

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