The Kardashians might seem to have it all: a reality TV show, three to five mansions in Calabasas, numerous businesses, a growing generation of grandchildren, and a host of philanthropic endeavors, from paying off Tyga’s debts to paying off Kanye’s debts. Even after achieving the American dream of having an organic chicken in every pot and five matte black Mercedes-Benz G-Wagons in every garage, the Kardashians are the first to admit that their lives aren’t perfect. For every Vogue cover shoot and casual trip to Cuba, there’s a mid-season ratings grab where the Kardashian sisters have to eat their own placentas. For every Keeping Up with the Kardashians, there’s a Rob & Chyna. And for every personal and professional milestone, there’s an undercurrent of depression, paranoia, and anxiety.
For Kendall Jenner, noted trypophobic, this anxiety reached a head earlier this year. On the night of August 14th, the 20-year-old model was driving through the gate of her Hollywood Hills home when she spotted a trespasser. Unfortunately, it was not Harry Styles holding up a boombox playing “In Your Eyes.” According to the police report, alleged stalker Shavaughn McKenzie had been waiting on the property to give Jenner an unwelcome homecoming. He followed Jenner’s car and proceeded to bang on her window, screaming, “Can I talk to you?” Jenner later recalled, “I was crying, I was screaming, I was freaking out. I didn’t know what his intentions were. I was freaking out.”
“I was frightened for sure,” the model added, noting that she’d seen him two other times before. McKenzie reportedly tried to reassure her by insisting, “Hey look, I don’t have a gun.” A strangely un-reassured Jenner was able to cut this stop and chat short by pulling out of the driveway and phoning a friend for help.
As a result of his Hollywood Hills home invasion, McKenzie was swiftly charged with one count of misdemeanor stalking and one count of misdemeanor trespassing. Since McKenzie apparently has a habit of trespassing at UCLA, he already has two probation violations to contend with—meaning that his 15 minutes of fame adjacency could land him some serious jail time.
This week, Jenner’s August incident played out in criminal court. On Thursday, lawyer Shawn Holley successfully helped her celeb client obtain a permanent restraining order against McKenzie. This extension of Jenner’s original, temporary restraining order will last for the next five years, and ensure that McKenzie stays a football field away from the supermodel at all times.
Jenner herself took the stand against her alleged stalker, telling the judge, “I’ve never been so scared in my life.” She added she was traumatized after the incident and had to stay at a neighbor’s house for fear of returning to her own estate. “This is not how I want to be living,” she said, adding that she now has 24-hour camera security around her property. “I really don't feel safe in my own house,” she said, adding, “I'm already the kind of person who's on edge.”
Unfortunately, no number of bodyguards can protect against a celebrity’s own anxious tendencies. (Jenner’s incident obviously calls to mind another security breach—Kim Kardashian’s recent robbery at gun point.) On a recent episode of Rob & Chyna, a fun, zany reality TV spinoff about the struggles of dating with depression, Jenner’s anxiety took center stage. In the scene, her brother Rob Kardashian and ex-brother-in-law Scott Disick are visiting momager Kris Jenner, because they are bored and unemployed. Unfortunately, Kris is busy with a client who actually gets paid—Kendall Jenner, who is in the midst of a panic attack. Rob and Scott recommend that Kendall ask a stranger for a Xanax, before listing off their own issues—including drug addictions, severe depression, and baby mama drama—in a surprisingly successful attempt to cheer Kendall up. From Kris’s blasé attitude to the boys’ immediate push for pharmaceuticals, it’s clear that this isn’t Kendall’s first time at the anxiety rodeo.
As difficult as it may be to summon sympathy for the unfathomably rich and incomparably beautiful, the level of fame that the Kardashians have achieved clearly takes a mental toll. Kendall’s younger sister Kylie has been open about the psychological effects of living out your teenagedom under a TMZ-style, long lens microscope. In a recent Complex interview, Jenner described her panic attack-ridden past: “I never went out. If I tried to go to the movies or something, I would stop breathing in the middle and just cry. I’m surprised there aren’t videos of me out there. I felt super trapped, like everybody was watching me.”
And during an episode of KUWTK last season, Kylie confessed that she’s been “having really bad anxiety lately.” “I just feel like I've been dealing with anxiety for so long,” she confided in her sisters. “Some people are born for this life and some people aren't. I just know I'm not supposed to be famous.” At the time, older sister Kim seemed visibly shocked by the notion of actively desiring anonymity.
Ironically, mere months after that episode aired, many blamed Kim’s violent robbery on her own overexposure. These days, the Kardashians’ first daughter is clearly struggling with her hard-won fame, donning uncharacteristically drab clothing and abstaining from social media. In keeping with her conspicuous inconspicuousness, Kim is apparently in “shock mode” after the theft. “Kim is very paranoid still when she is alone. She has been having flashbacks and hasn’t been sleeping well,” a source told E! News. “Her security is always around her now.” Kardashian is currently undergoing professional counseling, and focusing on “healing” at home.
While Keeping Up with the Kardashians has famously taken on some heavy hitting issues, from drug addiction to trans identity to mourning and everything in between, the reality TV show has been indefinitely put on hold following Kim’s attack. Once (if?) it’s back on air, it’s hard to say how directly KUWTK will engage with the increasingly disturbing facets of the Kardashians’ fame. Then again, in an age where comedies are consistently the darkest series on our televisions, it was only a matter of time until we started seeing anxiety, paranoia, and trauma on E!.