Kim Kardashian Denies She Got COVID-19 During Reckless Vacation and Partying. Is That the Whole Truth?
The ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’ star won’t say exactly when she tested positive for COVID-19—but it was soon after a Tahiti trip and Kendall Jenner’s packed birthday party.
When Kim Kardashian treated dozens of her closest friends and family to an all-expenses paid luxury trip to a private island to celebrate her 40th birthday during a worldwide pandemic, it didn’t go over exactly well.
The mother of four of course expected the backlash, so she attempted to ward off immediate criticism with an explanation posted to a collage of photos from the five-star getaway, surrounded by her bronzed sisters and glowing friends.
“There is not a single day that I take for granted, especially during these times when we are all reminded of the things that truly matter,” she wrote. “For my birthday this year, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend it than with some of the people who have helped shape me into the woman I am today. Before COVID, I don’t think any of us truly appreciated what a simple luxury it was to travel and be together with family and friends in a safe environment.”
“After two weeks of multiple health screens and asking everyone to quarantine, I surprised my closest inner circle with a trip to a private island where we could pretend things were normal for just a brief moment in time. I realize that for most people this is something that is so far out of reach right now, so in moments like these, I am humbly reminded of how privileged my life is.”
As is normal with the scandals that pop up with the Kardashians, the ridicule came quickly and died down just as soon. That is, until Thursday night's episode of Keeping up With the Kardashians, where Kim revealed that she and her children had become sick with COVID-19 and were forced to quarantine.
Buzzfeed News did some sleuthing to figure out the timeline of when the family contracted the virus, comparing the dates of the vacation to Kim’s social media activity. The outlet determined that Kim got sick roughly 10 days after returning from the trip in late October.
During the episode, Kim mentions that her five-year-old son Saint was the first to display symptoms, later saying he caught the virus from someone at his school. It became a domino effect, with Kim and her seven-year-old daughter North West also testing positive, so the family and the filming crew went into quarantine for two weeks. She tweeted on Thursday that her daughter Chicago, three, and her youngest child Psalm, two, also became sick.
Normally, it would be no problem to stop filming, apart maybe from a few self-recorded shots of Kim detailing her symptoms—much like how Khloe revealed her COVID-19 diagnosis earlier in the season. However, Kim was in the process of intensively studying to retake the “baby bar” exam (the test she must take after her first of four years of law school), which she previously failed, so the show must go on.
She filmed herself toughing out her symptoms, which included an intense migraine, a 104-degree fever, and almost blacking out while taking the test.
Shortly after Buzzfeed News pointed out the eyebrow-raising timeline of exactly when Kim caught COVID-19, she worked quickly to stamp out the report. “False,” she tweeted. “Nobody caught Covid from the trip. Saint was the first to have it in our family and he caught it from school from another student who tested positive first. I then developed symptoms and got it a few days after he coughed on me while caring for him.”
However, reps for Kim declined to disclose to Buzzfeed News the date that she tested positive. When reached by The Daily Beast, her reps declined to comment.
Of course, it’s always a personal decision to decide if someone wants to publicly announce if they have COVID-19. Obviously, if Kim had revealed that she and her family became sick right after returning from her vacation, all hell would have broken loose, the immediate assumption that she must have been exposed while on the lavish trip.
But being vague opens the door for questions. Were any of her other family members possibly exposed to the virus during this time and did they quarantine? Based on the timeline, Buzzfeed News suggested that Kim might have tested positive on Nov. 7—just a few days after Kendall Jenner threw a packed, maskless birthday bash, which Kim seems to have attended, posting photos of sister Kylie and Scott Disick.
Kendall tried to keep the party under wraps, instructing her 50-plus guests not to post photos on social media. But when booze is flowing, celebrities are dressed up in Halloween costumes, and the overall attitude that rules do not apply to the upper echelon, pictures of the event were bound to leak.
She got further dragged over a video of herself blowing out the candles on her birthday cake while a masked waiter struggled to hold up the cake and, at the same time, keep his face away from her.
Family matriarch Kris Jenner attempted to do damage control after the widespread backlash, saying they took every precaution they could, including rapid testing at the door of the party.
“At Kendall's, everyone got tested before they walked in the door and they had to wait a half an hour until ... the results were in,” Kris Jenner told Andy Cohen. “So, we are really responsible, and we make sure that everyone in our family and our closest friends are tested religiously.”
“We do what we can. We try to follow the rules. And then, if people are commenting and they're being critical, I can't control that,” she added. “I just can control how we behave, and I try to do the best we can.”
The family’s response to the brewing COVID-19 scandal is typical of the smoke-and-mirror tactics the Kardashians have always embraced, working to spin a story into a narrative that works for them.
Earlier this year, Khloe Kardashian had her team go on a blitz mission to remove what appeared to be an unedited and unfiltered photo of herself in a bikini that her grandmother had posted on Instagram. It looked noticeably different than the smoothed, glamorous shots Khloe normally posts.
Small-time fan accounts receive intimidating messages that implied they could possibly get sued for copyright infringement if they didn’t immediately take down the photo. When reports got out of what Khloe’s team was doing, they tried to spin it.
“The color edited photo was taken of Khloé during a private family gathering and posted to social media without permission by mistake by an assistant,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “Khloé looks beautiful, but it is within the right of the copyright owner to not want an image not intended to be published taken down.”
Later, an obviously defensive Khloe went on a bizarre Instagram Live to show off her stomach and body, in an attempt to prove that she really does look like her photos.
In an extraordinary move last May, Forbes publicly walked back Kylie Jenner’s billionaire status, describing it as a “web of lies” that her team had told that “inflated the size and success” of her cosmetic company.
The family has long omitted the full truth, from denying having had plastic surgery or cosmetic enhancements, Kim and Kanye West’s feud with Taylor Swift over the derogatory remark the rapper made about her in his song “Famous,” and a handful of other mini scandals.
Fans have long loved the Kardashian family for welcoming them into their lives in a way that felt truly real. We've seen them live through heartbreak, bouts of family drama, and the silly moments in between. But more and more, the veil of authenticity has slipped and people might just not be interested in keeping up with them anymore.