The notion that Justin Bieber and Kourtney Kardashian are an item, or even “hooking up” as Us Weekly put it, hasn’t quite sunken in for even the most avid devourers of Kardashian antics.
According to TMZ, Kourtney is “flatly denying” the reports that she and the Biebs have been secretly pairing up since October.
However, as everyone—not least of which the savvy Kardashian clan—knows, the internet doesn’t really care whether there’s any validity to the rumor.
A racy photo Bieber posted of himself straddling a mystery lady turned out not to be Kardashian, but reports that Bieber has been bragging about banging the eldest Kardashian have been making the rounds over the past 24 hours.
And Kourtney could end up reaping some major benefits of the too-good-to-be-true rumor, so significant that it would also make spending time with Bieber worthwhile.
We’ve seen the “Kardashian PR machine” pull some seemingly bizarre and dramatic punches that only a family so determined and adept at being famous for being famous could pull off.
There was Kim’s literally made-for-television race to the altar with previously-unknown and promptly-forgotten basketball player Kris Humphries.
Just a few months ago, there was Khloe’s decision to pause divorce proceedings, and support Lamar Odom after he was found unconscious in a brothel.
Yet, there is something about the Kourtney-Biebs pairing that, even by Kardashian-standards, seems like a hoax.
In response to the rumored pairing, Dayna Evans at New York posted a list of 21 couples “more belieb-able relationships than Bieber and Kourtney.” The litany included “a starfish and a puma” and “my mom and Justin Bieber.”
The couple seems too deliciously perfect for gossip fodder to be real. It would be the Donald Trump of Hollywood couples: a glitzy, trolly phenomenon that is all about exploiting the fame that comes in leading the race to the bottom of the cultural barrel.
But not exclusive from this assessment is another theory: Kourtney is making the ultimate power play to rise to the Kardashian heap.
Kourtney’s dalliance with the Biebs may be her version of Kim’s sex tape with Ray J, the first brick in her own Kardashian kingdom of gossip domination.
Kourtney has been the (relatively) quiet sister, the George Harrison of the Kardashian Klan.
It’s already well documented that Kim has been busy breaking the internet through a variety of means, not least of which landing one the most famous, bombastic rap stars who, without caveat, described himself as “a god.”
Khloe also knows how to keep the gossipers click-happy, whether publicizing her advice book, Strong Looks Better Naked, or issuing delightfully vulgar tweets in response to accusations she bought baked goods she claimed were homemade (“Petty motherfuckers! I have real shit going on in my life. Try not to choke on my nuts. You're sucking them pretty hard”).
Kendall and Kylie Jenner are the queen bees of Millennials. They can’t Instagram a photo of themselves in lingerie or pajamas without setting tongues wagging.
Certainly, Kourtney’s been present in the Kardashian fame machine, posing for the family Christmas cards, walking the red carpets, providing her two cents on one of their many E! shows.
But she’s mostly been in the background as the responsible, level-headed (again, relatively) Kardashian, either pregnant or doting on her growing brood.
The most PR-magnetic part of Kourtney has long been her deadbeat, now-ex partner, Scott Disick.
In some ways, Disick was the Kardashian-version of Frankenstein: his good looks, hard partying, and relentless obsession with preening in front of cameras could have made him the ultimate Kardashian-manufactured male, picking up where Rob failed to fit Kris’ mold.
But Disick became a monster, running off the Kardashian rails in a dizzying spiral of addiction and clubbing.
Many a Keeping Up with the Kardashians episode featured Kourtney fielding calls from concerned friends of Disick.
Her 80 percent concerned/20 percent bored and fed-up demeanor has been a consistent fixture for the past six years.
It’s no wonder Kourtney dumped his ass this summer. But choosing Bieber as her next distraction is initially perplexing for the seemingly sensible mom.
At first glance, one wonders what exactly does Kourtney see in an immature pretty boy, who is even more obsessed with himself and hard partying than Disick was?
Bieber has racked up an impressively unsavory romantic and sexual record for someone who was born during the Clinton administration.
He once had a Disney-sanctioned courtship with Selena Gomez (Jelena as it were), but that crumbled as Bieber spun into his speeding cars-while-mixing-beer-with-prescription-drugs phase.
Their relationship continued even after that breakdown in an on-again, off-again fashion (ahh, young love).
Bieber also reportedly went out on a date with Orlando Bloom's ex, model Miranda Kerr, which culminated in an implausibly satisfying account of Bloom allegedly slapping the brat in Ibiza, Spain after the pop singer taunted him.
In 2013, Biebs was snapped sneaking out of Brazil's famous Centaurus brothel.
Given both their tabloid-magazine friendly pedigrees, the story of the Kardashian mother of three going out with an obnoxious, pretty boy brat who is 15 years her junior (and has been linked to younger sister, Kendall) has gossip gold written all over it.
Bieber may be the one man who is worse than Disick for Kourtney to date, but he may also be the ultimate catalyst for her to snag the family fame crown.
This may be the first time a story involving Kourtney was trending higher than one involving Kim—though, at least according to Facebook, Kim’s news that a third pregnancy could be dangerous has regained the lead.
Kris Jenner could not have concocted a couple that tabloids would love more if she had tried—and since she is, in fact, dating Bieber’s manager, Corey Gamble, it would not be so shocking if she did.