When news broke on Oct. 31, 2011, that TV über-personality Kim Kardashian, 31, had filed for divorce from her basketball-star husband, Kris Humphries, 27, after just 72 days of marriage—citing “irreconcilable differences”—the media appeared to side with Humphries, painting him as a dim-witted pawn exploited by Kardashian, Inc.
After all, reality TV’s royal family had banked a reported $18 million from Kardashian’s grandiose nuptials. Prior to the wedding, the pair had bickered during their prenuptial agreement negotiations about how proceeds would be split from the wedding, TMZ reported. The ceremony eventually aired as a two-part televised special, Kim’s Fairytale Wedding: A Kardashian Event, just three weeks before the split. More than 4 million viewers tuned in.
“It was a pairing born in an agent’s office… nothing more than a profitable scam,” wrote The New York Post. The paper further alleged that the powers behind her E! reality show, Kourtney and Kim Take New York had, in true Tom Cruise fashion, “sought to cast an athlete boyfriend for Kim.” After her reps allegedly “tried for a Knick,” they “settled for New Jersey Net Humphries.”
Two months later, Humphries filed his response to Kardashian’s divorce petition requesting on annulment on the ground of “fraud,” reported People, with sources close to Humphries allegedly telling TMZ he felt he was used as a reality-show “pawn” who was “slotted in the plot line of Kim Kardashian’s latest headline and newest business venture.”
Snoop Dogg even sided with Humphries, releasing a bizarre 59-second viral video with the rapper stating, “[Kim’s] cold-blooded. I’m pretty sure she’ll have a book in a month talking about all the niggas that she got and how she played them. So, my advice is, look, you can’t make a hoe a housewife. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel.”
The tide, however, has seemed to turn against Humphries.
In recent months, the New Jersey Nets star has been dropped by his publicist of six months, Vivian Gomez, with a source close to the situation telling The Daily Beast “the relationship soured over business decisions being made.” His previous publicity firm, Anderson Public Relations Group, dropped Humphries after just 73 days, reported the New York Post.
Kim Kardashian and her mother/manager, Kris Jenner, refused comment for this story through their representatives.
Meanwhile, Humphries alleged rebound flame, ex-girlfriend Myla Sinanaj—who bears a striking resemblance to Kardashian—initially informed her representatives that she was pregnant with his child and that she and Humphries “had unprotected sex all the time,” alleged TMZ. The report seemed to cast doubt on Humphries’s “fraud” claim in his divorce proceedings from Kardashian, since Humphries had alleged he was “devastated” by the divorce filing, reportedly demanding $7 million from Kardashian, according to TMZ. Kardashian’s lawyers had even subpoenaed Sinanaj. However, Sinanaj later admitted she wasn’t pregnant, and was subsequently dropped by her lawyer, Joe Tacopina, according to the New York Post. During the media fracas, Humphries would even accuse Sinanaj of running a brothel out of her New York City hotel room, according to TMZ. Authorities eventually deemed the charged without merit, TMZ reported.
A source close to Humphries told The Daily Beast that Humphries “may have misrepresented the extent of his and Myla’s relationship to the press and even some of his closest friends.”
And the coup de grace: according to TMZ: Sinanaj claimed to have texts from Humphries saying he believed Kris Jenner not only directed her daughter in her infamous sex tape with then-beau Ray J, but also demanded re-shoots when she wasn’t happy with the initial product. A source close to Humphries has confirmed to The Daily Beast that they believe it was a “huge possibility” that Jenner orchestrated the release of the Kim-Ray J sex tape. Kris Jenner and the Kardashian clan refused comment through their representatives.
Humphries never seemed destined for tabloid infamy.
Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, he initially gained notoriety in competitive swimming, where, as a 10-year-old, he was the top-ranked swimmer in the nation in six events—and second only to a young Michael Phelps in the others. At the age of 12, he turned his back on swimming to pursue a basketball career. During his senior year, he led Hopkins High School to its first Minnesota state basketball championship in 49 years, and was later named Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball.
In an excerpt from the book Beyond the Phog: Untold Stories from Kansas Basketball's Most Dominant Decade, former Kansas guard Keith Langford told author Jason King that he and his teammates were “disgusted” by Humphries’s arrogance during a recruiting visit:
“Kris Humphries came on a visit and tried to commit,” said Langford. “He really wanted to come here. But no one on the team liked Kris Humphries. He was arrogant. He told everyone he was going to come in and be the leading scorer as a freshman and that we'd all have to take a backseat to him. We were trying to be respectful and not say anything. But he was an absolute jerk.”
Humphries eventually attended the University of Minnesota, where he was 2004 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, averaging a stellar 21.7 points and 10.1 rebounds a game.
In 2004, the Utah Jazz selected Humphries with the 14th overall pick in the NBA draft. He’d struggle to find a role in the NBA, bouncing around from the Jazz, to the Raptors, and then the Mavericks. On Jan. 11, 2010, Humphries was traded to the New Jersey Nets, where his career finally took off.
He began dating Kim Kardashian in October 2010 and, during the 2010-2011 NBA season, achieved career highs, averaging 10 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.
During the couple’s courtship, Kim Kardashian found herself gracing a June 2011 cover of In Touch Weekly magazine, with NFL player Bret Lockett alleging Kardashian had been carrying on a five-month affair with him during her engagement to Humphries. Kardashian denied the allegations and threatened to sue the publication. Lockett later admitted to CNN that he never actually met the reality star in person, but claimed to have carried on a five-month relationship with Kardashian consisting of "phone conversations and exchanging sexy text messages."
On Aug. 20, 2011, Humphries and Kardashian were married in a lavish ceremony in Montecito, California. But Humphries’s professional future was up in the air. The 2011 NBA lockout had been in effect since July 1, and Humphries was an unsigned free agent. All the drama was captured for the cameras during the second season of the E! reality show, Kourtney and Kim Take New York.
Humphries was depicted on the show as a caveman-ish buffoon with little to no patience for Kim’s lifestyle. The couple fought frequently. The most notorious incident concerned Kardashian’s best friend, publicist Jonathan Cheban. During the season’s fifth episode, entitled “Questionable Actions” (air date: Jan. 1, 2012), it appeared as if Humphries attempted to out Cheban.
While the trio was out shopping for potpourri in New York City, Humphries asked Cheban, “So bro, all the candles, this and that. I’ve never really asked you, but shoot me straight. I’m a friend. I’m not judging either way. Are you gay?” Cheban was aghast, exclaiming, “You can’t be that naïve. Dude! I think it’s really fucked up that you would ask me something like that.” Cheban would later contemplate legal action against Humphries for the incident, reported RadarOnline.com.
Kim and Kris’s relationship would continue to deteriorate in front of the cameras, with Kardashian eventually reaching her breaking point during the second-season finale, which aired on Jan. 29, 2012. Earlier that month, a story surfaced alleging that Kardashian and her mother may have been caught staging a scene about her marriage woes, reported ABC News.
Kardashian’s “momager,” Kris Jenner, has denied that the Kardashian-Humphries “fairy tale wedding” was a “scam” on the Today show, while Kim took to her own defense in a lengthy missive to her fans posted on her blog just a day after filing for divorce:
“I am trying not to read all the different media reports but it’s hard not to see all the negative ones. First and foremost, I married for love. I can’t believe I even have to defend this. I would not have spent so much time on something just for a TV show!” She concluded her message by writing, “I’m sorry if I have hurt anyone, but my dad always told me to follow my heart and I believe now that I really am.”
Kardashian allegedly is dating the platinum-selling rapper, Kanye West, who in April 2012, released a track entitled “Theraflu”—later changed to “Way Too Cold”—with lyrics that seem to target Humphries:
“And I’ll admit, I fell in love with Kim / ’Round the same time she had fell in love wit’ him / Well, that’s cool, baby girl, do ya thing / Lucky I ain’t have Jay drop ’im from the team.” (Jay-Z is part-owner of Humphries’s current team, the Brooklyn Nets.)
Meanwhile, the Nets eventually signed Humphries to a one-year contract worth a reported $8 million in December 2012, just in time for the strike-shortened basketball season to begin. Despite the personal drama, the 2011-2012 season proved to be Humphries’s best yet, with the star averaging a career-high 13.8 points and 11 rebounds per game.