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Kim Kardashian West Files for Divorce From Kanye West

Kim Kardashian West has filed for divorce, seeking to end a nearly seven-year marriage to Kanye West that had become an endless source of celebrity news, family turmoil and brand sponsorships, a spokeswoman for Ms. Kardashian West said on Friday.

The spokeswoman, Christy Welder, would not elaborate on the filing, which would dissolve a union that came to be known as Kimye. Ms. Kardashian West, 40, and Mr. West, 43, have four children: North, Saint, Chicago and Psalm.

Their tumultuous marriage was tracked incessantly by the media; became fodder for occasional episodes of her long-running reality show, “Keeping Up With the Kardashians”; and was documented for millions on their Instagram and Twitter accounts.

Ms. Kardashian West was often said to be famous for being famous, but she spun her reality-show prominence into a number of businesses and products, including Skims shapewear, underwear and loungewear; KKW Fragrance; KKW Beauty; and “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood,” a game for mobile devices.

She also became active in the movement for criminal justice reform. In 2018, President Donald J. Trump commuted the sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, a 63-year-old woman who had been serving a life sentence for a nonviolent drug conviction, after Ms. Kardashian West visited Mr. Trump at the White House and helped bring her case to his attention.

Mr. West is widely regarded as one of the godfathers of contemporary hip-hop, with a profound influence on younger stars like Drake. He has also fully embraced the model of the pop artist as commercial branding exponent, working with Adidas and Gap on consumer products like his Yeezy sneakers.

But his career as a solo performing artist has been on shaky ground for at least five years.

In early 2016, he announced an album, “The Life of Pablo,” with a chaotic rollout that would set the stage for most of his projects since. It received wall-to-wall media coverage, but he seemed unable to walk away from the album as a finished product. Even after it was released to streaming services, Mr. West kept tweaking it, adding and changing tracks — the version fans heard one day might be slightly different from the one they heard the next.

In late 2016, Mr. West abruptly canceled his “Pablo” tour after several truncated performances. He had also announced his support for Mr. Trump’s candidacy and had been hospitalized for a “psychiatric emergency.”

Future album release campaigns were just as unpredictable, with long delays or releases that seemed to come together in just a few days. Then, promoting his 2018 album, “Ye,” Mr. West gave an interview seeming to suggest that slavery was “a choice.” (He later apologized.) By then, Mr. West had set up a new working compound in Wyoming.

Last year, Mr. West mounted a long-shot bid for president as a Christian revivalist, a move that perplexed and concerned some close to him. Mr. West had spoken in the past about his bipolar disorder.

Ms. Kardashian West had opened up about it for the first time days after Mr. West made a campaign appearance in South Carolina, during which he broke down crying. Writing on Instagram, she called him a “brilliant but complicated person” who has to deal with “pressure and isolation that is heightened by his bipolar disorder.”

ImageKim Kardashian West in Jan. 2020.
Credit…Jake Michaels for The New York Times

Before their courtship became public in 2012, Ms. Kardashian West and Mr. West had known each other for roughly a decade. They were first introduced in about 2002 or 2003 by a mutual friend, the singer Brandy. The pair dated for two years before marrying in an opulent $2.8 million ceremony at Fort di Belvedere in Florence, Italy, on May 24, 2014.

The marriage was the third for Ms. Kardashian West. She was divorced from the music producer Damon Thomas in 2003 and from the NBA player Kris Humphries in 2013. The marriage also came after Mr. West had ended high-profile relationships with the designer Alexis Phifer and the model Amber Rose.

In recent years, Mr. West has made an explicit turn to religious themes in his music.

Still, Mr. West’s albums continued to perform well on the Billboard charts. Since his second album, “Late Registration” in 2005, every one of Mr. West’s eight solo studio albums, including the gospel-infused “Jesus Is King” in 2019, has opened at No. 1.

But his long-promised new album, “Donda,” which he originally said would be released in July, has not materialized.

During the marriage, Mr. West’s star as a fashion designer rose: His first Yeezy shoe collaboration with Adidas (after parting ways with Nike following a five-year partnership) debuted in 2015 with all 9,000 pairs of the initial run selling in 10 minutes. Over the years, Ms. Kardashian West has given Mr. West credit for influencing and refining her personal style.

Mr. West, in turn, initially saw their match as a perfect fit.

“I knew that I wanted this family, and with her,” Mr. West said in 2013, when he and Ms. Kardashian West were interviewed by Angie Martinez on Hot 97. “Our love story is like a love story for the ages. I felt like when we first got together it was like a Romeo and Juliet kind of thing, where it’s like she’s a reality star and I’m a rapper.”

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