Getty Images; Melissa Hebeler / E! Illustration
Getty Images; Melissa Hebeler / E! Illustration
You'd be hard-pressed to find a celebrity couple that's more in sync, more attuned to each other's needs and priorities, or more supportive of each other's endeavors. And as life has forced them to navigate some downs along with the ups, they've proved to be a resilient force to be reckoned with, the foundation they built together not easily shaken.
But none of this is news to those of us who've been of the opinion going way back that Kim and Kanye were perfect for each other. We had to wait along with everyone else involved (not least of all Kanye) for the timing to be right, but here's how we knew:
Kanye first laid eyes on Kim at a studio in 2004, when she was consulting as a stylist for Brandy and dating the singer's brother, Ray J.
"I loved her from the first day I saw her, which I said on 'Bound,' I don't remember when that was," West later recalled to Hot 97's Angie Martinez in 2013, a few weeks after renting out San Francisco's AT&T Park to pop the question.
They would cross paths here and there over the years, usually while in relationships with other people, but they still developed a friendship.
Seven years later he told one of his concert audiences that he informed Kim in 2007 that he planned on marrying her one day, and he wasn't shy about admiring her from afar, paparazzi and magazine pictures keeping the torch burning for him when they were apart.
"There's times when I wasn't with her, I wanted to be with her so bad I thought about taking up sports," Kanye would later say on Kris Jenner's talk show in 2013.
He and his future beloved actually first collaborated in 2008, when Kanye enlisted Kim to play Princess Leia in a pilot for a variety/sketch comedy show he was working on called Alligator Boots.
That obviously didn't go anywhere, but thank goodness people were still snapping away pre-Instagram era. Kim would joke about wishing she'd known then what she would come to know later, but Kanye was all about her from day one—and their chemistry was always off the charts.
They reunited (in the same frame, at least) when they both attended the Y-3 show during New York Fashion Week in February 2009.
Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for Y-3
Kim may have been hanging onto Reggie Bush's arm and politely listening to Milla Jovovich, but her eyes were on Kanye. Meanwhile, Kanye was doing that whole "OK, stay cool, man. Keep staring straight head, don't look to the left..." thing.
In 2010, Kanye made a few headlines when he visited the Kardashian sisters' Dash boutique in Manhattan before it opened to lend some moral support.
Jose Perez/Splash News
He and Kim were blatantly at ease with each other, and while wearing sunglasses indoors and sporting a V-neck as deep as the ocean isn't every woman's cup of tea, Kim was caught appraising Kanye's style most appreciatively.
In fact, in almost every photo of the two of them pre-romance, one of them is sneaking a glance at the other.
The rapper also made the cut for Kim's 30th birthday party in October 2010, an intimate soiree aboard a yacht docked at Chelsea Piers.
That December, the pair were spotted at a studio in Culver City, Calif., where it turned out Kanye was assisting with Kim's musical debut, the song "Jam (Turn It Up)," which actually had a pretty impressive pedigree, having been penned by The-Dream and Tricky Stewart. Meanwhile, the duo that would later be known as Kimye were the target of not just dating but also pregnancy rumors, with Kim laughing off speculation that she was carrying Kanye's baby.
"My reaction is, 'God, I've got to stay away from those hot dogs and nuts on the street corner and the ice cream!'" Kim told MTV News. "Like those trucks, I've never seen that before—trucks of ice cream. You have to stop and eat! I couldn't control myself, so [in] New York [I] put on like 10 pounds and then I'm pregnant with Kanye's baby, so whatever! What can you do?! Hit the gym!"
"Jam" wasn't an instant classic, but Kanye would make a couple of memorable cameos on Kourtney and Kim Take New York in 2011, stopping by to wish the sisters luck with Dash and getting a warm hug and kiss for his efforts.
As fate would have it, however, two months after he last appeared on the show, in March 2011, Kim would get engaged to basketball player Kris Humphries.
So that was a hitch in our grand plans for Kim and Kanye.
Lovelorn at the time, Kanye would later reveal that he bought his first cell phone after Kim got engaged, so that he could plant and sow the seeds of doubt via text.
"Started sending her pictures of, like, certain basketball players that used to be cool that now they wear their pants all the way up to here. Like, 'This is your future,'" he said on Kocktails With Khloe last year.
He also would rap on "Way Too Cold" in June 2012: And I'll admit, I had fell in love with Kim / Around the same time she had fell in love with him / Well that's cool, baby girl, do ya thang / Lucky I ain't had Jay drop him from the team (a reference to Humphries playing for the Brooklyn Nets, partially owned by Jay Z at the time).
Jokes aside, keeping the line of communication open proved beneficial to both, because it wasn't long into her marriage before Kim suspected she had made a mistake. She filed for divorce from Humphries on Oct. 31, 2011, 72 days after their wedding.
Kanye was there to help her pick up the pieces afterward, at first as a friend, but soon as more.
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
Kim sat in the front row of his signature ready-to-wear show during Paris Fashion Week in March 2012, and it was apparent things were heating up when Kim showed up to pick up Kourtney Kardashian later that spring while behind the wheel of Kanye's Mercedes—a moment that unfolded on a July 2012 episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians.
"This is my friend's car that I'm borrowing," Kim said coyly.
"So Kanye and I, you know, we have, I think, a lot of things in common," Kim explained to the camera. "We both just love cars, so...what's the big deal, I'm just borrowing my friend's car?"
"You're just friends, and you're borrowing his car?" Kourtney asked slyly. "Why can't I borrow his car?" Kim fired back. "OK, so are you more than friends?" inquired an undeterred Kourtney. "Relax," Kim smiled. "It's not that serious."
Kourtney asked if Kanye would also be in town when they returned to New York and Kim, feigning nonchalance, said calmly," Yeah, he's gonna be there when we're all there. So that'll be so much fun, just to hang out...to have some fun, you know?"
"I think that Kim is trying to keep things slow,"Kris Jenner observed later on. "But the heart wants what the heart wants—and Kim knows what she wants."
"I don't know if I do titles," Kim protested when Khloe Kardashianasked if Kanye was her boyfriend.
But mom was right, because they were totally in love already!
By the time the episode aired that July, also featuring Kanye making his debut on KUWTK at Scott Disick's restaurant opening that April (and the beaming look he gave Kim when he got to her hotel to pick her up and she was fussing over the final details of her outfit—swoon!), Kim had already gushed about him to Oprah Winfrey.
She told the interview queen in June 2012, "It's very comforting to have someone that knows everything about you, that respects you, understands, has gone through the similar things." She added: "I can really relate to his mother passing... He can really relate to my father passing. I mean, there's so many similarities in our life that... I feel like I'm at a really happy, good space."
"I don't know why it took so long for us to kind of get together. I think I needed to go through all my experiences and some that he's gone through."
Really, these two left the friend zone behind them and never looked back.
They've been as inseparable as two celebrities with jam-packed schedules can be ever since.
He's "the love of my life," Kim told E! News in January 2013. In the February 2013 issue of Cosmopolitan she said, "I have this best friend who understands me and helps me through all my tough experiences, and vice versa, you know? It just feels like this is it for me." She added, "I used to think, well, can you really have it all? The truth, the excitement, and the passion? Now I know you can."
And so on.
That May, a snippet of "Awesome," another ode to Kim, made the rounds after he serenaded her at the 2013 Met Gala, just weeks before their daughter North West was born. That October, Kanye proposed and the rest is history. They tied the knot in May 2014 in Italy and son Saint Westwas born Dec. 5, 2015.
"Our love story's a love story for the ages. I felt like when we first got together, it was like a Romeo and Juliet kinda thing where it's like she's a reality star and I'm a rapper," Kanye observed to Hot 97 in 2013. A year later, with a little more perspective under his belt, the groom to be told Vogue, "It's really just about dopeness at the end of the day."
And if you want to sum up everything that's right about Kim and Kanye's relationship in one word, "dopeness" is as good a word as any.
Keeping Up With the Kardashians returns 13 March 2017, only on E!