Kylie Jenner may be only 24, but she has long since established her savvy-beyond-her-years credentials.
Once the baby of the most famous reality-TV family in the world, the Kylie Cosmetics founder has made one life-affirming decision after another, slyly smiling in the face of every skeptic and naysayer who didn't believe the wildly successful entrepreneur and soon-to-be mother of two had it in her.
Of course, her most scrutinized move to date was her decision to have her first child at 20 with Travis Scott, the news that she was pregnant coming as a relative shock despite what we thought was the celebrity world's (not to mention the Kardashian-Jenner family's) waning ability to truly surprise anybody.
No one doubted that Kylie's child would grow up with the support of a tight-knit, loving family that is just living these days for the ever-adorable little ones in their midst. Kris Jenner is a grandmother of 10 and counting, making the proverbial village significantly less proverbial.
But who was this Travis Scott, the man Kylie trusted enough after a handful of months of dating to become her partner in parenthood, a job for life no matter what happens down the road? (A road that continues to have its twist and turns, destination unclear.)
Well, for starters, he's been the kind of devoted, hands-on dad that made Kylie want to have another baby with him. While there's been no official clarification from either of them regarding the state of their relationship since amicably splitting up in 2019, E! News reported Aug. 20 that their second child together is on the way.
And there have been signs that their romance was back on track. Such as Travis back to using the W-word.
"Stormi, I love you and, Wifey, I love you," he declared in June while being honored at the 72nd Parsons Benefit in New York, Kylie and their 3-year-old daughter in town to be with him.
While they are not officially husband and wife, that has been one of Travis' preferred terms of endearment for years.
"I have my wife and baby backstage," the platinum-selling artist told a concert audience in Miami in 2018, warming hearts and causing all sorts of confusion at the same time. A source confirmed to E! News that they were not married, but had simply settled into referring to each other as "wife" or "husband." "It's fun for them and they're a family, so why not?" the insider said.
Why not, indeed.
"We both experienced this for the first time, so I love learning together and just watching him with her," Kylie told sister Kendall Jenner in a chat for Australian Vogue in 2018. "He's so good with her and she's really obsessed with him."
Even when they pressed pause on the romance portion of their relationship two years ago, a source telling E! News that they'd been fighting "over ridiculous things," Kylie never had a cross word to say about her daughter's daddy in public. "Travis and i are on great terms and our main focus right now is Stormi‼️" she tweeted in October 2019. "Our friendship and our daughter is priority."
They also didn't bother to cut ties with the 9,680-square-foot home in the Beverly Hills Post Office neighborhood they bought together for $13.45 million, records showing that Kylie and Travis split the purchase right down the middle—just as a couple of independently wealthy, mutually successful young parents might want to do in this day and age. The house boasts seven bedrooms, including a 2,300-square-foot master suite, and 10 bathrooms.
To be sure, Scott's self-sufficiency was important to Kylie, who sold a 51 percent stake in Kylie Cosmetics to beauty behemoth Coty in 2019 for $600 million.
"It's the power of social media," she acknowledged to Forbes in 2019 when the magazine pronounced her the youngest-ever self-made billionaire. "I had such a strong reach before I was able to start anything." (A year later Forbes tried to dismantle its own pronouncement in an article that, according to Kylie, contained "a number of inaccurate statements and unproven assumptions.")
Before his name-brand recognition compounded exponentially when he was revealed to be Kylie's boyfriend, Travis—whose real name is Jacques Berman Webster—was already known as a visionary rapper.
He had graduated from high school early, dropped out of the University of Texas at 19 and moved to New York, where he slept on friends' floors while working on getting his music into the right people's hands. After just a few months, he decamped to Los Angeles and couch-surfed.
"That's when I started putting s--t out and getting attention," he told Complex in 2012. "I left L.A., came back home to Houston, and my parents is like, 'Man, get the f--k out my house, you're not about to do s--t, you about to be a bum.'" So back to L.A. he went, and he had over a dozen messages from T.I. waiting when he landed.
"This is when people started hearing about my beats," Scott recalled. "Mad publishers were hitting me up. My name started floating around and I made some money selling beats. I was sub-leasing this crib, staying in this one room...I couldn't be here without my friends. I wouldn't like have a place to lay my head some nights but my friends held me down that's how much they believed in me."
Epic Records signed "Travi$ $cott" in 2012 when he was barely 21, after which Kanye West added him to his G.O.O.D Music stable of artists. The next year T.I. signed Travis to his Grand Hustle label and he made XXL's Freshman Class, a list that seemingly every current big name in hip-hop has ascended from. Everyone wanted beats from the promising young talent from the Houston suburbs.
After Jay-Z used his stuff on 2013's Magna Carta Holy Grail, that's when Scott knew.
"That's when I was like maybe I can really do this music thing," he told Tales of LaMarre blogger Carl LaMarre in 2014. "Not that I'm saying it takes a Jay-Z to move me to do music but I was like I could honestly do something like this and be successful."
At the time, Kid Cudi was the artist who helped Travis transcend his surroundings while growing up in Missouri City, Texas, and he also had serious acting ambitions. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in Transformers: Dark of the Moon was his Woman Crush Wednesday—but out of respect for one of his favorite actors and the model's longtime partner, Jason Statham, Travis didn't write a song about her.
But mostly it was all about the studio for Travis, who kept churning out material for himself and others.
His 2015 debut LP Rodeo reached No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and his 2016 follow-up, Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight, debuted at No. 1. For Christmas that year, he bought his family in Texas a new house.
There was nowhere left to go but into a Nicki Minaj-fueled controversy—the real sign that you've made it in the music business—when she didn't take kindly to Travis' Astroworld knocking her brand-new Queen out of the No. 1 spot last August, accusing Kylie of siphoning her sales and streams by mentioning baby Stormi in an Instagram post promoting her man's new release.
"Please understand this is entertainment," Nicki assured her fans, even though a week later she told Ellen DeGeneres that she still wanted to "punch him in his f--king face."
Kylie and Travis never bothered to say a thing about it. Which said it all.
Though he and Kylie first really connected at Coachella in 2017, where he was a headliner, Complex has her in Scott's orbit as early as August 2015, ahead of the release of his debut Rodeo. "Wearing a pair of jorts so tattered that I'm not sure they can legally be defined as clothing," the writer described, Kylie was in a group that saw Travis perform at the Fool's Gold Day Off festival when it touched down in L.A. (She was not among the party that went for dinner at West Hollywood hot spot the Nice Guy after his performance, though.)
Travis had a reported 700,000 Instagram followers when that article was printed. As of Aug. 30, 2021, he had 42.5 million.
Explaining his approach to Complex in 2015, he said, "My music isn't rappity-rap-rap-rap. I base my music off of lifestyle and emotion—that's why my music has a lot of chords, even if it's a hard-ass joint. I consider myself an artist, which is, like, the most played term, but I believe it."
Meanwhile, Kylie certainly agreed. After seeing him perform at Coachella, the smitten star decided she didn't want their so-called first date to end—so she went on tour with him.
"I really jumped on the bus. And then we rode off into the sunset. I did the whole tour with him," she recalled to GQ in 2018.
Leaving town, or at least not trying to get to know each other solely in L.A. or New York, proved to be the catalyst.
"We had a lot of downtime," Kylie said. "It was organic. And we would just go to these random cities. We got to not be who we really were. Like, if we were in L.A., I feel like it would've been way different. Everything happened for a reason. We weren't going out as 'Kylie and Trav.' We would just be in Cleveland, walking the street for hours. We would go on walks, and no one would bother us."
Talking about how easy it was for strangers to get exactly the wrong impression about someone if all they know is what they see on Instagram or if they take lyrics too literally, Travis told Complex in 2015, "My whole story is straight mythical. It's tangible, but it's also what life could be. It's possibility."
Kylie's story, meanwhile, has also reached mythological proportions.
"I feel like I'm going to look back and be like, 'Damn, I wish I could've just been a kid and done normal teenage stuff that my friends get to do,'" she told Interview in 2015, shortly after her 18th birthday. "But it also is a blessing, and I've done so many things that most 35-year-old women still haven't done. You can look at anything glass-half-full or whatever."
The teen shared that she had already learned that material possessions weren't going to be the drivers of her happiness.
"I've realized through the years that I just find happiness in other things, whether it's my dogs or my friends or, like, looking at the sunset," Kylie said. "So if I were to wish for something else, it would just to be happy all the time, to have a superpower of not letting things affect me, and to be true to who I am, always."
Coincidentally, Travis was telling Complex something quite similar around that same time. "Yes, money is important. But it's all about the creative process," the rapper said. "Money is something that keeps you alive and healthy and just keeps you focused. It's the drive. It's the passion. I'm making songs not for the money but to see motherf--kers' reaction."
Not that Kylie doesn't enjoy stuff, or the high that comes from inhaling that new-car smell multiple times a year. And Travis doesn't exactly avoid indulging, either, already way into statement fashion long before meeting Kylie.
Clothing and accessories always seemed to be part of the description in articles about him, whether he was carrying a Goyard bag or wearing a bedazzled Libertine shirt. When GQ really probed him about any career regrets he might have, all he could come up with was, "I wouldn't have worn Snapbacks." (True, certain hats really do represent a snapshot in time. Ashton Kutcher would probably agree.)
For her 21st birthday, he got Kylie a vintage cream-colored Rolls Royce, and then she came home to a house carpeted with red roses, blooms covering the floor and every surface.
Travis repeated the grand floral gesture for Kylie's big 2-2 in August 2019 as well, blanketing the house with red roses five days before her birthday.
Then they jetted to Europe for a family vacation, where he gave her a custom diamond-encrusted chain pendant by Eliantte bearing the Kylie Cosmetics lips logo and trio got busy yachting, jet-skiing, strolling and doing impromptu photo shoots wherever there was a picturesque background. Which, in France and Italy, was almost everywhere.
"Happy Bday Wifey," Travis wrote to her on Instagram. "Everyday I watch u grow more into this amazing superhuman everyday is the best the day with u here may God continue shine on you. Happy fcking Bday love ya !!!"
The following month, however, they decided to spend some time apart, a source telling E! News it wasn't a "firm split," but each needed some space.
Kylie and Travis were never physically away from each other for long, though, reuniting frequently for Stormi, including for her 2nd birthday in February 2020—which they opted to spend at Disney World with members of Kylie's family. Who, true to form, remained open-minded and optimistic about Travis, counting him as a forever-member of the family no matter what.
For his part, Travis told XXL magazine in late 2019 that "being a dad is better than what I thought it would be. Stormi is one of the best human beings I know. She's like my best friend. She makes life a little bit easier. She just inspires me and she surprises me every day with how she's thinking. It's so crazy."
And, he added, "I love her mommy and I always will."
Couple that with Kylie's stated wish to have more kids at some point—" I don't have a timeline to this and I don't know if I'm going to have four kids tomorrow or if I'm going to have four kids in like seven years," she told Kim Kardashian during a combination YouTube makeup tutorial and sisterly chat in January 2020—and it certainly seemed as if Kylie and Travis remained on the same, sometimes ambiguous page.
Perhaps all the uncertainty in the world elevated by the COVID-19 pandemic inspired them to get the show back on the road.
"Kylie and Travis are very happy and acting like a couple again," a source told E! News after she became known as "wifey" again in June. "They hold hands and are affectionate. They aren't shy about showing their love for one another. They support each other and are a constant in each other's lives."
Another source said, "Neither of them has been interested in anyone else over the last year and really love being a family unit together."
No small thing, Travis has also remained fairly stoic in the face of the oft-unwieldy amount of scrutiny directed at Kylie and her family (and, in turn, their respective significant others).
Before joining the Kard-Jenner operation, Travis was perfectly aware of just how quick the negativity on social media can get out of hand, what it was like to have critics picking apart his professional work and having many people interested in his private life.
"When my album dropped I deleted Twitter off my phone just so I could be at peace," he shared with Complex after Rodeo came out. "I saw some s--t where on 'Oh My Dis Side' [somebody said] I got the melody from Future's 'Rich $ex,' which is so weak and lame. That's one of my favorite songs, but my album was made before the Future album came out. Metro [Boomin] stayed at my crib for, like, nine months and made mad beats that made it onto Future's album. I'm like, damn if only they knew."
Nothing, however, could have prepared him for Kylie-level attention until he was in the thick of it.
"I don't think he's really cool with it," Kylie acknowledged to GQ in 2018, "but he deals with it, because we love each other and we have a family.
"For sure, I know he doesn't like the attention. That's why we just go the extra mile to keep our relationship super private, or like, if he has events or something, I won't come. Because I want him to do his own thing. I want him to be him. I don't want it to be Kylie and Trav. If people don't ever see us together, that's okay with me, because we just do our thing."
They did start off on the low-key side, photographs of them few and far between until Stormi was born, after which it was open season at the Grammys, the VMAs, the Met Gala and social media.
But Kylie never pressured him to be a part of her capital-s Scene, her shift in priorities never more apparent than when she went unprecedentedly quiet during her first pregnancy, posting throwbacks or otherwise unrevealing photos on social media and not discussing how her relationship or those nine months in general were going at all.
Travis memorably deflected talk of future fatherhood in an interview with Billboard that was published about a month before Stormi was born. "I don't want to talk about that. They're just guesses," he said of Kylie's pregnancy, which was never officially confirmed by the couple. "Let them keep fishing."
Subsequently, there was no word throughout the whole process on how involved Travis was.
But their silence made what happened when Kylie gave birth to Stormi on Feb. 1, 2018, all the sweeter: A few days after their daughter arrived, Kylie shared a video of her pregnancy journey that featured footage of Travis with her at doctor's appointments, including a shot of them looking at a sonogram together, and otherwise completely along for the exciting ride.
"Going into it I was, like, nervous and scared," Travis shared with Ellen on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in November 2018. "You know, we were just both, like, young. But when you first have a baby in your arms, it's just, like, it's uncontrollable. It's like this whole, like, warp that takes over your whole body. I never thought I could just, like, love something so hard, you know? It's crazy."
As he said back in 2015, "Fame's not important."
Family, however, is everything.
(Originally published Nov. 12, 2018, at 3:30 p.m. PT)