Khloe Kardashian Odom and Lamar Odom

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We can only imagine what Khloe Kardashian is feeling right now.

Just when it seemed that her worst nightmare about what might happen to Lamar Odom was about to come true, he awoke from a coma Friday. Multiple sources told E! News that he was breathing on his own and had opened his eyes, with one insider relaying that Lamar looked at Khloe and said, "Hey baby," before going back to sleep.

But where do they go from here?

Khloe loved—and continues to love—Lamar. She has candidly laid that out there, letting the cameras take it all in when tried to keep their marriage together as he battled substance abuse, and when she lamented after they split up about wishing that they could still be together.

And if anyone wanted to see Khloe and Lamar stay together as much as they did themselves, it was the Kardashian family.

Kendall Jenner, Khloe Kardashian, Kylie Jenner ESPY Awards

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The famous family has enjoyed heady, envy-inducing good fortune, making them a prime target for critics who only see the wealth and don't get it. But anyone who's really paid attention to the Kardashians over the years would also know how fiercely they stick together and what a cohesive unit they really are at the end of the day. There's a reason why you can't say a cross word about one without another's claws coming out.

But the family has also expanded and contracted over the years, embracing significant others and friends for however long (or not long) they stick around, and when one Kardashian or Jenner suffers a loss, they hurt and heal together.

When Khloe met Lamar in 2009 at a party thrown by his then-teammate Ron Artest (whose legal name is Metta World Peace now), he was instantaneously welcomed into the fold. Their wedding after a month-long courtship was of course the subject of much scrutiny, for the obvious reason and, on Lamar's end, due to the family he was marrying into.

He was signing away the media rights to his life, cried the naysayers.

Lamar Odom

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But to Odom, a gifted athlete who was fresh off a championship season with the Lakers and who was perfectly famous on his own, he wasn't doing anything other than falling in love and embracing a family right back.

"You know how things can just line up in life?" Odom mused in an interview with NBA.com in early 2011. "I met Khloe at the perfect time. The stability she and her family bring me is why I'm at peace. I think I have gotten to a new point as a man, as a father, as a basketball player."

"I just want Lamar to worry about basketball and to be as comfortable as he can be," Khloe also told the site. "Before me, he never had that luxury. Whether it's buying face wash to paying our bills, that's not his job, he doesn't have to worry about it ... I want to be there for him always and do everything he needs or wants."

Khloe Kardashian, Lamar Odom, Kardashian Wedding

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After the stomach-churning news broke barely three days ago that Odom was unresponsive after overdosing on an as-yet undetermined combination of drugs at a Nevada brothel, the sports world was seemingly fighting to get the rights to Lamar back—as if the Kardashians plucked him from one world and imprisoned him in theirs.

ESPN's Scott Van Pelt snipped yesterday during SportsCenter that people needed to cool it with connecting him more to Khloe than the court—but just as someone like Kendall Jenner is both a member of her mega-family and a major model, Odom has been a star athlete and a reality star.

On the internet, there's plenty of room for all sides of his story.

Kendall Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Lamar Odom, Khloe Kardashian Odom, Kylie Jenner, Kourtney Kardashian, Sisters at Weddings

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And the story, no matter what, is that Lamar was a great basketball player in his prime, a key member of the Lakers for seven seasons. His mom died when he was 12, his dad was a drug addict and he was raised primarily by his maternal grandmother, who died in 2004. He has two teenage children with ex Liza Morales and they had a third, a son named Jayden who died of sudden infant death syndrome in 2006, a crushing loss. He was drafted by the Clippers in 1999 and suspended in 2001 for violating the NBA's anti-drug policy twice in eight months, admitting tearfully to using marijuana.

And Lamar Odom and Khloe Kardashian were madly in love. He became a member of the Kardashian-Jenner family and they embraced him as one of their own. That's part of his story, however you want to tell it.

Obviously their four-year marriage didn't fall apart overnight in 2013, but it turned out that Khloe wasn't just trying to keep the press out of her private life as rumors started to circulate that they were having problems. Turns out her family didn't know about Lamar's issues at first, either.

Looking back, Odom's downfall was seemingly triggered by a series of events in 2011. A 24-year-old cousin he was close to was shot to death in New York in July and, a day after attending the funeral, Odom was a passenger in a SUV that struck a motorcycle that spun out of control and killed a 15-year-old pedestrian.

"Death always seems to be around me," he told the Los Angeles Times in August 2011. "I've been burying people for a long time. When I had to bury my child, I probably didn't start grieving until a year and a half later.

"I think the effects of seeing [my cousin] die and then watching this kid die, it beat me down. I consider myself a little weak. I thought I was breaking down mentally. I'm doing a lot of reflecting…I may need to see a psychologist."

Khloe Kardashian, Lamar Odom

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He also told the Times that the first thing he did after the accident was call Khloe and he was lucky to have the support of "a very strong wife."

Then, in December 2011, despite winning his Sixth Man honor earlier that year, the Lakers tried to trade him to New Orleans in the famously scuttled Chris Paul deal, and that left him rattled.

Then they did trade him to the Dallas Mavericks. Khloe kept up a cheerful front when they relocated part-time to Dallas in late 2011, but their life together was never the same. Odom butted heads with Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and he played his last game for Dallas that April.

He was traded to the Clippers before the 2012-2013 season and, promisingly, he played in all 82 games and they won their first-ever Pacific Division title; but the team didn't opt to re-sign him after the season despite all sorts of chatter that suggested they were interested in bringing him back.

It would turn out that his NBA career was over and, just as his marital troubles went public, he was arrested for DUI in August 2013. He spent barely a day in rehab and, though reports of him going MIA were exaggerated, that's when we found out just how rough things were for him and Khloe.

And that's when we all realized that we were rooting for them. You couldn't help but be enamored by their love affair that had played out on KUWTK and their own show, Khloe & Lamar. They were a great match, his seemingly mellow ways proving a nice foil for Khloe's more outgoing nature.

"Never judge someone without knowing the whole story. You may think you understand, but you don't," Khloe wrote on Instagram in August 2013.

And it wasn't just a bunch of starry-eyed strangers rooting for them. Khloe's family was hoping for the more romantic of two possible outcomes as well.

Sister Kim Kardashian was "shocked" to find out at the time that Odom had substance abuse issues. A family source told E! News that Kim was hoping it would work out as she knew "how much they love each other. Everyone in the family feels divorce should be the last option."

But at the end of the day, Kim—and the entire family—only wanted "what's best for Khloe."

Khloe Kardashian, Lamar Odom, Kim Kardashian

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

By mid-September, it became apparent that Khloe and her family had been futilely trying to help Lamar for some time. "No more interventions, no more trying to save him," a source told us. A week before that, we'd been told, "Khloe gave Lamar an ultimatum: If he didn't get help, she'd end the marriage So far, he's ignoring her."

"Her family is being as supportive as possible," the insider added. "They don't want to argue with her or make her even more upset. They know she's already heartbroken. They don't want to make things harder on her.

"At the end of the day, whatever she decides to do, they'll go along with it."

Which is pretty much what any of us would hope to expect from our families in such a situation.

Lamar was seemingly trying to get back in the game, working out at the University of Rhode Island, his alma mater, before the holidays. They spent Thanksgiving apart and then Khloe filed for divorce in December 2013.

"He's deeply saddened by Khloe filing for divorce," a source told E! News. "He knew it was coming and it was only a matter of time. He felt like he gave his all to try and save the marriage, but ultimately he wasn't able to."

That wasn't the end, though. While Khloe tried outwardly to move on with her life and started dating again, she remained in touch with Lamar—even as her family's support started to wane because they were concerned that she wouldn't be able to healthily move on otherwise.

In a moment caught on camera for KUWTK, Kim scolds Khloe for talking too sweetly to her ex on the phone. Tough love from a sister, that's about as normal as it gets.

There were bits of heightened drama over the past year and a half, with Odom—who played briefly for a Spanish team abroad in early 2014 and then signed with the Knicks but didn't play—being turned away from a party Khloe was at and then, this past August, confronting her outside her health club. She finally decided to cut off contact this summer, a source tells us.

"He knows he was to blame and he can't escape that," another source told E! News this week, acknowledging that Lamar "didn't just lose Khloe" when their marriage fell apart. "He lost her family as well."

But just a few hours after Odom was hospitalized, Khloe was there, with Kim and mom Kris Jenner in tow. Kylie Jenner and Kourtney Kardashian also made the trip to Vegas. Khloe paid for Lamar's dad, Joe, and his children to fly out there.

And Khloe remains there now. She and Lamar aren't legally divorced yet and we've been told that she's still in charge of making the major decisions regarding his medical care if he's unable to.

"I will never ever not love Lamar," she told E! News in April. "I was so obsessed with him in a healthy way. He was my husband, and I still wish he was, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that."

Whatever Lamar's story turns out to be, his and Khloe's are forever linked.

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