How 'Keeping Up With the Kardashians' Foreshadowed Rob's Health Struggles
By Meredith B. Kile
Rob Kardashian was diagnosed with diabetes over the weekend, according to a report by TMZ, but fans of the famous reality family know that this isn’t the first time the 28-year-old reality star has faced health troubles.
Rob’s struggle with his weight was well documented on the family’s reality show Keeping Up With the Kardashians, as he and his family dealt with anxiety over his declining health and reclusiveness over his weight gain. Here’s a look at some of the most telling moments from the last few years.
June 2013 - Scheming Sisters
In a KUWTK clip from early on in Rob’s struggles with weight gain, sister Khloe and Kim Kardashian conspire about how to get their brother to eat healthier.
“We need to psych him out,” Khloe schemes, relating a story about a friend who convinced a parent to quit smoking by forcing them to smoke cigarettes continuously until they got sick. “Maybe let Rob binge out a little.”
“What if we put him in a room and just give him burgers and fries and pizza?” Kim plots, wondering if they could get Rob so sick of fast food that he’d never want to eat it again. “At this point I’m willing to try anything.”
Rob lived with Khloe during her marriage to former NBA star Lamar Odom, and in this clip, the brothers-in-law sit down for a talk after Rob “flakes” on a family trip to Greece and admits that he doesn’t like socializing with family members due to his weight gain.
“I was just like, not feeling myself [after] gaining a bunch of weight,” Rob admits to Lamar, adding that his mom, Kris Jenner, is worried that his weight gain has to do with depression. “It’s just frustrating to me that I’m not happy going out if I’m not in good shape.”
“You know what though, it’s alright if it’s something bigger,” Lamar tells his brother-in-law in a heartfelt moment that’s tough to watch given the basketball star’s own recent health troubles. “Being depressed is not being wrong...but if you don’t take care of yourself, you hurt your relationships.”
November 2013 - Rob and Brody Have a Heart-to-Heart
In this clip, Rob has a heart-to-heart with his step-brother Brody Jenner, who expresses his concern over Rob’s isolation from the family.
“I’m starting to get worried, because Rob is kind of pushing us away,” Brody says in a one-on-one interview. “I think that he’s depressed, and the fact that he feels that way is a bummer. It makes me sad, because Rob is an incredible, incredible person.”
When Khloe moves in with Rob after splitting from Lamar, her nutrition habits -- putting unwanted food in his fridge and cooking a less-than-healthy dinner of chicken and macaroni and cheese -- cause a feud between the siblings due to Rob’s frustration about his health goals.
“I’m trying to lose 60 pounds,” Rob says later in a one-on-one interview. “I’m not trying to lose like, five pounds, or 10 pounds. So, I need to literally dedicate my entire life to my fitness.”
March 2014 - Scary and Serious
After Kris sends Rob for blood work, due to concerns about his health, she presents him with the scary news.
“Your liver is shutting down,” she tells her son. “This is life-threatening at this point. You can only sustain this level of being unhealthy for so long.”
While Rob is shocked to hear the news, he seems to understand his family’s concern. “My dad passed away super early, so obviously my sisters could never handle that again, with me. And I think that’s what everybody’s very concerned about.”
When the family leaves Rob behind for a vacation in Thailand, Kris and Kim have a private conversation about Khloe’s worry for her brother.
“I go to bed every night worried about everybody, and I’m sure Khloe’s doing the same thing,” Kris tells Kim, getting emotional. “It’s the worst feeling in the world when one of your kids isn’t in a good place....I know how Khloe feels. I can’t control someone else’s behavior and I’ve got to learn how to deal with that.”
August 2014 - What Really Happened at Kim’s Wedding
Rob famously caused a stir within the family when he left Italy before sister Kim Kardashian’s wedding to Kanye West. While the family initially tiptoed around the reason for Rob’s departure, Kim finally admitted that her brother told her he was uncomfortable being part of the massive event when he wasn’t happy with himself.
“He sent me a long email, the morning of, that he was going to leave,” she explained to Bravo’s Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live. “There was no fight. And I just thought, ‘You know what, this is my day, I’m not even going to worry about it. I hope he’s okay. I totally understand that he wouldn’t want to see a lot of people if he was feeling uncomfortable. You can only pray and wish that someone would not miss out on more memories in life, because life is about memories.”
When Rob stops responding to messages and emails, Kris Jenner decides to consult a professional to get some perspective on how to help her son. “I feel like if I don’t help him so something drastic, he’s going to die,” she worries.
“I don’t talk about it very much, so it’s very upsetting,” Kris explains to the consultant tearfully, adding that Rob, a standout athlete in high school, has gained 100 pounds in the last year alone. “He doesn't want to participate, he doesn’t want to go out of the house. He’s missed Christmas, he missed Kim’s wedding...”
Kim and Kourtney joined their mother for the meeting, expressing their concerns about how the family’s coddling treatment of their younger brother has contributed to his health troubles.
‘Everyone’s been overcompensating for him since my dad died, because he was 16,” Kourtney says. “At the same time, with what he’s going through, I don’t want him to feel even more alone.”