When Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom(notes) married in September 2009 after a whirlwind courtship, few could be blamed for thinking it was a publicity stunt. After all, the Kardashians are some of the biggest publicity hounds in a city full of them, and Odom plays for the NBA's marquee franchise. Pretty soon, both husband and wife had increased media profiles. They've even parlayed it into a new reality show, thereby giving the Kardashian majority ownership of E! Entertainment Television. You snooze you lose, Hugh Hefner!
All of this is to say that this couple -- and particularly Odom, who should theoretically be more serious as a professional athlete -- is very easy to mock. But that doesn't mean they're not in love and helping each other become better people. Mike Trudell tells this epic tale of romance on Lakers.com:
"Once I became married and started to do things a little differently and take more responsibility in life, it made playing basketball so easy," Odom reflected. "Right now, there isn't anything that's distracting me from the game, and a lot of that is because of the love that my wife has for me. There aren't any stresses." [...]
His growth is rooted not just in Khloe, but the Kardashian family that has now become his. With the support of an extended family he hadn't felt in years, if ever, Odom's sense of himself has fully blossomed, his years of pushing past obstacles replaced by increased stability that has left him feeling free.
"You know how things can just line up in life?" asked Odom. "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," Kardashian said during a recent phone conversation. "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."
You should really read this whole article, because it goes from seeming serious to a joke and back again approximately 40 times.
Lamar and Khloe are still in the honeymoon phase of marriage, I suppose, but they seem as committed to each other as any young couple. Who knows how the constant spotlight of fame will affect their lives as they grow? (And perhaps hear the pitter-patter of little feet!) For now, though, things seem to be going just fine.
I can't really blame anyone for making fun of the Kardashians -- they once gave step-patriarch/living wax statue Bruce Jenner a pet chimp for the sake of ratings -- but they seem to have provided Odom with needed stability as he works towards becoming a better athlete and person. For someone who's had a difficult life filled with personal loss, the importance of that effect cannot be understated.
So the next time you see Khloe in the stands cheering for Odom until her heart explodes, think before you make fun of her enthusiasm. As goofy as it seems, everything suggests that their love is for real.
- Khloe Kardashian