In short: Kris Jenner is not ethnically Armenian. While her ex-husband Robert Kardashian and their children carry Armenian roots, Kris‘s own heritage is entirely European. But there‘s much more to the story behind this famous family‘s Armenian culture and Kris‘s place in it as the "momager" of the Kardashian empire. Let‘s unravel the full picture of the Kardashians‘ blended heritage.
Kris Jenner‘s Vital Statistics – Quick Facts
- Full Name: Kris Jenner (birth name Kristen Mary Houghton)
- Ethnicity: European (English, Scottish, Irish, German, Dutch)
- Ex-Husband: Robert Kardashian (Armenian descent)
- Children: Kourtney, Kim, Khloe, Rob (all half Armenian)
So in brief – while Kris Jenner‘s four famous children all share their father‘s Armenian ethnicity, Kris herself has no Armenian ancestry. But she and Robert decided to pass down the Armenian surname Kardashian to their kids, leading many to assume Kris also shares this background. Let‘s explore the full story behind this unique family‘s intertwining cultures.
Blending Cultures: The Kardashian Family History
Today, the Kardashian name immediately evokes luxury, fame and Armenian heritage. But it wasn‘t always that way.
Decades ago, the Kardashians were just another Los Angeles family– albeit with some notable wealth and Hollywood connections. The origins of their more recent stardom and cultural clout can be traced back to a few key events:
- The 1970s – Kris meets and marries Robert Kardashian, a lawyer with Armenian American roots
- The 1990s – Kris and Robert divorce, but Kris keeps the Kardashian name and passes it on to their kids
- The 2000s – Their daughter Kim gains fame as a socialite, friendship with Paris Hilton, and infamous sex tape
- 2007 – Keeping Up with the Kardashians premieres, soon becoming a smash hit
- 2016 – Forbes declares the Kardashians are the highest-earning reality TV stars, bringing in $122.5 million that year
Looking at this timeline, Kris Jenner played the crucial role in cultivating her family‘s influence on pop culture and eventual net worth estimated over $2 billion. Marrying into the Armenian Kardashian line while coming from European stock herself, Kris fused her entrepreneurial talents with the inherited celebrity status of her children.
And as the Kardashian brand rapidly grew, the family‘s Armenian roots took on heightened significance, adding cultural depth to their identities.
But to understand Kris‘s own place in this Armenian-American family requires examining her pre-Kardashian background.
Before She Was Kris Kardashian: The Matriarch‘s European Roots
Long before she met Robert Kardashian, who would Kris Jenner grow up to become? Here are the key facts about her early years:
- Born Kristen Mary Houghton in 1955 in San Diego, California
- Parents were Mary Jo Shannon and Robert True Houghton
- Descended from English, Scottish, Irish, Dutch and German lineage on both sides
- Had three siblings: Karen, Kathy and Joe
- Parents divorced when she was 7 years old
So from her ancestors to her birth name, Kris comes from thoroughly European heritage, with no Armenian or Middle Eastern roots.
|Kris Jenner‘s Family Tree||Origin|
|Mother‘s side||English, Scottish, Irish|
|Father‘s side||Dutch, German|
But after marrying Robert Kardashian, it was the Armenian cultural elements she embraced as a wife and mother that set the stage for her family‘s stardom today.
The Armenian Kardashians: Religion, Values, Traditions
To understand Kris‘s navigation of married life with Robert Kardashian, it helps to outline some key elements of Armenian culture:
- Orthodox Christian – Majority religion dating back 1,700 years in Armenia
- Strong family ties – High value on close-knit families and parents‘ guidance
- Cultural traditions – Authentic food, music, dance are sources of Armenian pride
- Resilience – Endured and retained culture throughout changing politics, borders, rulers
Robert Kardashian directly inherited many of these traditions from his own parents. They were Armenian immigrants who initially settled in Los Angeles in the 1920s amidst persecution in their homeland.
As immigrants, the strength of their Armenian roots helped forge their identity in America. Robert grew up in this rich cultural environment steeped in history, faith, food and family bonds.
Kris, as an American of Western European descent, came from a starkly different upbringing divorced from Armenian traditions. Navigating this new cultural realm as Robert‘s wife proved an ongoing challenge.
Marriage into the Armenian Community: Kris as an Outsider
Despite her new status as Mrs. Kardashian, Kris remained a definitive outsider in the eyes of her husband‘s community. Their skepticism and scrutiny emerged in telling ways:
- Disapproval – Some Armenians voiced concerns over Robert marrying a non-Armenian
- Pressures – Expectations to conform to Armenian culture, values, even speak the language
- Identity – Viewed by some as not a "real" Kardashian without Armenian ethnicity
Tensions escalated when Kris became pregnant with her first child by Robert – Kourtney, born in 1979. Kourtney would be half Armenian, but onlookers wondered:
- How would this child embrace her mixed heritage and identity?
- Would she be "Armenian enough" with Kris as her mother?
Raising the First Kardashian Heir: Kourtney‘s Birth Under Scrutiny
When Kris gave birth to Kourtney Mary Kardashian in 1979, it made waves as the first baby born to the newlywed couple. And in the Armenian community, the scrutiny only intensified around Kris and her new daughter‘s identity.
Some Armenians expressed that Kourtney would:
- Not truly absorb Armenian culture without Kris sharing that background
- Lack an authentic Armenian upbringing by her European American mother
- Dilute the Kardashian family‘s Armenian roots by her mixed bloodline
This judgment Kris faced for giving birth to a half-Armenian baby highlighted the complex prejudices around ethnic lines. It ultimately pushed Kris and Robert to unite and stand up to this criticism of their family together.
How Kris Jenner Helped Shape Her Children‘s Pride in Their Armenian Identity
While facing harsh skepticism herself, Kris made the active choice to have her children embrace their Armenian heritage. This manifested in touching ways:
- Choosing Kardashian surname – Despite divorcing Robert in 1991, Kris decided to keep his last name and pass it on to their 4 children
- Religious milestones – Allowing Kim to have daughter North baptized in the Armenian church
- Travel to Armenia – Bringing Kim, Khloe and others to Armenia to connect with their roots and history
- Celebrations – Enthusiastically participating in Armenian holidays and gatherings
So while Kris does not share the Armenian ethnicity of her ex-husband and children, she has wholeheartedly encouraged them to cherish this ancestral identity. Kris giving all her children the Kardashian name reflects her respect for the heritage she married into.
Comparing Armenian Culture vs American: The Kardashians‘ Blended Backgrounds
Looking at Kris Jenner beside her famous daughters highlights the ways their Armenian ancestry blends with American upbringings.
Kris projects her American identity with:
- Business savvy and competitive drive
- Comfort and fluency in English
- Mainstream pop culture status and connections
Kim embodies both sides as:
- Quintessentially American in celebrity image and brand
- Clearly proud of her Armenian roots and ties to the diaspora
No family member is defined solely by their Armenian or American sides – both cultures shape who they are. Kris and her daughters showcase how identities can flex, evolve and fuse Armenian traditions with American lifestyles.
Conclusion: The Blended Heritage of an American Family
Kris Jenner‘s path from Robert Kardashian‘s wife to mother of an empire shows the nuances of blended family heritage. While she personally has no Armenian ethnicity, Kris has embraced the culture her ex-husband passed down. She faced skepticism from Armenians for marrying into their community as an outsider, but worked to help her mixed children celebrate both sides of their identity.
So while Kris is not Armenian, the Kardashian siblings proudly carry this ancestry forward as Armenian Americans, abandoning neither side of their rich heritage. Ultimately, their Armenian roots and American upbringing are inextricably intertwined for a family as famous as they are groundbreaking. They represent the intricacies of evolving cultural identities in the melting pot of America.