Could Lamar Odom's reported drug scandal spell the end of the Kardashian empire?
As new details surrounding the NBA player's alleged drug addiction emerge each day, his wife of almost four years, Khloe Kardashian, puts on a brave face in the selfies she posts to social media accounts. Aside from the occasional outburst, it's business as usual, complete with gratuitous booty shots for the Kardashians.
Is the 29-year-old trying to avoid the harsh reality that her husband is struggling with drug abuse, or is she simply trying to keep up the family's brand?
The Kardashian-Jenner clan, who were initially introduced to the world as a "modern day Brady Bunch," rely on their ability to be simultaneously relatable and aspirational. When hard-core drug addiction is added into the mix, it's easy to see how aspirations can quickly fade.
With the exception of Khloe's 2008 DUI arrest , the family has been scandal-free in the drug and alcohol department. The fact that she and her sisters haven't been branded as party girls like their predecessor, Paris Hilton, has set them apart from scores vying for their thrones.
It's one of the reasons why it's no coincidence that the whole family is acting like there's nothing going on, while Odom is reportedly going off the rails with his personal problems and DUI arrests.
With the contract for "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" up in 2015, "maintaining their brand image is paramount [right now],” branding and marketing expert Liz Goodgold told RadarOnline.
Other branding experts agree that this could be the beginning of the end for the Kardashian family, but doubt that the E! network will pull the plug completely, noting they could view this as a good time to shift focus over to rising stars Kendall and Kylie Jenner.
"[After 2015], it’s on to [Kendall and Kylie], the other acts that they’ve got coming up," branding expert Rob Frankel explained to the website, adding that Kim, Khloe and Kourtney “were really a disposable property. They never had a strategy to keep that identity going for the long-term.”
Only time will tell if this is really the end for the Kardashian brand, but in the meantime the family will continue keeping up appearances in order to maintain their empire.