Episode 1 of “House of Kardashian” painted Kris Jenner as an ambitious and controlling housewife who plotted and planned her family’s rise to fame. The matriarch’s ambition reportedly bloomed during her marriage to Robert Kardashian Sr., with Robert Sr.’s cousin, Joan Agajanian Quinn, claiming that Kris wanted to be a mother but didn’t enjoy being a housewife. “That wasn’t what an ambitious woman who wanted to be in the limelight would be doing,” said Quinn. Although Kris and Robert enjoyed a wealthy lifestyle, it wasn’t until after their divorce, when she moved on with Caitlyn Jenner, that she took steps toward amplifying her family’s social and financial status.
Kris encouraged Caitlyn — whose athletic career had stalled — to fire her then–manager and helped her relaunch her public speaking business. Kris then started negotiating on Caitlyn’s behalf. “[Kris] was charming, disarming, but drove a tough bargain,” said one of Caitlyn’s former business partners. “You wanted to do business with her — but you knew she was extracting every last dollar from your pocket. We were able to put together a real strong team,” shared Caitlyn Jenner, who fondly remembered the business side of their marriage. While Caitlyn had name recognition, Kris brought her business savvy to the table when securing deals. She also controlled all of their money, according to Caitlyn. She didn’t mind because their relationship worked.