Founder and still independent owner of a cosmetics business estimated to be worth over $900 million, and the youngest member of the most famous reality-TV family in the world (until the next generation started arriving, that is), Kylie has made one life-affirming decision after another, triumphing in the face of all sorts of skeptics and naysayers who didn’t believe the Kardashian-Jenner kid had it in her.
Of course, her most scrutinized move to date was her decision to have a baby at 20 with boyfriend Travis Scott, the news that she was pregnant coming as a relative shock despite what we thought was the celebrity world’s decreasing ability to really surprise anybody.
No one doubted that Kylie’s child would grow up with the support of a tight-knit, loving family that is just living these days for the ever-adorable little ones in their midst. Kris Jenner is now a grandmother of 10, and the proverbial village has become way less proverbial.
But who was this Travis Scott, the man Kylie trusted enough after a handful of months of dating to become her partner in parenthood, a job for life no matter what happens between a couple down the road? (A road that, despite oodles of recent speculation, hasn’t taken them to Marriage Land yet.)
As it turns out, Travis has become Kylie’s ride-or-die on that road, the rapper having subtly become the peanut butter to her jelly as well as a devoted hands-on dad to their daughter, Stormi Webster.
“I have my wife and baby backstage,” he told a concert audience in Miami last fall, warming hearts and causing all sorts of confusion at the same time. A source confirmed to E! News that they were not married, but had simply settled into referring to each other as “wife” or “husband.” “It’s fun for them and they’re a family, so why not?” the insider said.
Why not, indeed.
“We both experienced this for the first time, so I love learning together and just watching him with her,” Kylie told sister Kendall Jennerin a chat for Australian Vogue last summer. ”He’s so good with her and she’s really obsessed with him.”
There was, however, paperwork involved when they bought a 9,680-square-foot home in the Beverly Hills Post Office neighborhood together for $13.45 million, records showing that Kylie and Travis split the purchase right down the middle—just as a couple of independently wealthy, mutually successful young parents might want to do in this day and age. The house boasts seven bedrooms, including a 2,300-square-foot master suite, and 10 bathrooms.
“I’m actually scrolling through Instagram right now, and it says that me and Travis don’t live together, and so I just want to say that we never miss a night with each other, we go back and forth from my Calabasas house and the city home that we actually got together,” Kylie said in her Q&A with Kendall. “So just if you wanted to add that in.”
To be sure, Scott’s self-sufficiency was important to Kylie, whose uncanny business acumen landed her on the cover of Forbes‘ “American Women Billionaires” issue in 2018 and then named the “youngest self-made billionaire” in March.
“It’s the power of social media,” she acknowledged. “I had such a strong reach before I was able to start anything.”
Instagram / Kylie Jenner
Before his fame compounded exponentially as Jenner’s boyfriend, Scott—whose real name is Jacques Berman Webster—was already known as a visionary rapper. He graduated high school early, dropped out of the University of Texas at 19 and moved to New York, where he slept on friends’ floors while working on getting his foot in the door. After just a few months, he decamped to Los Angeles, where he slept on couches.
“That’s when I started putting s–t out and getting attention,” he told Complex in 2012. “I left L.A., came back home to Houston, and my parents is like, ‘Man, get the f–k out my house, you’re not about to do s–t, you about to be a bum.'” So back to L.A. he went, and he had over a dozen messages from T.I. waiting when he landed.
“This is when people started hearing about my beats,” Scott recalled. “Mad publishers were hitting me up. My name started floating around and I made some money selling beats. I was sub-leasing this crib, staying in this one room…I couldn’t be here without my friends. I wouldn’t like have a place to lay my head some nights but my friends held me down that’s how much they believed in me.”
His 2015 debut LP Rodeo reached No. 3 on the Billboard 200 album sales chart and his 2016 follow-up, Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight, debuted at No. 1. For Christmas that year, he bought his family a new house.
There was nowhere left to go than into a Nicki Minaj-fueled controversy—the real sign that you’ve made it—when she didn’t take kindly to Scott’s Astroworld knocking her brand-new Queen out of the No. 1 spot last August, accusing Kylie of siphoning her sales and streams by mentioning baby Stormi in an Instagram post promoting Astroworld.
Kylie and Travis never bothered to say a thing about it. Which said it all.
Scott—or Travi$ $cott—first signed to Epic Records in 2012, after which Kanye Westadded him to his G.O.O.D Music stable of artists later that yet. Then in 2013 T.I. signed Scott to his Grand Hustle label and he made XXL’s Freshman Class, a list that seemingly every current big name in hip-hop has graduated from. Everyone wanted beats from the promising young talent from the Houston suburbs.
After Jay-Z used his stuff on Magna Carta Holy Grail, that’s when Scott knew.
“That’s when I was like maybe I can really do this music thing,” he told Tales of LaMarre blogger Carl LaMarre in 2014. “Not that I’m saying it takes a Jay-Z to move me to do music but I was like I could honestly do something like this and be successful.”
At the time, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in Transformers was his Woman Crush Wednesday (out of respect for one of his favorite actors, the model’s beau Jason Statham, he didn’t write a song about her), Kid Cudi was the artist who helped him transcend his surroundings while growing up in Missouri City, Texas, and he had serious acting ambitions.
But it was all about the studio for Scott, who kept churning out material for himself and others. (He also likes to play basketball to burn off all that extra intensity.)
Though he and Kylie first really connected at Coachella in 2017, where he was a headliner, Complex has her in Scott’s orbit in August 2015, ahead of the release of his debut Rodeo. ”Wearing a pair of jorts so tattered that I’m not sure they can legally be defined as clothing,” Kylie was in a group that included fashion designer Virgil Abloh (a longtime friend of Kanye) who saw Travis perform at the Fool’s Gold Day Off festival when it touched down in L.A.
And she’s always been pretty up on music and a huge hip-hop fan, so it’s not as if Travis wasn’t on Kylie’s radar. (Though she was not among the party that went for dinner at West Hollywood hot spot the Nice Guy afterward.)
Scott had a reported 700,000 Instagram followers at the time. As of Monday, he had 12.9 million.
Explaining his approach to Complex in 2015, he said, “My music isn’t rappity-rap-rap-rap. I base my music off of lifestyle and emotion—that’s why my music has a lot of chords, even if it’s a hard-ass joint. I consider myself an artist, which is, like, the most played term, but I believe it.”
Meanwhile, Kylie certainly agreed. After seeing him perform at Coachella, the smitten star decided she didn’t want their so-called first date to end—so she went on tour with him.
“I really jumped on the bus. And then we rode off into the sunset. I did the whole tour with him,” she recalled to GQ last summer.
DARA / BACKGRID
Leaving town, or at least not trying to get to know each other solely in L.A. or New York, proved to be the catalyst.
“We had a lot of downtime,” Kylie said. “It was organic. And we would just go to these random cities. We got to not be who we really were. Like, if we were in L.A., I feel like it would’ve been way different. Everything happened for a reason. We weren’t going out as ‘Kylie and Trav.’ We would just be in Cleveland, walking the street for hours. We would go on walks, and no one would bother us.”
Talking about how easy it was for strangers to get exactly the wrong impression about someone if all they know is what they see on Instagram or if they take lyrics too literally, he told Complex in 2015, “My whole story is straight mythical. It’s tangible, but it’s also what life could be. It’s possibility.”
Kylie’s story, meanwhile, has also reached mythological proportions.
“I feel like I’m going to look back and be like, ‘Damn, I wish I could’ve just been a kid and done normal teenage stuff that my friends get to do,'” she told Interview in 2015, shortly after her 18th birthday. ”But it also is a blessing, and I’ve done so many things that most 35-year-old women still haven’t done. You can look at anything glass-half-full or whatever.”
The teen said that she had already realized that material things weren’t going to be the drivers of her happiness.
“I’ve realized through the years that I just find happiness in other things, whether it’s my dogs or my friends or, like, looking at the sunset,” Jenner said. “So if I were to wish for something else, it would just to be happy all the time, to have a superpower of not letting things affect me, and to be true to who I am, always.”
Coincidentally, Scott was telling Complex something quite similar around that same time. “Yes, money is important. But it’s all about the creative process,” the rapper said. “Money is something that keeps you alive and healthy and just keeps you focused. It’s the drive. It’s the passion. I’m making songs not for the money but to see motherf–kers’ reaction.”
Not that Kylie doesn’t enjoy stuff, or the high—even if it only lasts a week—that comes from inhaling that new-car smell multiple times a year. And Travis doesn’t exactly avoid indulging, either. For her 21st birthday, Scott got Jenner a vintage cream-colored Rolls Royce, and then she came home to a house carpeted with red roses, blooms covering the floor and every surface.
Scott repeated the grand floral gesture for Kylie’s big 2-2 as well, blanketing the house with red roses five days before her birthday.
Then they jetted off to Europe for a family vacation, where he gave her a custom diamond-encrusted chain pendant by Eliantte bearing the Kylie Cosmetics lips logo. They’ve otherwise been busy yachting, jet-skiing, strolling and doing impromptu photo shoots wherever there’s a picturesque background. Which, in France and Italy, is almost everywhere.
“Happy Bday Wifey,” Scott wrote on Instagram. “Everyday I watch u grow more into this amazing superhuman everyday is the best the day with u here may God continue shine on you. Happy fcking Bday love ya !!!”
So, consider them twin fans of the finer things in life—of all materials.
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images
And speaking of material, the two cut quite a figure on the red carpet.
Taking a cue from the part of hip-hop culture that’s obsessed with brands and style, Scott was already into statement fashion long before meeting Kylie.
Clothing and accessories always seemed to be part of the description when it came to Scott, whether he was carrying a Goyard bag or wearing a bedazzled Libertine shirt. When GQ really probed him about any career regrets he might have, all he could come up with was, “I wouldn’t have worn Snapbacks.”
Before joining the Kard-Jenner operation, Scott was perfectly aware of just how quick the negativity on social media can get out of hand, and what it was like to have critics picking apart his professional work and a surplus of people interested in his private life.
“When my album dropped I deleted Twitter off my phone just so I could be at peace,” Scott shared with Complex after Rodeo came out. ”I saw some s–t where on ‘Oh My Dis Side’ [somebody said] I got the melody from Future‘s ‘Rich $ex,’ which is so weak and lame. That’s one of my favorite songs, but my album was made before the Future album came out. Metro [Boomin] stayed at my crib for, like, nine months and made mad beats that made it onto Future’s album. I’m like, damn if only they knew.”
Nothing, however, could have prepared him for Kylie-level attention until he was in the thick of it.
IXOLA / BACKGRID
“I don’t think he’s really cool with it,” Kylie acknowledged to GQ, “but he deals with it, because we love each other and we have a family.
“For sure, I know he doesn’t like the attention. That’s why we just go the extra mile to keep our relationship super private, or like, if he has events or something, I won’t come. Because I want him to do his own thing. I want him to be him. I don’t want it to be Kylie and Trav. If people don’t ever see us together, that’s okay with me, because we just do our thing.”
But she does go to events, such as the Grammys, his big shows, the 2018 MTV VMAs, or his listening party for Astroworld in Chicago last August while Lollapalooza was underway—because it would be awfully unfair if you couldn’t share those moments with your significant other.
And for all of his distaste for photo shoots and going to restaurants (it’s impatience, having to wait for other people, as opposed to an aversion to people), Travis Scott is doing a heck of a job faking it when he needs to—though Kylie does not pressure him to be a part of her capital-s Scene. Her shift in priorities was never more apparent than when she went unprecedentedly quiet during her pregnancy, posting throwbacks or otherwise unrevealing photos on social media and not discussing how her relationship or those nine months in general were going at all.
Instagram / Kylie Jenner
Scott memorably deflected talk of his about-to-expand family in an interview with Billboard that was published about a month before Stormi was born. ”I don’t want to talk about that. They’re just guesses,” he said of Kylie’s as yet not officially confirmed pregnancy. “Let them keep fishing.”
Subsequently, there was no word on how involved Scott was or any willingly available answers to the questions that so many fans had.
But the couple’s silence made what happened when Kylie gave birth to Stormi in 2018 all the sweeter and more charming: A few days after their daughter arrived, Kylie shared a video that included footage of Scott with her at doctor’s appointments, including a shot of them looking at an ultrasound screen together, and otherwise completely along for the exciting ride.
“Going into it I was, like, nervous and scared,” Scott shared with Ellen on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in November. “You know, we were just both, like, young. But when you first have a baby in your arms, it’s just, like, it’s uncontrollable. It’s like this whole, like, warp that takes over your whole body. I never thought I could just, like, love something so hard, you know? It’s crazy.”
As he said back in 2015, “Fame’s not important.”
Family, however, is everything.
(Originally published Nov. 12, 2018, at 3:30 p.m. PT)