The recent engagement of Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker is easily one of 2021’s top pop culture stories, right up there with Bennifer 2.0. Culture Editor Emily Jashinsky and Managing Editor Madeline Osburn discuss the pair’s high-profile romance below.
Emily Jashinsky: I’m actually surprised to see how much fans seem to support the relationship, which has always struck me as odd but not in an endearing way. But maybe I’m a cynic and maybe I’ve never lost hope in Scott Disick. How are you handling the big news, Madeline?
Madeline Osburn: I think I will be ok but thank you for asking. Scott Disick on the other hand, I’m not so sure. Ultimately, it’s his own fault for assuming Kourtney would always be single and he could settle down with her whenever he was done dating 19- and 20-year-olds. It’s crushing for those of us who still had a sliver of hope he would eventually marry the mother of his children, but again, it’s his own fault.
As for Kourtney and Travis’s relationship, two things stand out. The first is that I find it endearing that this is not some whirlwind fling driven by passion alone, although it certainly appears that way by their relentless PDA. Travis has been Kourtney’s Calabasas neighbor for years. He’s been a close friend of both Kourtney’s and the Kardashian’s, even making several past appearances on “Keeping Up With The Kardashians.” Something about building their relationship off a genuine friendship makes all the openly making out in Italy seem a little more real and not just for the paparazzi.
Second, fans are supportive because unlike other celebrities who churn through husbands like they change their shoes (i.e. Kim and Khloé), Kourtney has never even really been engaged or married before! So for this to be her first wedding at the age of 42, it adds to the endearment, and fans are genuinely happy for her.
EJ: I find most of what you just said very annoying, but you’ve at least convinced me to be ambivalent about this.
I don’t doubt that Kourtney tried her hardest with Scott, but I’d always held out hope because it would require him to be a) healthier and b) would bring him into a marriage with the mother of his children. I’m also partially intrigued by how much fans seem to support Kourtney, given her reputation as the least agreeable Kardashian. When Kim hosted “Saturday Night Live” a few weeks ago, they did a rare, incredible sketch parodying this.
The reason I’ve always liked Kourtney is that her nonchalance, which is admittedly somewhat feigned, contrasted so well with the rest of her family’s unquenchable thirst for fame and power. Maybe that’s a more popular take than I realized?
MO: She has gone through her phases of being above the thirst compared to the rest of her family. Her detachment is perhaps a combination of personality, being the oldest, and having and raising kids before the height of her fame. That’s certainly played out in several “KUWTK” plotlines over the years and was supposedly part of the reason the show ended because she hated filming and being a part of it.
And yet, she still couldn’t survive or be who she is without it, right? So I think it is heavily feigned. And if you need more evidence, they ended “KUWTK” after she threatened to quit, they went on to sign for a new Hulu show, and there were cameras at the post-engagement celebration dinner Sunday night. Much of her and Travis’s relationship is all but guaranteed to be part of the new show, including the proposal. This family knows how to give the people what they want.