When the Kardashians announced their retirement from reality television on social media this week, reactions were mixed. Personally, I was unexpectedly hit with a sense of sadness. Not because I’m a diehard fan or avid viewer (in fact, I haven’t properly watched the show in years), but because it’s the end of an era in pop culture. And while millions of viewers watched the family grow up in front of their eyes, some of us have grown up alongside them. As the years have unfolded, we’ve all watched them fall in love, make bad decisions, start their own families, and grow from reality TV stars into billion-dollar businesswomen – and that is largely thanks to the show, and their willingness to film everything, even when they didn’t need the money any more Kim was the first to announce the end of the show that made them households names. “It is with heavy hearts that we’ve made the difficult decision as a family to say goodbye to Keeping Up with the Kardashians ,” she said in a statement posted on Twitter. Kim, Kylie, Khloé? The Kardashian-Jenner clan’s biggest social media meltdowns “This show made us who we are and I will be forever in debt to everyone who played a role in shaping our careers and changing our lives forever.” View this post on Instagram To our amazing fans - It is with heavy hearts that we’ve made the difficult decision as a family to say goodbye to Keeping Up with the Kardashians. After what will be 14 years, 20 seasons, hundreds of episodes and numerous spin-off shows, we are beyond grateful to all of you who’ve watched us for all of these years – through the good times, the bad times, the happiness, the tears, and the many relationships and children. We’ll forever cherish the wonderful memories and countless people we’ve met along the way. Thank you to the thousands of individuals and businesses that have been a part of this experience and, most importantly, a very special thank you to Ryan Seacrest for believing in us, E! for being our partner, and our production team at Bunim/Murray, who’ve spent countless hours documenting our lives. Our last season will air early next year in 2021. Without Keeping Up with The Kardashians, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I am so incredibly grateful to everyone who has watched and supported me and my family these past 14 incredible years. This show made us who we are and I will be forever in debt to everyone who played a role in shaping our careers and changing our lives forever. With Love and Gratitude, Kim A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on Sep 8, 2020 at 2:34pm PDT After 14 years and 20 seasons, news that the show will end in 2021 feels like the death of an old relative. You know it’s been coming for years, but it’s still sad because you have fond memories. Why Kanye’s bonkers tweets have left Kim seriously concerned As an entertainment journalist, my first brush with Kardashia (my word for the world of all things Kardashian) was during my first job in London in 2008, shortly after the opening season of the show premiered in the US. For the most part, the world hadn’t really heard about the Kardashians yet. Kim was merely known for being Paris Hilton’s best friend and stylist. So when E! sent a TV crew to our Star Magazine offices in central London to film a team member doing a telephone interview with Kim, staff were annoyed by the inconvenience. A few days later, I found myself on the red carpet of the star-studded Hancock movie premiere in Leicester Square waiting for the likes of Will Smith and Charlize Theron, when I caught my first glimpse of Kim. As she made her way down the red carpet, the press didn’t seem to know who she was, and nobody seemed interested in calling her over for interviews. Fortunately, I had read an article a few days prior about awful comments Paris Hilton made about former assistant Kim (she literally said her bum looked “like cottage cheese stuffed in a trash bag”, no lies), so I called her over for a rather awkward interview. After babbling a PR-savvy answer about how the support of her family is the only thing that matters in an attempt to promote the show, I expected her to move down the line of journalists like the other celeb guests. But once again, nobody called her name, so she awkwardly spent a few minutes at my spot with nowhere to go. To relax the situation a bit, I asked a colleague to take a picture of us together. “This is Kim!” I proclaimed. But when the star of the film, Charlize Theron, arrived, my attention immediately veered off. After the event I bumped into Kim and then-boyfriend Reggie Bush at the bar where we ordered wine and spoke about the film. “Sweet girl, but a bit dull,” I thought. 5 celebrities who were victims of violent crimes with guns, knives and more By 2009, the Kardashians were gaining traction around the world, including South Africa, where I was working at celebrity magazine Heat . So when Kim and Khloé jetted to Johannesburg on behalf of Russell Simmons’ Diamond Empowerment Fund to visit schools and diamond sites, I grabbed my photographer and headed to the airport where we showered them with welcome gifts and a lot of attention. The thing I instantly loved about the Kardashians is how professional they were, and continue to be. Even after an incredibly long flight, the girls allowed us to walk them through the airport as we interviewed them and took pictures. At one point they even pretended to read our magazine for paparazzi photos. “That OK? You got the pics you need?” Khloé shouted at me. However, they weren’t exactly household names yet, so I cringed when a fan recognised them and screamed “Kourtney!” to poor Khloé. If that’s not enough, I made matters worse a few nights later when Kim and Khloé showed up unexpectedly during a night out at Taboo nightclub in Sandton. After having way too many drinks, I saw Khloé standing alone while everybody fawned over her sister. In my attempted conversation I somehow ended up calling her Kourtney, too. It went downhill from there, but I’ll take the rap for that (tip: avoid actual conversations with celebrities if you’ve been drinking – it almost always ends up in embarrassment). Loved by Kim K, who is Sabyasachi Mukherjee, India’s A-list bridal designer? By the time Kim and Khloé returned to South Africa in December 2010, the family were officially reality TV royalty. At the height of the show, big events like Kim’s wedding to Kris Humphries reached 10.5 million viewers and earned E! its most-watched day ever. Still, they were not quite at Vogue status, which meant endless random brand endorsements in all corners of the globe. In one particular case in Africa, the launch of a new flavour of fruity alcohol drink, Brutal Fruit. I nabbed an invite to the event held at Cape Town’s Fugard Theatre, a night that can only be described as utter chaos. Hundreds of fans, VIPs and local celebrities filled every inch of the property, all with one goal in mind: get to Kim and Khloé, who were bizarrely seated on a sofa in the middle of the room like animals in a zoo. The lucky ones got plucked by the PR guys and gals and allowed to perch behind the sofa for a photo. Shamefully, I perched too. The conversation was quick and bland, as I came to expect from my brief chats with Kim by that time. One thing was clear: the Kardashians had officially made it, and even I was watching their show on a weekly basis. Kylie Jenner vs Forbes – did she really lie about being a billionaire? Over the next few years, as their fame catapulted them ever higher, they started gaining respect among Hollywood’s elite. As their million-dollar business turned into a billion-dollar business, appearances became more expensive and high-profile. It’s unlikely you’ll just bump into Kim in a nightclub toilet these days, and a Brutal Fruit campaign would probably result in “cruelty towards fruit” accusations in 2020. Fortunately, I managed to redeem my conversations with Khloé over the years. During a visit to Durban in 2014 for the MTV Africa Music Awards, I had a lovely chat with her about Kim’s wedding to Kanye West, which had taken place a few days prior (her then-boyfriend French Montana wasn’t as kind, and told me to “**** off”). A year later in 2015, when Khloé hosted an exclusive make-up seminar in Dubai, we had a heartwarming conversation about Caitlyn Jenner, who had just made the announcement of her transition. I strongly felt the need to extend my support to Caitlyn and the family, and Khloé’s appreciation and sincerity was raw. By that point, no matter what the headlines or storylines were, Khloé could do no wrong in my eyes. For the record: my biggest Kardashian pet peeve since then has been the attention on Khloé’s weight and height. Understandably, constantly being made to sound like the bigger one and odd one out has caused her a lot of trauma, and is categorically unfair. Khloé is surprisingly small herself – if anything, it’s her sisters Kim and Kourtney that are abnormal in being even smaller (I haven’t met Kourtney in person, but my friend designed her People’s Choice Awards dress in 2011, so I legit know her sizes). Khloé K, Chris Hemsworth or Jung Da-yeon – who has the best workout? View this post on Instagram A post shared by Andre Neveling (@andreneveling) on May 25, 2015 at 10:08am PDT As the years have unfolded, we’ve all watched them fall in love, make bad decisions, start their own families, and grow from reality TV stars into billion-dollar businesswomen ( you go, Kylie! ). And that is largely thanks to the show, and their willingness to film everything, even when they didn’t need the money any more. Keeping Up with the Kardashians has continued to receive flak throughout its 14-year run, but its effect on pop culture, and the life it created for the family and all their offspring, is quite simply iconic. As someone who has been lucky enough to occasionally keep up with the Kardashians in person over the years, I’ll probably tune into their last season for old time’s sake. The family is certainly nowhere near fading into obscurity any time soon, but it’s been a roller-coaster ride of an era that deserves to be celebrated. Want more stories like this? Sign up here . Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .