Kim Kardashian West at 40: All the times she broke the internet

Prudence Wade, PA
·3-min read

It’s hard to believe it, but Kim Kardashian West is 40 years old.

She’s been on our screens in Keeping Up With The Kardashians since 2007, and in that time has set fashion trends like no-one else, created her own beauty and shapewear businesses, and had four children with husband Kanye West.

Kardashian West is one of the most famous celebrities in the world, and she’s proved since the Noughties that she knows how to use social media as a tool to promote herself.

She’s a savvy businesswoman and undisputed style icon – and these are all the moments she’s broken the internet.

When she was on the cover of Paper Magazine

It was this 2014 magazine cover that introduced the world to the phrase “break the internet”. The pictures certainly went viral – in one improbable shot Kardashian West balances a champagne glass on her rear, and in another her derriere is entirely bare.

When she lost her earring in the ocean

Kim Kardashian Girl GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY
Kim Kardashian Girl GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

One of the most memorable moments in the long-running reality show Keeping Up With The Kardashians came in 2011, when the Kardashian-Jenner clan went on a trip to Bora Bora.

Kardashian West lost one of her expensive diamond earrings in the water and cried uncontrollably – causing her sister, Kourtney Kardashian, to deliver one of the most savage lines on television: “Kim, there’s people that are dying.”

Keeping Up With The Kardashians People Are Dying GIF by swerk - Find & Share on GIPHY
Keeping Up With The Kardashians People Are Dying GIF by swerk - Find & Share on GIPHY

The moment made its way into the pop culture canon and is still being referred to today.

The 2013 Met Gala gown

Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West
(Denis Van Tine/PA)

For the 2013 Met Gala Kardashian West was heavily pregnant, and attended the event in a skintight floral Givenchy gown with long sleeves and gloves.

The outfit certainly divided critics and spawned a series of memes – with Robin Williams even wading in, saying his character Mrs Doubtfire wore it better.

In a Vogue video analysing her biggest looks, Kardashian West said she was “so insecure” on the night and was “crying the whole way home because I just couldn’t believe it, there were all these memes of me and this couch”. 

However, she now loves it – “Now it’s sick.”

Her wedding to Kanye West

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A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on May 27, 2014 at 7:58am PDT

Kardashian West married Kanye West in a lavish 2014 wedding in Italy, complete with a serenade from opera singer Andrea Bocelli as she walked down the aisle.

The bride wore a Givenchy haute couture gown designed by friend Riccardo Tisci, and the couple posed in front of a flower wall.

The photo took the internet by storm and held the top spot of most-liked snap on Instagram for some time – until dethroned by Kardashian West’s sister, Kendall Jenner.

The 2019 Met Gala gown

Kim Kardashian
(Jennifer Graylock/PA)

Another of Kardashian West’s most viral outfits came at the Met Gala, this time in 2019, when Thierry Mugler came out of retirement to design a beaded latex dress for the star.

The ensemble stirred up controversy at the time, with people on Twitter wondering how she got her waist that small – some even speculating that she’d removed a rib.

That theory was later debunked, with Kardashian West’s trainer saying she worked out hard at the gym and wore a corset on the night.

In this revealing dress

A lot of Kardashian West’s most internet-breaking moments don’t involve too many clothes at all (like this one) – after all, she helped popularise the so-called “belfie” (bum selfie).

One of her most outrageous fashion moments involved a dress with not much left to the imagination.

In early 2019 Kardashian West dipped into the Thierry Mugler archives and wore a strappy black “backwards” dress from the designer’s 1998 couture collection – and her look instantly went viral.