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Kardashian sisters: We weren’t spoiled rotten

The trio of celebrity sisters dish about their glamorous lives in their new memoir, 'Kardashian Konfidential' — and insist that despite the perks of growing up in Beverly Hills, they weren't spoiled brats.
/ Source: TODAY books

Kourtney, Kim and Khloe Kardashian open up about their glamorous lives and their Beverly Hills upbringing in “Kardashian Konfidential.” In this excerpt, they discuss how their parents raised them not to be spoiled, and remember their dad's lasting influence.

Some people think that when we were growing up we must have been little Beverly Hills brats whose parents gave them everything they wanted.

That is a total misconception. Of course our parents provided food and shelter and clothing. And they gave us a lot of nice things beyond that. Yes, each of us did get a car in high school.

But with the car we had to sign a contract saying we would keep up our grade average in school, that we’d wash the car once a week and take care of it and pay for our own gas and we’d have to remember on our own when to change the oil. And if anything ever happened to our cars, too bad. Our parents wouldn’t help us repair it and they sure wouldn’t buy us a new one.

Story: Five things we learned from 'Kardashian Konfidential'

Most of our friends in high school had credit cards of their own. But not us. Our dad used to say, “Nothing in life is for free, you girls aren’t going to get just whatever you want.” So no credit cards. He did let us use his credit card but we still had to pay for our own stuff beyond the basics. Our parents wouldn’t foot the bill for Gucci shoes or designer clothes. If we wanted to do any serious shopping, we had to come up with the cash.

Kim even went into debt with our dad once and had to pay him back plus interest. It was just a couple thousand dollars, but to us, that was a lot. And our mom and dad made it very clear that we would be totally cut off after we finished school. So we all learned early on if you want money, you have to earn it.

Around the house we were expected to do work, too. We always had housekeepers growing up but they weren’t allowed to clean our rooms. We had to do it ourselves. 

In other words, we may have been spoiled, but we weren’t brats! We weren’t stomping our feet saying, “Daddy, we need it now!” Our parents wanted to teach us responsibility, which you might not appreciate when you’re a teenager. But now we’re glad they did because it made us grateful for what we had and taught us a strong work ethic, which is so valuable in life.                                           

Blood is thicker than water
Our dad meant so much to us. He was really a big influence on us all and still is, to this day.  Our dad tried very hard to instill family values in us, and he succeeded! He used to say, “Blood is thicker than water,” and now we know what he meant. We are so glad we have such a strong bond with all of our family. We’re there for each other no matter what.

Another thing our dad used to say was, “Money isn’t happiness.” He would point out certain people and say, “Look at all the money they have. And yet they’re not happy!” Or he’d show us that they had a lot of money but they weren’t very good people. He would take us to see homeless people living in cardboard boxes, to teach us compassion and make us realize how blessed we were. But at the same time, he taught us that our material blessings weren’t the most important things in life.

He made us understand that the most important thing was to be a good person. Our dad never talked down to people, no matter who they were or what they did for a living. He always treated people with respect.

He gave us such a strong work ethic and made sure we never took anything for granted.

Dad made us feel so loved, and set such high standards for us. Without his influence in our life, we can’t even imagine what our lives would be today.

When he got esophageal cancer it was one of the worst times in our lives. They found it when it was already Stage 4, and had spread to his liver  He didn’t have much chance of survival. But he didn’t tell us all of that; he could barely talk but he didn’t want us to worry. We all tried to have a positive attitude for him. Kourtney spent a lot of evenings with him watching old black and white movies. The very last one was The Postman Always Rings Twice.

He got really sick very quickly after that, though. He started losing a lot of weight and his muscles deteriorated. It wasn’t long before he was on morphine, and he started throwing up profusely. It was so hard to be around him and see him suffering. In better times at his house, Kim used to make him cream of wheat, and that was all he wanted to eat at the end.

Only eight weeks after his diagnosis, he passed. 

Everyone thinks that we’re big trust fund babies, that we inherited this huge fortune from our dad, but it’s not true. We did get a few personal things that we truly treasure, such as his Bible, which Kim has. 

When Dad was sick, Kim and Kourtney sat with him by the pool one night. They decided that if one of us passed away, the sign we’d give each other that we were okay would be a bird. After our dad passed, Kim was driving on the freeway and saw a huge flock of birds that made her stop the car. We knew that was our dad, saying, “I’m in heaven waiting for you.”

The beliefs and integrity and confidence and love he gave us are far more valuable than houses or wealth or material possessions. He’s still a huge presence in our lives, and we feel him looking over us and guiding us.

Excerpted from "Kardashian Konfidential" by Kourtney, Kim and Khloe Kardashian, St. Martin’s Press, LLC. Copyright © 2010 by the authors and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press, LLC.