No. 3: Kim Kardashian

Some countries have royal weddings. Americans deal in reality.

The one-woman empire called Kim Kardashian married New Jersey Nets power forward Kris Humphries, and a few searches referred to the collective union as “Kris Hump.” A celebrity’s romantic past is never forgotten, which is why some people checked out the “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” star’s first union with music producer Damon Thomas and her later romance with R&B singer Ray J.

Still, the hitch seemingly went without a hitch, replete with diamonds ($15 million), flowers ($2 million), celebrity guests (nearly 400), cake (10 tiers and 6 feet high), cameras (E! aired the “Kim’s Fairytale Wedding: A Kardashian Event”), and a People magazine cover. All in all, much of the extravagance (reportedly $10 to $30 million) was actually subsidized by vendors cashing in on the publicity — and, later, notoriety.

Record divorce
A record 72 days later, the bride filed for divorce. People trained their online searches on “Kim Kardashian marriage problems,” “how much did Kim Kardashian’s wedding cost,” and “how much is Kim Kardashian worth.”

Quickie celebrity weddings aren’t unusual — after all, Britney Spears undid her vows in 55 hours. Then again, that price tag didn’t reflect an over-the-top celebration you’d expect of, well, the 1%. Kris Jenner, mother of the Kardashian brood, claimed her daughter and soon-to-be-ex son-in-law didn’t make a dime from the wedding, and that payouts from the People cover (anywhere from less than $1 million to $2.5 million) and TV special ($15 million) went right back to the bill.

Not that the bride’s family couldn’t have paid for the wedding, given their $65 million family earnings from the reality show “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” fashion and perfume lines, and marketing deals. The bride’s salary is $12 million, about six times the groom’s basketball paycheck.

Slipping credibility
That kind of financial planning might’ve helped ease reports of slipping credibility: A poll released two days before her wedding ranked Kim among the 10 least trustworthy personalities. That didn’t sway her 10,000,000th Twitter follower (yup, that’s seven zeroes), who joined on September 26.

As for her professional future, Kardashian — famous for being herself — had been working not as herself but as a co-star in Tyler Perry’s comedy, “The Marriage Counselor,” due out in 2012. Perry’s box-office record might save her from a better fate than her music video or her wedding. The first, according to Marie Claire, was “sunk without a trace … quickly buried by execs,” until “Jam (Turn It Up)” inevitably turned up online and sparked claims that the song had been meant for charity and presumably not for public consumption.

Then again, the missteps let fans do what the Kardashians do best: tell the painful truth with affection. On the star’s Celebuzz blog, englishrose commented on March 2:

“Kim! I admire you tons and your [sic] like my role model! Always supporting you hundred per cent of the way. But I don’t wanna say this but I’m speaking what I feel honestly, this song doesn’t do you any justice I don’t think, I totally get this must have been extremley nerv racking! [sic] But I’m not feeling you in this song!!! I think your [sic] better than this!! Loads of love from England!! xxxxxxx.”

As for the quickie divorce, paris33 posted November 2:

“hi kim. first of all i’m a major fan of urs. i think what a lot of fans love about u is that ur genuine and u dnt show off ur money viciously. HOWEVER watching the wedding fairy tale episodes i saw a very materialistic side 2 u… also kim i was ur number one fan HOWEVER u have majorly lied to ur fans right now, as i know for a fact E! gave u an amazing deal in order to record ur wedding!!! it is a fact. also u didnt give hello magazine ur wedding photos for free did you ?? therefore there was a profit made. i do Not in any way believe ur dole purpose of the wedding was money but please dont lie to ur fans who do not do anything but support u. i wish u all the luck. but lies arnt going to gain our support back xxx.”

Just keeping it reality.

The Yahoo! Year in Review editorial lead for five years running, Vera H-C Chan dissects news events, pop-culture idiosyncrasies, and online behavior to probe the “why” behind what’s hot online. On Yahoo!, her articles can be found in News, TV, Movies, and her Shine blog Fast-Talking Dame. Across the Net, there are remnants of contributions to a cultural travel guide, martial arts encyclopedia, movie criticism, business profiles, and A&E/features reporting.

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