Keeping Up With the Kardashians says goodbye: A behind-the-scenes look at one of the biggest reality shows ever
Well, dolls, the end has come.
After 20 seasons of sharing their lives, loves, and losses on E!'s Keeping Up With the Kardashians, matriarch/momager Kris and her daughters Kourtney, Kim, Khloé, Kendall, and Kylie (alongside a baby daddy or two and a batch of kids) have wrapped the final chapter of their iconic reality show.
Produced by Ryan Seacrest and Bunim/Murray Productions, the unscripted series premiered on Oct. 14, 2007, and aired its final episode on June 10, 2021. It's been an eventful 14 years for the show, both in front of and behind the cameras. Documenting a family's (almost) every move is no small feat. Indeed, it took a dedicated crew (some of whom have been there since KUWTK's inception) to capture all those iconic moments. There's been heartbreak, trauma, hilarity, so many babies, and nary a hair out of place, and it has taken a village to ensure all those stories were shared with — and dissected by — a captivated audience.
While the star power of the cast was a huge reason for the show's longevity, the crew who've documented all the drama are every bit as responsible for its super-long run. Since we don't (often) get to see those folks on screen, EW tracked down several of the series' crew members, from executive producers to lighting supervisors, to learn just how we've been able to keep up with the Kardashians all these years.
MEET THE CREW
FARNAZ FARJAM, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: [For an executive producer], your responsibilities change with every year and as people's personalities, desires, expectations, and lifestyles change. You have to adapt and change with it. In the beginning, I was definitely more like a friend. I developed this really close friendship with the cast, especially Kris Jenner. I was so embedded in their lives that it was really easy for me to know everything that was going on. And it was really easy for me to be able to capture all the stories and all the moving pieces, just because if they had a party, I was invited, so I could capture everything. They were more accessible.
I had direct communication with them to keep track of their calendars and what they had going on, which wasn't a ton back then — for later seasons, there was a different assistant for each person. Even to plan a family trip — oh my God, to find a date to plan a family trip. That used to be so easy in the beginning, like, "We're going to go at the end of September." "Okay, great. Block out this time to this time." Now it's like, "Well, I can't go at the end of September because I already have this commitment" and "I can't go at the top of October because I have that," and I'm like, "Oh my God, how do I find six days to put you guys together?"
AMANDA WEINSTEIN, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: My job was to gain access and have a relationship with them. I was constantly in contact with them, figuring out what's going on. Their worst moments, their best moments — it's just being there for them and going through that. You're in these moments that are so special, and we were also there when things weren't that easy. So I was a fly on the wall with them and got access to shoot a lot of things myself. We shot a lot with iPhones. It was also my job to oversee the day-to-day of everything we were shooting, making sure it's tracking their story, and working with post, working with camera, just overseeing all the different departments that really make the show go.
RYAN MCLAUGHLIN, LEAD CAMERA OPERATOR: I was the lead camera operator and director of photography backup. My job duties would include setting up car cameras for scenes where they'd be in the car, shooting our primary photography, and when we'd go on location I had the camera on my shoulder eight hours a day documenting all of that, catching everything. And then on top of that, we'd also set up interviews, making sure the look was perfect. [I also worked] with the opening titles, coming up with the creative on how to best tell each story [and] give the Keeping Up With the Kardashians style for opening credits. There's also drone operating. So it was a lot.
LANDON HOSTO, LIGHTING SUPERVISOR: I'm in charge of all the lighting — lighting their houses and interviews with them. My director of photography and I, we'll go out to restaurants and light them in a way where it doesn't look as lit, but they still look beautiful. Regular lighting is not as glamorous as it should be, so I come in and supplement it with my lights. That's basically the gist. It was always a challenge. Every day was a challenge, a new Lego piece we had to figure out.
ERIN PAXTON, AUDIO SUPERVISOR: I started as a production manager who handled the scheduling of the crew, and I slowly started to move more into producing and showrunning, and I realized that it was not for me. It's just a 24-hour, nonstop, seven-days-a-week job. But I loved the family so much that I didn't want to leave the show. I'm very technical by nature, and I've dabbled in audio on previous shows before, so I taught myself how to do audio. And then I became an audio mixer on the show, and eventually the audio supervisor. I was the audio supervisor for the past eight years, which is crazy because I always think that I was a producer on the show longer than I was an audio supervisor, but now it has flipped after the last few years.
CESAR CASTILLO, FIELD PRODUCER/PRODUCER: My job evolved. A lot of field producers do different things on other shows than what I was doing on Kardashians. On any day, I could be told, "You're going to Paris. Go home and pack a bag." Or "you're going to New York tomorrow" or "you're leaving in two hours." I always had a bag packed. I went on vacation and packed extra clothes in my bag, just in case they needed me to go somewhere in the middle of my vacation, which usually happened. When the big crew was hanging out and filming some of the other cast members, and let's just say Kim had a photo shoot or Kim had to go to Vegas for the day, they would send me along with her. I would do audio. I would produce and film all at the same time. I'd sit there and look for stories that we'd want to air on the show.
SELE LEOTA, SENIOR SUPERVISING STORY PRODUCER: I landed on Kardashians right at the beginning of my career. I started as a logger and then worked up through the ranks on the show. In the last few years, I've been supervising producer, since about 2016. In TV, supervising producer stands for a lot of things, but basically I was head of the creative process, head of story. I was Amanda [Weinstein], the showrunner's, number two in the field, shaping the creative and talking the cast through the story and directing. Essentially, if Amanda wasn't there, it was me. Together, we would report to our boss, Farnaz [Farjam]. It's like reverse writing because there isn't a script. We were also in charge of the confessionals. They were talking to the camera, but we were in there, not prompting them necessarily, but asking them things that an audience member would ask them to help make sense of what they're watching. Sometimes cast members — as on all unscripted shows — look at producers as therapists.
GLEN GOTTLIEB, CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: When I first started on the show, I was just part of the machine, in a sense where I was helping the editors and prepping and doing all these menial tasks — basically big parts of the show that are just not as glamorous and don't get the shine. The people that do them now are super important to the team. I really didn't have much of a creative input compared to where I am now, where I'm making all the decisions with my other producing partners on the show. Amanda, who was the executive producer in the field, she and I basically were counterparts to each other — we were the decision-makers. It really is a team. We had a group of six producers that worked together to make the show what it was, along with the rest of the crew. Everybody has a vital job.
LANDING THE JOB
FARJAM: I was at Bunim/Murray [Productions]. I had just finished a series called The Simple Life with E!, so I had a really close relationship with [network executives] Damla Dogan and Jason Salarnis at the time. So when this series became an option, I think Damla and Jason automatically thought of me, that I could work really well with the family.
WEINSTEIN: I worked for [production executives] Jeff Jenkins and John Murray as their assistant, and then I expressed my interest in the show and [Jeff] was like, "Oh, let me put you on it in the field and see if you like it." And so I just snowballed into loving the show from afar and then working for Jeff, who was the executive producer of the show, and then onto the show.
MCLAUGHLIN: I was fresh out of film school from San Francisco, looking to get my foot in production, so I came on as a PA in 2011 and worked my way up. I had a really good relationship with the director of photography, Andrei [Cranach], and the other camera operators at the time, Greg Barnes and Ryan Purugganan, and they took me under their wing. I'd always had a passion for camera [operating], and they allowed me to really blossom and grow. And I ended up becoming a lead camera operator for many seasons, and even got a chance to be director of photography on a couple of trips in, like, season 18.
HOSTO: My friend, Andre, who was the DP, called me up and said, "Hey, what are you doing for the next three weeks? We got this little reality gig. It should be quick and easy." I started [during] the season when Khloé got married. At the end of those three weeks I was there, she got engaged, and all of a sudden they wanted us to do a wedding show and then a spin-off show. After that, there was no break. It just kept going.
PAXTON: I was working on another show at Bunim/Murray and they put me on [Kardashians]. I started in season 3. Bunim/Murray really promotes from within and pulls people to their strengths, and it's such a family over there that I think it really allows people to shine in what they want to do, which is a great thing in this industry.
CASTILLO: In 2008, I was living on my father's couch. I had lost my apartment. I'd proposed to my girlfriend. She said no. It was awful. I quit production and was going to go back to school to become an EMT when a friend called and said, "Hey, there's a show that's gearing up in Miami. You want me to tell the lady here you're looking for work?" I said, "I don't do production work anymore." But then the line producer calls me, this woman called Lauralee [Jarvis Rausch]. I'd worked with her two years prior on a different show. She said, "Hey, I could really use you on the show. I have this job. It's called the release coordinator. You wouldn't have to PA." I was just like, "Screw this. I gotta get out of here. I can't sleep on my dad's couch anymore." So I took the gig and had no idea what I was doing.
LEOTA: I found a job on [Project] Runway over at Bunim/Murray. It was very early into my career, after college, and I was doing scene-logging, and I went to H.R. and asked for a job and they were like, "Oh, they need a second field logger for Keeping Up With the Kardashians — this was season 5. The position was to be the person taking notes of everything that was talked about in the scene. My first day on the job was at Kim's housewarming party when she lived in Beverly Hills. One thing led to another, and this was right around the time when they were starting to film full-time. It was supposed to be a temporary thing. Then I got asked to do the next season and the next season, then I moved around from position to position. I actually got pulled into the post-[production] side of things after that first season, and then I stayed in the post world for about five or six years, until moving back into the field. That was when Farnaz stepped back as showrunner and was looking for people to step into her role.
MEETING THE CAST
FARJAM: Kim was the only one I had met before, but I didn't really have a relationship with her. She just happened to be at Paris Hilton's house when we were shooting there once. She was helping Paris reorganize her closet. Another time we were at her house, Paris was not happy with her hair and makeup and wasn't going to finish her interviews and Kim stepped in and saved the day and found someone, and they sent them over and they redid Paris, and Paris did her interviews. So I didn't know her on a personal level until we started this.
In the beginning, Khloé always made me laugh. Kylie was the fiery little girl who loved to play to the cameras. I'm sure "I'm the queen of the world" is like a big famous line. Kendall was a bit more reserved and shy. In season 1, Caitlyn [Jenner] was probably the toughest one for me because she had started losing endorsements that first season, and I think she probably saw her career flash before her eyes, so she was like, "You guys, don't!" Blah, blah, blah. Little did she know that it was all going to turn around. And then I loved Kourtney, but I was scared of her at the same time.
WEINSTEIN: My first significant day that I remember was Kim's wedding to Kris Humphries. I met my husband, Ryan [McLaughlin], on the show, and the first day we met was at Kim's wedding.
MCLAUGHLIN: It was such a blessing. I was brought on a little bit before Kim's wedding, and I remember as a PA you're asked to do a lot of different things, whether it's get lunch or hold a light panel, and it was a fun experience early on.
HOSTO: I remember going in and the previous one or two seasons they didn't have a dedicated lighting guy. So it was just the camera guys setting up a couple of lights. I came in and was like, "This looks like trash. We need to establish a lighting look." I also come from scripted, so I wanted to bring in big lights and block it. The producer was quick to be like, "Okay, we can't have lights in the frame and it's 360, so we're going all over the place." It really changed my lighting style. I don't think they realized how important lighting was for making you look good. I knew right away this family had a bunch of beautiful women and they're just in their house — we have to make them look beautiful at all times. The DP and I came up with a little plan for how to light their houses and then carry around a little extra light that follows them and makes them look extra glamorous at all times.
As their fame grew, so did their houses. Kim started out with this little apartment on Robertson [Boulevard], and Kourtney had a townhouse. They were all in houses where I could drill my lights into the wall. As their houses grew and they got crazy-expensive wallpaper, I wasn't able to drill anymore. I was like, "Oh my gosh, how am I going to do this?" This company, Light Gear, has the most amazing LEDs. I'd hooked up with them early on and we'd just put LEDs everywhere in the house, and because they're so light, I'd use tape instead of drilling. So then I wouldn't get the evil eye from Kris Jenner — like, "What you doing? Why are you ripping up my wallpaper?"
PAXTON: I don't remember my first day, but I do remember meeting Khloé in the lobby at Kris Jenner's house, and she was just so bubbly and friendly. I remember thinking, 'These guys are fun, and I love fun.' So I knew at that time it was going to be a really, really good fit.
CASTILLO: My first day on set, we were split up into two groups, and I was the night guy — we showed up at like 4:45 and we'd shoot all night. I feel like this was the best part of Kardashians because once they got older and started getting married and having kids, they got really boring. They had to grow up at some point. But when they were all single in Miami, they were going out every night and we were filming it. We'd go film in whatever club they were at. My first or second day on the job, we went to some club. I was very green and just sitting there with my clipboard in my hands, trying to do my releases, and I guess the girls wanted to dance with somebody and I just happened to be standing somewhere near them. They walked over to me and sandwiched me in this weird, grind-y kind of deal. That ended up airing in the first episode of Kourtney and Kim Take Miami. Things ended up slowing down because we all knew Kourtney was pregnant with Mason. When that season ended, Farnaz walked over to me and said, "Hey, great job this season. If you are ever in L.A., there's a job waiting for you." I don't even know what came over me, but I just said, "Yeah, sure." I packed my bags, and three weeks later on my birthday I'm driving to L.A. by myself. I got there July 15, 2008, and I've been there ever since.
LEOTA: In my mind I was like, Oh my God, these people are actually like this,' I think the very first thing I remember seeing was Kim shoving a cupcake in Kris' face. She had just moved into this place and was very particular about how clean everything was. They were just so fun right off the bat. I'd watched a couple of episodes going into it and wondered how much of that was just the hand of the producer, but truthfully they are a fun group of people. Kris is still very much this hilarious person. It almost seemed like she was willing to do anything for a laugh because she just wanted to enjoy herself. I'm sure if you watch these episodes very carefully, you can hear my cackling.
GOTTLIEB: They weren't nearly the stars they are now. When I joined, it was like the cute family show. Right after I joined, probably about eight months later, is when they really blew up. It was probably in between seasons 1 and 2 of Miami. So I knew who they were and didn't really have much of an opinion. But it went from, "Oh, you work on the Kardashians, I know that show" to "Oh my God, you work on the Kardashians!" That was when I started to recognize, 'Oh, this actually has some reach.'
PRIVATE CHOPPERS AND FIVE-STAR HOTELS
HOSTO: I got to go to so many cool places. We went to Greece, Thailand, St. Barts, London, France. Being with them, we didn't stay at the Motel 8. Because production wanted to be close to them, they didn't want to lose any time getting the crew from the cheap hotels to the rich hotels, so you had to stay at the rich hotels.
PAXTON: This show has allowed me to see the world: Japan, Cuba, Bora Bora, Costa Rica. I mean, some of the craziest places I never even dreamt of going to. And when we go on these trips, they're these crazy adventures together, and we're all a unit, and it's such a beautiful thing. I've never, ever worked on a show before or after that has been so filled with laughter and craziness.
CASTILLO: We went to Armenia and it was pandemonium. I call it the "Michael Jackson syndrome" — it's like when he used to go to Europe and he'd be chased by mobs of people. That's what it's like when they're in Armenia. All the fans have gifts and they know the crew!
LEOTA: So I went to Tahoe. I did Wyoming, Bali, Costa Rica, Vail. Bali was really wild to me because it was so spread out and open, so on a production schedule the only way we could get around was by helicopter. I remember thinking, 'I just feel like I'm taking an Uber.' I got really comfortable with it. I know that sounds bizarre.
MCLAUGHLIN: There was this moment a couple of years ago where I got all kinds of things going up on my Facebook and texts. And there was an article written about me saying I was, like, the world's sexiest cameraman. It was so funny how being so close to the sun, with the girls, I got this really funny article out of it.
WEINSTEIN: We were in St. Barts and there was a paparazzi photo that came out of Ryan walking with Kendall, and it was like, "Who's Kendall's mystery guy?" And we all were dying because it was Ryan carrying his camera gear behind him, but he didn't have the camera in his hand.
HOSTO: Kim and Khloé were my favorites. They were closer in age to me, and Kim being Kim, she was very generous with her time. She was so nice. The first time I met her, she was a stylist with Brandy on a hair commercial I did. To see her rise to what she is now, this mogul fashion icon, is amazing.
PAXTON: Khloé is one of my closest friends. We text every weekend. Funny enough, she's really good at mic-ing herself. I've taught her a few things, so she knows a little bit about audio. It's like a joke between us. We drop our audio rig in the back of their cars when they do car cameras, and sometimes we'll go somewhere and they'll end in a location and I'll be like, "Khloé, will you hit stop and grab everyone's mics in the car." And she's like, "I got you, Pax. Don't worry."
LEOTA: I was probably closest with Khloé and Kris. Kris was one of my faves to produce because she would drop these references no one on set would understand that would make me die laughing. I remember one time she brought up Doctor Zhivago, and nobody on the crew knew what it was. If I had to pick a person to take out for drinks, it would be Kris.
CASTILLO: Khloé and I are the closest. Right before she left for Cleveland, I gave her this cross, rosary beads that had been in my family. The episode where they tell the crew they're ending the show, Khloé shares a story in an interview about how one of her camera guys moved to Dallas with her and spent Christmas with her. She's talking about me. We didn't know what Lamar [Odom, her ex-husband] was going to end up doing because he was working. So she ended up spending the day alone, and I was just like, "Well, I'm actually in Dallas right now, so I'll come visit you."
GOTTLIEB: I've had a closer relationship with Khloé. Seeing her star rise and seeing her change, watching her whole storyline evolve, watching her finally have a baby — that was super exciting. When I started she was just partying and having fun. To see them all grow into parents is amazing. For her specifically, I think the fans wanted to see her finally have a child, and so to see her with True is really great.
A HARD DAY'S WORK
FARJAM: I will say the pranks on Kris Jenner were really hard. Pranks are sometimes the hardest to plot out and make sure they're perfect because the joke is on someone and you want that someone to really get it. You don't want it to fall flat.
Obviously anytime there's a breakup or a relationship issue, it's really hard to navigate and plan because this thing has happened, and they still have a conversation that needs to happen that they're hesitant to have, and now you're pushing them to have that conversation on camera. You don't want to exploit anyone's pain, but they're getting paid to live their lives on camera and tell their stories. When the Caitlyn and Kris Jenner thing happened, we probably postponed and pushed and rescheduled the Kris portions a lot because she was going through a lot emotionally, and she would think she brought herself there, and then all of a sudden she would chicken out at the last minute.
WEINSTEIN: It was a lot of moving on the fly. For trips, it's obviously a bit more planned out. We would have a scout crew that would go and check things out and figure out how we are going to follow them. We would know where the family wanted to go and plan as best we could. But it didn't always go that way. And then they'd get there and we'd want to go somewhere different, and things would evolve. So you just always were trying to plan the best you could, but things changed constantly.
MCLAUGHLIN: I was really proud of the way our team handled COVID. I mean, it was such an issue getting cameras in the right place, lighting in the right place. Kim had to flip a switch that would turn on a camera and the light. And I give a lot of credit to our team because we made it really easy and efficient for them to tell their story while they were in COVID [lockdown].
HOSTO: It could be really hard. There's been a couple of times where our humanity got in the way of our producing and we just stepped out, gave them time, and came back in. We are close enough where we can hug each other and talk it out. They're still humans at the end of the day. They go through heaven and hell, and because we're there for so long, we go through our own heaven and hell and share that, and that's our bonding time.
PAXTON: For me, the more cast members, the more complicated — something like inner tubing [or] whitewater rafting where they're all separated and water is involved, because the mics work by proximity to the audio bag, [and] it's not like you can really throw the audio bag in a river raft and take it down. Or we've been zip-lining a bunch, so we would place somebody on one of the landings where they're leaving and then place somebody on the other side where they're being received so that you track that and you can try to have audio all the way down, the screaming and whatever. So stuff like that is complicated and difficult, but I like a challenge.
LEOTA: Two things were the hardest: Kim's robbery and Khloé's breakup interviews. Kim is very open. On the day of filming, myself or Amanda walk in to just touch base with them, like, "Hey, we're here. Can we put a mic on you and start rolling?" I remember the very first day we saw Kim after her robbery, it was when she was talking with her sisters on the couch. We were horrified and scared about how to approach her — not that she was scary, but you just don't know. But she insisted. I think for her it was good to be around her sisters and just continue filming because that's her life. I think it was important for her to keep a routine. She was very gracious, really happy to see the crew. But I remember the pit in my stomach and [thinking], 'I can't believe I have to go in there.' Then there was Kim's interview and Khloé's interview where they broke down separately. By that point we had become really invested in them as people, so we all started crying. There was a part of me that was like, 'Just keep talking,' but I really couldn't. I was sobbing trying to get to the next question. Those were hard days. That's a testament to why they got to where they got and why the show lasted so long.
CASTILLO: The day after Kim was robbed in Paris — she had flown from Paris to New York that morning — my boss called me into the office and she said, "We're going to put you on a plane in a few hours. Go home pack a bag." I'm like, "Oh, I already have a bag in the car." I jumped on a private jet, flew to New York City, and landed at three o'clock in the morning. By 9:00 a.m., I was with Kim driving back to Teterboro Airport and jumped on the plane. As we were taking off, Kim is telling her mom her story. I was able to shoot her telling the story for the first time, which is pretty crazy. That was one moment I wasn't as excited to be on a private jet. It was extremely personal. It's crazy to think you're watching somebody tell their story — you can see it in their eyes and in their face, their expressions. She was crying, and then you hear these stories of people talking about how it was fake and it gets you angry.
HOSTO: We definitely took our time with Kim [after the robbery]. She was open about it. She gave us the boundaries of what she was comfortable with, and we did take our time. There's times when we're shooting at her house and because I'm the lighting director, I have to go in first and turn on all the lights, so I always have to knock and make sure everything's okay. There was a time where we were filming in her bedroom and I had to put up a couple of lights and I just felt so odd, but also she was just so generous and welcoming. That time I could tell she was going through something. When she told us what she went through? There's nothing short of the strength that she had to keep on going.
GOTTLIEB: [The hard times] are what makes the show relatable. It doesn't matter how big of celebrities they are, you will always have something to relate to. People go watch the show for escapism and to see this glamorous life they live, but also for that aspect of relatability, which is about family and the little everyday struggles that everybody deals with, no matter how much money you have, no matter how much fame you have.
The biggest challenge we have is keeping things fresh. So from our standpoint, we have to keep a tight lid on the things that aren't public yet, and that's really hard because you want to make sure you're showing things that people don't know yet. Information is so accessible to the public, and social media and the internet make things immediately available. We made it happen all the time. I think we were always surprising viewers, but that was definitely a very difficult task.
THE MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS
FARJAM: The episode with Kim's engagement [to Kanye West] was just breathtaking and really fun to edit because we were playing with RED cameras and all these fun toys. I mean, Kourtney's birth to Mason, that moment where her water breaks and she has a pan underneath her, and she's just walking around and then showering all calmly after, that always makes me laugh. All the times that the girls tortured Kris when she fell asleep in the early years, where they would put spaghetti on her head and stuff like that. Oh my God, there was this one trip where we were in Thailand and we put all of the family on those dragon boat things, and our DP wanted to get a specific shot. We probably shouldn't have put them in this, but the DP has the motor boat going in circles trying to get this crazy shot of the family. And now the family's boats are teetering side to side, and Kris is texting me ready to murder me. And I had to scream at our DP "Stop!" all the way across the ocean.
WEINSTEIN: I filmed all of Khloé's doctor's appointments when she was pregnant with an iPhone, just kind of going along on that journey with her. Filming her birth with True, that six hours was the most special time to me. And I remember after she gave birth to him, I called Ryan and I was like, "I feel like I could do it." And we just had a baby, and they threw us a baby shower, which was just on [an episode this season]. So I feel like going through Khloé's entire pregnancy was really special to me.
MCLAUGHLIN: During COVID, we weren't expecting to have a baby shower, and the family and crew all got together and surprised us with this beautiful moment that we didn't think we were going to have given the circumstances. And because the crew and cast were like family to us, it really felt special. And it was something I'm going to tell our son about, [and] show him the tape. It really meant a lot to my wife and me.
A second fond memory would be our trip to Armenia. I am a huge Kanye West fan, and we got to go with Kanye and Kim, and it was great to shoot and work with him. But one night while we were in Armenia, he had this idea that he wanted to put on an impromptu concert for the people there, give his wife's people a really good show. So within the span of a couple of hours, he gets a show together, speakers, lighting, everything, and they put it together right on the edge of this lake. And I've got a little 5D camera there, and he starts the show, and someone pushes me out, and I'm away from Kanye shooting the show. It was such a moment for me, going full circle from listening to Kanye at basketball practice when I was in high school to filming him giving this amazing impromptu concert to thousands of people in Armenia. He then jumps in the lake at the end, and I jumped in right after him just to get the best footage. I'm getting chills talking about it.
HOSTO: Two great moments really touched me. The first was when Khloé was away from Lamar and she made this video of her in a tub of candy, and we shot it in slow motion. It was so weird. Then we were there, shooting Lamar getting the video and watching it and his reaction. I have a wife, and if my wife did that to me, I would have the same reaction. I couldn't stop laughing. He couldn't stop laughing. He was so proud, but it was funny. Another time, we were in Thailand, and we took them all to this sea cave. I think it was a dormant volcano. To get inside the volcano, you're on these kayaks and you get in when the tide is up. So we're all trying to filter in and each kayak had its own Thai guide. Each cast member was on their own, but they had a guide who was paddling them and guiding them through. So no one really thought of how to communicate with them. It was just a clusterf---.
PAXTON: When Khloé was pregnant and announced that to the family, I was trying to get pregnant and hadn't told anyone. I know that she's always wanted kids, and we've always shared that journey, talking about that, so when she announced that she was pregnant, I remember I just was bawling, crying with joy. I remember being so happy for her.
CASTILLO: When I first moved to L.A., we started season 4 of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Literally our first day on the show, they called everyone back into the office and said, "Hey guys. We're going to stop for a little bit of season 4." We're like, "Oh my God, what happened?" They're like, "We have 13 days to produce a wedding." That's when we found out that Lamar and Khloé had gotten engaged and were going to get married in 13 days.
GOTTLIEB: I'll tell you a funny little anecdote that is a testament to them being great and relatable people. We had a wrap party a few seasons ago where we went roller-skating. I went to take a picture and punched Kris Jenner in the face, accidentally. That was hilarious and petrifying. It became a big joke and something that I'd never live down. People should realize that they are just like you and me. They deal with the same silliness and fun that you and I would go through, and they're just rolling with the punches. I think people assume because they're celebrities that they react differently to things, but it's not the truth.
THAT'S A WRAP
FARJAM: There have been times when I think the family felt burnt out because it's hard to share your life all the time, and hard for people to constantly tell you how you should be feeling, and "How could you do this?" when you're trying to sort through your own emotional pain. There's been a couple of times where I'm like, 'I wonder how much more they have left in them.' As much as I love the crew and the family, and didn't want the series to end — I could have shot it for another 10 years — it felt like the right time. I felt like they really needed a break.
I love that we stopped on a season where Kourtney was living her best life. That makes me happy. Khloé was very positive while we were filming everything. Kim was going through her private struggles, but I think she had her growth within this last year or two. Turning 40 and all those things made her realize what she wanted for herself. So it just felt like a good time. I mean, obviously your cliffhanger is now Kim's single, but we didn't leave it like, "What's going to happen with them?" You kind of knew what was going to happen.
WEINSTEIN: I'm going to miss the crew and cast, the family we built. I still talk to them, and we all have relationships that will go far beyond the show, but just the fact that we got to see each other every day and we no longer get to — it's quite a life adjustment after nine years.
MCLAUGHLIN: It's a family unit, and I have so many good friends on the show. Kim, Kourtney, Khloé, Kris, Kendall, Kylie, Kanye — everyone is going to be so missed because when working with them for so long, you create a relationship with them. We still have their phone numbers and keep in contact, but it's just not the same. So it's definitely bittersweet that it's over, but I'm sure we'll see them in the future.
HOSTO: The biggest thing I will miss is my crew family. You don't spend 12 years, 10 hours a day with someone and not have them become family. We've also established little shorthand jokes. We were constantly trying to make each other laugh.
PAXTON: I'm telling you, I would follow them to the ends of the earth. They are some very, very special people, and they have treated me like family. Kim came to my wedding, and Khloé supported me while I was trying to get pregnant. People always say, "Oh, they're just famous for being famous." And I feel like it's my life goal to tell them what special, kind, hardworking, amazing people they are. And yes, if they start filming again and want me back, I would go in a heartbeat.
CASTILLO: I'll miss my friends, man. They're my family. We didn't get to have the final party, the final goodbye, because of COVID. In one of the final episodes, we go to Tahoe and toward the end of filming it was like, "Okay, we gotta go. The cast has got to catch their plane." I didn't have a chance to run around and say goodbye to everyone. I didn't know it was going to be the last time. I remember being choked up and then being whisked away to fly back with the cast. It was such an awful moment, but I'm grateful.
LEOTA: There was a lot of fatigue on this show, but people stuck it out because of their loyalty and love for the family. To say we have the energy to keep going and going... I don't think that's an accurate picture of it. It was really, really hard. So to hear it was ending was bittersweet, but there was this pressure released as well. I remember in 2012, because we work freelance, everyone was like, "Oh, when are you going to jump on the next thing?" I said, "Oh, I feel like I need to see this out." Had you told me it was going to go all the way until 2021? We were all invested at that point. We needed to see it out despite how hard it was. It had to be done.
GOTTLIEB: I think what I'm going to miss is working with these people that are so loved by the world. I'm a part of one of the most iconic shows in television history, and to work with this family has been amazing. That's going to be gone, and you move on to the next thing, and I don't know if anything's ever going to touch it again. That's what I'm going to miss. You have a peak of your career — and I don't want to call this my peak because I am moving on to other things that are just as big and I'm excited — but there's just something different about the Kardashians. You don't even have to say the show title — you just say the name. It's a whole different thing.
These interviews have been edited for length and clarity.