The rapper’s recent string of erratic tweets prompted his wife to comment on his mental health for the first time
Laura Snapes – The Guardian
Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West at the Vanity Fair Oscar party, Los Angeles in February 2020. Photograph: Danny Moloshok/Reuters
Kim Kardashian West has spoken for the first time about her husband Kanye West’s bipolar disorder after he posted and deleted a string of erratic tweets regarding his family life after the launch of his presidential campaign in Charleston, South Carolina, on Monday.
“Those who are close with Kanye know his heart and understand his words sometimes do not align with his intentions,” she wrote on her Instagram Stories.
The fashion and reality TV mogul said she had previously avoided commenting on West’s mental health in order to protect her children and West’s right to privacy. In breaking that silence, she said she wished to address the “stigma and misconceptions” surrounding mental health.
She wrote: “Those that understand mental illness or even compulsive behaviour know that the family is powerless unless the member is a minor. People who are unaware or far removed from this experience can be judgmental and not understand that the individual themselves have to engage in the process of getting help no matter how hard family and friends try.”
In the US, involuntary hospitalisation and treatment is deemed to violate an individual’s civil rights. An individual must pose a danger to themselves or others in order to be held, for evaluation only, which typically lasts no longer than 72 hours. An elderly or “gravely disabled” person may be placed under a conservatorship. Britney Spears has been subject to such an arrangement since she experienced a breakdown in 2008, which has given rise to controversy over its appropriateness to her situation.
West was willingly admitted to hospital in 2016, after an emergency call regarding his welfare during a period of erratic behaviour.
Kardashian West added: “I understand Kanye is subject to criticism because he is a public figure and his actions at times can cause strong opinions and emotions. He is a brilliant but complicated person who on top of the pressures of being an artist and a black man, who experienced the painful loss of his mother, and has to deal with the pressure and isolation that is heightened by his bipolar disorder.”
West has been subject to more widespread media attention than usual since he announced his presidential campaign in early July. While he is not thought to have filed official paperwork, he has tweeted asking fans to get him on the ballot in certain states.
In Charleston on Monday, he gave a rambling address referencing the terms of his deal with Adidas for his fashion brand Yeezy, his faith in God and racism in the US, including an assertion that “[abolitionist] Harriet Tubman never actually freed the slaves, she just had the slaves go work for other white people”. He has since expressed doubt over whether to continue with his run this year, or postpone until 2024.
Kardashian West asked the media and the public to give their family “compassion and empathy” and thanked those who had expressed concern for her husband’s wellbeing. “We as a society talk about giving grace to the issue of mental health as a whole, however we should also give it to the individuals who are living with it in times when they need it the most,” she wrote.