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As news of Lamar Odom’s reported strides in his recovery continue to unfold, one persistent claim against the Kardashians is that they are responsible for his demise. And as reports surface that his estranged wife Khloe Kardashian has not left his side, she and her family can’t escape the accusation that they nearly drove him to his death.

Much like the other men associated with the family, including Bruce Jenner (now Caitlyn), Rob Kardashian and Scott Disick, Lamar’s deep emotional scars have been well-documented on the show. One thing is clear — the Kardashians are certified media opportunists.

Lamar is no doubt a victim, but it is, above all else, to his own demons. As much as the public may love and support him, we must also recognize that as a grown man, he alone is responsible for his own actions.

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Lamar has a long, well-documented history with substance abuse. In 2013, TMZ reported the former NBA star went missing for three days on a drug binge, with then-wife Khloe Kardashian unaware of his whereabouts. A month later, he was arrested for driving under the influence. It was rumored he checked into rehab shortly after, but the whispers among sources turned out to be untrue. Apparently, he was just “laying low,” a behavior similar to the drug binge he went on before he was found unconscious at a Nevada brothel last week.

MUST READ: Lamar Odom Transferred To L.A. Hospital As Former Coach Praises Khloe As His ‘Rock’

In spite of his profound success in the sport of basketball, Lamar’s turbulent life can’t be ignored. His father was addicted to heroin and his mother died of colon cancer when he was just 12 years old. Over the last few years, he lost one of his children to SIDS and two close friends, Jamie Sangouthai and Bobby Heyward, to their addictions. He buried his cousin and was later involved in a car accident that claimed the life of 15-year-old boy named Awsaf Alvi Islam. 

“I think the effects of seeing [my cousin] die and then watching this kid die, it beat me down,” Lamar told the Los Angeles Times. “I consider myself a little weak. I thought I was breaking down mentally.”

At the same time, his beloved L.A. Lakers, in an attempted messy trade to New Orleans for Chris Paul, left him feeling as if he were unwanted. Facing this perfect storm and an NBA lockout, it seemed Lamar was on the ultimate downward spiral.

All of this as he struggled under the weight of his newfound Hollywood celebrity identity: Khloe Kardashian’s husband.

Following his marriage to Khloe in 2009, Lamar was introduced to scores of women and non-sports fans solely as her veritable prince charming, and reduced to a side character on her storyline. But for a man who built a hugely-succesful career on his own profound talents, it was likely a great blow to his pride, no matter how much he loved her.

Then, the rumors of his infidelity to Khloe and the demise of his marriage began. Lamar seemed to be suffering blow after blow.

But at what point do we hold Lamar accountable for his fall from grace? Addicts are notoriously private and often masters of deception. True to form, Lamar’s talents, demeanor and the beautiful love he seemed to share with his wife Khloe, masked a very sick man, one who needed to value himself enough to seek help.

Still, it’s not to say that the Kardashians have not used the couple’s painful divorce for some gain. Following their split, Lamar reportedly begged his wife Khloe not to use him as a storyline, or air any scenes showing him calling her. The New York Post described them as destroying and exploiting for ratings. Lamar famously told TMZ that he had the right to shut the cameras out when he so chose. While that’s absolutely true, Lamar also knew what he was signing up for when he married into the biggest reality show family in history.

To many of those familiar with the show, it seems that Khloe is someone who deeply and genuinely cares for her ex-husband. She has not posted anything about Lamar, nor has she been seen since the news of his hospitalization broke. She’s been highly criticized for trying to stop the brothel owner from speaking about Lamar’s condition. But what wife would want a man like that speaking for her husband when he was unable to speak for himself?

It’s not to say that Khloe is perfect. It’s not to say that their relationship is optimal. But it is to say that the situation is likely far more complicated and painful than any of us may think it is. And, if she is faking her love for this man, she’s the best actress of her generation.

Ultimately, as Lamar makes the slow and steady climb to recovery, it will be critical for him to have love in his life, from both the public and those close to him. Whether it comes from the Kardashians or not, we hope he gets it.

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Are The Kardashians Responsible For Lamar Odom’s Near-Death Experience?  was originally published on