From Amber Rose to Kim Kardashian, Every Woman Kanye West Has Dated Over the Years
Kanye West and Kim Kardashian were known for their over-the-top relationship, but in January, their romance came to an end when Kim filed for divorce after six years of marriage. The rapper now appears to be romancing model Irina Shayk, but long before they were even a thing, the Chicago rapper had quite a few high-profile relationships in the public eye. Let’s take a walk down memory lane to see every woman who stole the rapper’s heart over the years.
When Kanye was first starting out, he was still dating his high school girlfriend, Sumeke Rainey. Her father was the one who gifted Kanye with a box of Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, and Aretha Franklin records, which he later sampled on his 2004 debut album, College Dropout. It’s actually Sumeke’s voice you hear on the song “Get Em High” when a girl asks Kanye if he knows Kweli. In “Never Let Me Down,” he raps about the promise he made to her father on his deathbed that he’d eventually marry her: “Nothing sad as that day my girl’s father passed away / So I promised to Mr. Rainey I’m gonna marry your daughter.”
Their relationship didn’t last, and he hinted at the reason on Late Registration‘s “Touch the Sky.” “Sure enough, I sent the plane tickets / But when she came to kick it, things became different,” he raps. “Any girl I cheated on, sheets I skeeted on / Couldn’t keep it at home, thought I needed a Nia Long.” The exact date of their breakup is unclear, but it was likely sometime around the late ’90s.
Between 2002 and 2008, Kanye and fashion designer Alexis Phifer dated on and off. They met two years before the hype of College Dropout catapulted him to breakthrough success but broke up in 2004. By 2005 they’d reunited, and Kanye popped the question in 2006. Their relationship started to fall apart after Kanye’s mother, Donda, unexpectedly died following complications from a botched plastic surgery procedure, and ended for good in 2008.
“It’s always sad when things like this end, and we remain friends,” Alexis told People after they called off their engagement. “I wish him the best in his future and all of his endeavours. He’s one of the most talented people I’ve ever met.” Their breakup is said to have inspired many of the songs on his 808s & Heartbreaks album.
During his brief split from Alexis Phifer in 2004, Kanye struck up a romance with Brooke Crittendon. They met thanks to the aspiring actress’s job as an executive assistant at MTV News. He was in the midst of working on his 2005 album Late Registration, and things fizzled quickly. She went on to star in BET’s Harlem Nights, and chose to slam haters of her and Kanye’s relationship via MySpace. It appears ‘Ye did not approve of her DIY PR move, and subtly called her out on Pharrell’s “Number One”: “A-a-and you be givin’ me my space, a-a-and you don’t be runnin’ on MySpace.”
After starring in his “Flashing Lights” music video, rumors swirled that model Sessilee Lopez was involved with Kanye in 2008 fresh off of his breakup with Alexis Phifer. “Kanye was instantly smitten with Sessilee and it’s not hard to see why,” one of her “friends” revealed to Britain’s The Sun. “But it’s more than just looks for Kanye, they get on really well and have a deep connection.” Despite Kanye’s attraction, their relationship never progressed further than the tabloids.
After calling off his engagement with Alexis and being linked to Sessilee, Kanye began a two-year-long relationship with Amber Rose. For a second there, it really seemed like they were in it for the long haul. Sadly, their 2010 breakup was not amicable, since she accused him of cheating on her with future wife Kim Kardashian. Their drama-heavy split later went on to inspire songs like “Blame Game” on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (which has lyrics referencing the Philly native like, “You always said / ‘Yeezy, I ain’t your right girl’ / ‘You’ll probably find one of them “I like art”-type girls’ / All of the lights, she-was-caught-in-the-hype girl / And I was satisfied being in love with the lie”).
The bad blood between them simmered for years until it finally boiled over after Amber called Kylie Jenner and Tyga’s relationship “inappropriate.” Kanye made awful, slut-shaming comments about Amber, and later got in an epic Twitter feud with her ex Wiz Khalifa in January 2016. Things have calmed down between them since then.
For a few months toward the end of 2010, Kanye and model Selita Ebanks were rumoured to have hooked up. The former Victoria’s Secret Angel model is the star of his music video for “Runaway,” and they were seen at Paris Fashion Week together and taking in a tennis match at the US Open.
Kanye pined after Kim Kardashian for a long, long time (nine years, to be exact) before they finally got together. Kim was working as an assistant to Brandy in 2004 when she first met the “Famous” rapper. She was married to first husband Damon Thomas at the time, so nothing came of it. They reunited a few times over the next couple of years, but due to Kanye’s engagement to Alexis and Kim’s relationship with Reggie Bush, they still remained in the friend zone. It wasn’t until 2011 when Kim divorced Kris Humphries that the stars finally aligned. By 2013, Kanye had popped the question with an over-the-top San Francisco proposal, and in 2014, they tied the knot in Italy. Sadly, their relationship came to an end in January 2021 when Kim filed for divorce after six years of marriage. They have four kids together, daughters North and Chicago and sons Saint and Psalm.
Since his split from Kim, Kanye appears to have moved on with Irina Shayk. After much speculation, the two were spotted on a French getaway for Kanye’s 44th birthday in June 2021. According to Us Weekly, the two are dating and “getting to know one another. “He’s always thought she was beautiful and they’re both looking forward to seeing where this goes,” a source said.
Irina and Kanye have actually known each other for over a decade. She starred in his 2010 music video for “Power” and modeled in his 2012 Yeezy Paris Fashion Week show.