Kanye West allegedly made his sex tape problem go away, but it may have been at the expense of both his pocketbook and his mental health.
Reports emerged this week that the rapper paid $250,000 to keep a sex tape from leaking to the public. Kanye’s cousin, Lawrence Franklin, said in an interview that Kanye slipped into paranoia about his closest friends after the incident, one of the major factors in his hospitalization last month for a reported nervous breakdown.
“The sex tape episode started his decline — he stopped trusting people,” Franklin said (via the the Daily Mail). “At the end of the day if a member of your family had taken you for a quarter of a million dollars — so they can complete their own ambitions — who can you trust within your circle?”
The Kanye West sex tape actually dated back close to four years, Franklin said, and caused quite a bit of drama among the West family when it first made the rounds. It was even a close family member that first put the screws to the rapper, Franklin claimed.
“I was at my aunt’s house when the family member who had the laptop called me, a friend of his, and my uncle to the kitchen where he opened the laptop to show a video of Kanye in clear view having sex with a fair-skinned black woman,” he shared. “The family member knew what he had was gold, and later called an old friend of his that was an attorney. He put together a small team him and his attorney went after Kanye, and to show that they meant business they leaked a little information publicly to let it be known they indeed had the footage. The family member tried to keep a low profile but it was not long before Kanye’s team learned who it was that had the sex tape.”
Kanye ended up coughing up $250,000 to keep the sex tape a secret, Franklin said, and the family member who got the payout went to live a lavish lifestyle. This added to Kanye’s already growing grief over his mother Donda’s death during a plastic surgery, Franklin noted.
Kanye West even turned the sex tape extortion into motivation for his work, Complex noted. On the song “Real Friends” from his album The Life of Pablo, Kanye rapped, “I had a cousin that stole my laptop that I was f***in’ b****es on/Paid that n***a 250 thousand just to get it from him.”
There had been rumors dating back to last year that Kanye West had used his wealth to stop a sex tape from being released. In early December 2015, reports indicated that a video with Kanye and an 18-year-old “Kim Kardashian look-alike” was floating around, and that Kanye used part of his $130 million net worth to make it go away.
“A Hollywood businessman who brokered other sex tapes with celebrities successfully negotiated the deal,” a source told Radar Online. “Kanye was very relieved! It would have been a disaster had it ever been released.”
The video was allegedly filmed long before Kanye started dating Kim Kardashian, but the release was being threatened at a very difficult time, just as Kim and Kanye were welcoming their second child. And it came just a few months after rapper Lil Wayne was allegedly threatened with the release of a sex tape showing the rapper with two women. A few weeks later, a video matching that description hit the internet.
The news of the video comes amid divorce rumors for Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, including reports that Kim has already met with a divorce lawyer.
Sources close to the couple say Kim has become fed up with Kanye’s erratic behavior, including his recent meeting with President-elect Donald Trump.
Whatever drama may be going on between the couple, it appears that Kanye West may have squashed his sex tape problem.
[Featured Image by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP Images]