With daughters Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian by her side, an emotional Kris Jenner paid tribute to her late ex-husband Robert Kardashian, saying he taught the family about the importance of philanthropy and that he would be "very proud" of their success.
Robert Kardashian, perhaps best known as one of the lawyers on the successful defence team of O.J. Simpson during his murder trial, died in 2003 of esophageal cancer, years before his clan would become famous with the reality show "Keeping Up with the Kardashians." He was posthumously honored Monday night during the annual Angel Ball, which raises money for cancer research.
Jenner's voice cracked more than once as she spoke on behalf of the family. She noted that she met Kardashian when she was 17. "He kind of raised me, and we had four kids together."
Jenner said Kardashian taught her and her children about the need to donate some of their wealth to others.
"He taught me, and them, that no matter what you do in life — and he would have been very proud of us — and what you make, you give back, and you do it without saying a word, because that's what the Bible said, and we did," she said, through tears.
Jenner also took aim at those who have criticized the family's wealth and said they should be more charitable.
"People often say, 'Oh, you know, they do this, they do that, they don't give back' — yeah, we do, but we do it for things that don't need a loud voice," she said. "But after hearing so many stories tonight, and so many wonderful outcomes, I'm really glad we can be a voice."
The family gave a $250,000 check to Gabrielle's Angel Foundation for Cancer Research, the benefactor of the night's fundraising efforts.
The event, which raised nearly $3.7 million, attracted stars such as Hugh Jackman and the Duchess of York. Kim Kardashian had been expected to attend. It would have been her first public outing at a celebrity event since she was tied up and robbed at gunpoint in Paris last month. However, she didn't appear, and there were reports that her husband, Kanye West, had been hospitalized in Los Angeles for stress and exhaustion. When asked how the couple was doing, Jenner simply said, "They're good."