Kanye West, Kim Kardashian Engaged: Inside Their Romance

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West
Find out how Kanye West and Kim Kardashian went from friends to husband and wife-to-be in nine years Theo Wargo/WireImage

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's engagement has been a long time coming.

Although the rapper, 36, and reality star, 33, are ready to live happily ever after with their 4-month-old daughter, North, their relationship didn't exactly start off like a fairy tale. In fact, West pursued Kim for years before she finally gave him a shot in spring 2012.

"I don't know why it took so long for us to get together," Kim revealed on "Oprah's Next Chapter" a few months later, "but I think I needed to go through all my experiences.”

About nine years' worth of experiences to be exact! After meeting in 2004, Kim and Kanye became friendly, but not romantic. He was still with longtime girlfriend/fiancée Alexis Phifer, while Kim was just getting out of her first marriage to Damon Thomas.

"You could tell there was a lot of chemistry though," says one insider close to the newly engaged couple.

[Headed to the Altar: Kim and Kanye's Romantic History in Photos]

Once Kanye became single man, he set his sights on Kim (apparently after seeing photos of her on vacation with Paris Hilton in 2006!). So why did it take so long to go from friend to fiancé?

"The timing seemed to be off," says one source close to Kim. "Mostly on her part."

Unfortunately for 'Ye, he had more than a few obstacles getting in the of what he wanted … namely Reggie Bush (at least twice), Miles Austin, Gabriel Aubrey, and Kim's ex-husband of 72 days, Kris Humphries. That's not to say Kanye didn't date while waiting around for Kim (remember Amber Rose?), but he always had Kardashian on his mind.

However, it wasn't until 2008 that Kim and Kanye really got to know each other…thanks to Jimmy Kimmel (how ironic).

"I should thank you right now, right?" Kim said during an appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" in June 2012. "I did meet him years before, but we really got to get to know each other on a show that you guys produced together."

Kim and Kanye both participated in a sketch for the failed Comedy Central show "Alligator Boots" that was produced by Kimmel's company. Kim once tweeted out a Throwback Thursday from the set in 2008.

"He definitely had his sights set on Kim," a source close to the newly engaged couple tells omg!. "But Reggie was still very much in the picture."

After Kim and Reggie split for good and Amber and Kanye were over, insiders say Kanye tried to pursue the reality star once again. Apparently at the time, Kim wanted to be single and enjoy her 20s.

In mid-2010, the notoriously private rapper shocked fans when he filmed a scene for "Kourtney and Kim Take New York" (if that's not a declaration of love from Kanye, then what is?). West made a surprise appearance at the Dash boutique, and his chemistry with Kim was palpable. The two were quite flirtatious, but apparently it still wasn't enough … and "single" and "Kim" hardly go hand in hand for long.

By December, Kim and Kris Humphries started dating, which Kanye later revealed was when he fell head over heels in love with the reality star. Although Kim and Kris married in August 2011 … that relationship was short lived.

West later rapped on the song "Theraflu": "And I admit I fell in love with Kim … 'Round the same time she fell in love with him … That's cool, baby girl, do your thing … Lucky I ain't had Jay drop him from the team."

But just how close did Kim and Kanye get over their years of friendship?

In January 2012, Amber Rose — who is now married to Wiz Khalifa — alleged that Kim tried to steal Kanye from her.

Rose stood by her claims during an interview with MTV, alleging that Kim sent Kanye pictures while they were dating, calling her a homewrecker. "I just had to put the truth out there and I had to get it off my chest," she said.

Sources close to Kardashian denied the accusation.

What we do know is that while Amber was busy talking to the media, Kanye was finally convincing Kim to give him a shot. The couple got together in March 2012 before finally going public in April.

So what finally won Kim over?

"It's very comforting to have someone that knows everything about you, that respects you, understands, has gone through the similar things," she told Oprah a few months later. "I can really relate to his mother passing. He can really relate to my father passing. I mean, there's so many similarities in our life that…I feel like I'm at a really happy, good space."

First came love…then came baby. Kim gave birth to their daughter "Nori" on June 15, 2013.

Kanye declared his devotion to Kim in August 2013 on her mother's talk show, "Kris."

"I just dreamed about being next to her," he revealed. "There's times when I wasn't with [Kim], I wanted be with her so bad I thought about taking up sports."

And since that interview, the rapper has not stopped declaring his love for Kim.

"Family time — it's what Kim gave me. She gave me everything. She gave me a family. She gave me a support system," he gushed to the BBC in September. "She was in a powerful enough situation where she could love me without asking me for money…which is really hard for me to find."

It may have been a nine year journey, but Kanye finally got what he wanted on Monday when he popped the question to his lady love at AT&T Park in San Francisco in front of friends and family — and she said yes!

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