Kim Kardashian appears to be in the throes of soft-launching her supposed new “mystery man.” Rumors started circulating in the tabloids last week that the reality star had found a new object of affection, and—cosseted in the well-oiled PR machine that is her Hulu reality series, The Kardashians—Kim has confirmed the news herself.
Stage 1 of the rollout took place during the latest episode of The Kardashians, “Everything Is My Fault!,” during which Kim and Scott Disick sit down over dinner in Los Angeles.
After Disick asks her what her dating life has looked like recently—and the two commiserate over how difficult it is for Kim to enjoy pressure-less flings—Kim shares that she recently traveled to New York because her “friends wanted me to meet someone.” She met this “someone” at the same restaurant where she used to enjoy private dinners with ex Pete Davidson: “That’s, like, my spot because there’s a private room downstairs.” False media reports then surfaced the following day, reporting that Kim and Davidson had reconnected, when in reality she’d dined with “Fred.”
Laughing, Kim tells Disick, “[Pete]’s probably like, ‘Oh, I know what she’s up to.’”
Disick then continued, “I’m not even gonna ask you who, so let’s call this guy ‘Fred.’”
“Drop Dead Fred,” Kim adds. (An objectively great nickname.)
“Does he meet the standards?”
“Oh, so meets the standards.”
But Kim wants to make one thing clear as the episode unfolds: Her new relationship with Drop Dead Fred isn’t serious—not yet, anyway. As she shares during one of The Kardashians’ many so-called “confessional” interviews: “You obviously learn from every situation and the one thing I learned from my last [relationship with Davidson] was, like, the media made me feel like I was in a very serious relationship so quickly.”
To Disick, she then shares, “I just don’t want to date one person.”
But even her producers seem skeptical about this claim. In another confessional, Kim is depicted texting Fred, during which one off-camera producer remarks, “Two years, my ass,” referring to Kim’s supposed commitment to remain single for two years following her divorce from Kanye West (and her later breakup with Davidson).
But all this carefully presented gossip belies the question: Who is “Fred”? Our investigation has little to go on. He seems to live in New York City, or at least he visits often enough to stop by Kim’s restaurant of choice. He “meets the standards.” He’s perhaps not recognizable enough that the paparazzi would pick up on him visiting a restaurant at the same time as Kim. And Us Weekly reported on May 30 that, thus far, the relationship with Fred has consisted only of “subtle flirtations,” which could indicate he’s a private kind of guy.
“She’s not ready to be seen out on a date with anybody for the time being because she doesn’t want to make it a big deal,” a source told the outlet. “She knows once she’s seen on a date then things get blown out of proportion quickly, but there is somebody special she has her eye on so she’s excited about where things could go.”
Given the astounding absence of leads, there are no definitive possibilities for Fred’s secret identity just yet. To put it another way, Kim is in control of this particular launch—which seems exactly as the Skims founder would want it.
Lauren Puckett-Pope is a staff culture writer at ELLE, where she primarily covers film, television and books. She was previously an associate editor at ELLE.