Blac Chyna made a slow but steady rise from a fast food worker, stripper and model to now a plaintiff suing fellow reality television figures, her attorney told a jury Tuesday as her defamation case against members of the Kardashian/Jenner clan began in a downtown courtroom.
Attorney Lynne Ciani said in her opening statement to a Los Angeles Superior Court panel that one of the biggest events in young Chyna’s life was falling in love with rapper Tyga after appearing in one of his videos in 2011, and later giving birth to their son, King Cairo, who is now 9 years old.
“Her professional life was taking off, her personal life was taking off,” Ciani said as she began laying out her client’s defamation claims.
Chyna, whose real name is Angela White, alleges socialites Kim and Khloe Kardashian, their mother, Kris Jenner, and sister, Kylie Jenner, made false statements about her, causing her to lose considerable money from the cancellation of the “Rob & Chyna” show — a reality series the model appeared in with former fiancÃ© Rob Kardashian.
The lawsuit alleges defamation and interference with prospective economic advantage.
Chyna alleges the four women falsely claimed she physically abused Rob Kardashian while they were a couple. Rob Kardashian recently dropped a separate lawsuit he filed against Chyna over the alleged beating.
In her suit brought in November 2017, Chyna maintains that E! would have gone forward with a second season of “Rob & Chyna” but for the allegedly false statements made against her by the Kardashian and Jenner women to network representatives in late 2016 and early 2017.
In her opening statement, Ciani said Chyna was born in Washington, D.C., and she worked at fast food restaurants, including McDonald’s, in order to afford college classes in Florida. She reluctantly followed her mother’s path into exotic dancing, where the money was better, according to Ciani.
“It wasn’t her goal to move to follow her mom into that,” Ciani said. “She wanted to move on to bigger things.”
Chyna later obtained modeling jobs and got a break when rapper Drake mentioned her in one of his songs, Ciani said.
“It was a big deal she was mentioned in that song,” Ciani said.
Along with the Tyga video, Chyna also appeared in one for Nicki Minaj in 2010, according to Ciani.
The Kardashians and Jenners listened from their seats in the front row of the courtroom, showing no emotion.
Chyna, 33, and Rob Kardashian, 35, began dating in January 2016. The two broke up in the summer of 2017. They have a daughter, Dream Renee, who is 5 years old.
Opening statements in the trial began late Tuesday morning shortly after a panel of 16 jurors was seated. All 16 will listen to the trial, but four will eventually be chosen as alternates.
Opening statements are expected to continue Tuesday afternoon.