Don’t mix business with pleasure.
Kim Kardashian West recently parted ways with her longtime assistant Stephanie Shepherd, and now, a source tells PEOPLE the Keeping Up with the Kardashians star plans on maintaining a more professional relationship with her replacement.
“Steph was very friendly with Kim’s family — she was almost part of the family,” says the source of Shepherd, who began working with Kim in 2013 and had become particularly close with Kourtney Kardashian in recent months.
“Kim needed an assistant where the relationship is more professional,” continues the source. “It’s very difficult to work with friends, so Kim decided to hire someone else. The bottom line is that Steph was hired as an assistant, and Kim wanted to keep it like that. They are not friends now.”
The source also says Kim wanted someone “who has a broader background than Steph — someone with more complex knowledge” to handle a more elevated role. (Shepherd was promoted to COO of Kardashian West Brands earlier this year.)
“Steph went from being an assistant to being a celebrity,” says the source of Shepherd, who has almost 1 million followers on Instagram. “For a regular girl, she has a huge social media following. She loves the attention, but it took away from her job. There was a feeling that being Kim’s assistant, Steph should stay more in the background. But Kim is the one who helped her get the followers by posting pictures with Steph.”
Another source previously told PEOPLE that Kardashian West, 37, made an “executive decision” to part ways with Shepherd after an attempt to transition her into a larger role within the star’s brand and businesses “just didn’t work.”
“Kim gave her the chance, but after a short period of time it became clear that Stephanie just didn’t have the knowledge to take on a role like that,” said the source, who added that Shepherd is “still friendly with the other sisters, but she and Kim aren’t really speaking.”
Tension between Kardashian West and Shepherd recently aired on the current season of KUWTK after Kourtney, 38, informed her sister that Shepherd had admitted to feeling “unfulfilled job-wise.”
“I do think it’s inappropriate for her to talk to you and not to me,” said Kardashian West. “Don’t you think that’s a little unprofessional? That’s like, a convo she should have with me.”