The couple was married for just 72 days before the reality TV beauty filed for divorce in October 2011, and the media circus which ensued turned Humphries' life upside down - because he simply became known as Kim's one-time husband.
"I didn't want to be Kris Humphries. It's the craziest feeling in the world, not wanting to be yourself," he tells The Players' Tribune.
The sportsman struggled to deal with the intense spotlight, and felt caught in a lose-lose situation as rumours and unfounded speculation about their split began surfacing in the press - all while he was trying to focus on his career.
"I didn't even want to say anything to defend myself, because it felt like I couldn't win," he says. "You can't go up against the tabloids. You can't go up against that machine. There's no point. And even if I played that game, I felt like it would be disrespecting the game of basketball."
Humphries admits he was "definitely naive" about how much his life was going to change when he began dating Kardashian in late 2010, but he takes issue with gossip suggesting their romance was staged from the start.
"The one thing that really bothers me is whenever people say that my marriage was fake," he explains.
"There's definitely a lot about that (reality TV) world that is not entirely real. But our actual relationship was 100 per cent real. When it was clear that it wasn't working... what can I say? It sucked."
Dealing with the heartache in the public eye proved to be particularly tough for Humphries, who found himself in a dark place emotionally for months after the separation.
"It's never easy to go through the embarrassment of something like that - with your friends, with your family... But when it plays out so publicly, in front of the world, it's a whole other level. It was brutal," he shares.
Revealing he developed "a lot of anxiety, especially in crowds," he adds, "I didn't want to leave my home. You feel like... the whole world hates you, but they don't even know why. They don't even know you at all. They just recognise your face, and they're on you."
"Honestly, the game (of basketball) was the only thing that got me through it. The game and my family."
Kim and Kris' divorce was eventually finalised in 2013, and she went on to wed her third husband, rapper Kanye West, in 2014.
The "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" star, who is now a mother-of-three, has previously admitted she rushed into marriage with Humphries because she didn't want to be lonely and single at 30.
Revisiting the short-lived union during an appearance on U.S. talk show "Watch What Happens Live" in 2017, she said, "At the time... I just thought, 'Holy s**t, I'm 30 years old, I better get this together. I better get married.' "