LOS ANGELES - After a traumatic robbery which saw her tied up at gunpoint, no one expected US reality star and social media queen Kim Kardashian to spring immediately back into the limelight.
But the normally prolific tweeter hasn't posted online since the October 3 incident in Paris, prompting speculation that the hiatus is part of a careful strategy to stage-manage her recovery from the horrifying ordeal.
The multimillionaire, who was in the French capital for Paris Fashion Week, was locked in a bathroom while five robbers posing as police stole a US$4.5 million ring (S$6 million) and a case of jewelry valued at US$5.6 million.
Kardashian, 35, flew back to Los Angeles to be comforted by family, halting her part in filming for reality show "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," according to entertainment cable station E!.
A fixture of celebrity news for more than a decade, the star earns an estimated US$1 million a month from her social media engagement, mainly through product endorsements and promotion of her own brand.
But her 84 million followers on Instagram and 48 million on Twitter, many of whom have been asking questions about her security arrangements, have been denied her version of events.
Meanwhile Kardashian matriarch Kris Jenner has been marshalling specialist firms to discuss better security for Kim and her other daughters, Kourtney, 37, Khloe, 32, Kendall, 20, and Kylie, 19, according to gossip website TMZ.
Observers say Jenner has likely also taken the opportunity to sit down with the clan and draw up a meticulous plan for Kim's comeback, including the timing of her return to social media.
"They wouldn't be Kardashians if they didn't use this to their advantage," Rob Shuter, a former Hollywood publicist for Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Simpson and others, who now runs NaughtyGossip.com, told AFP.
"So they are certainly sitting down with their people and Kris Jenner is a master strategist herself." Shuter said several television networks had been clamoring to secure an exclusive interview with Kim.
"E! and NBC are owned by the same company so I would guess she'll get a prime-time special on NBC," he said, adding that Kardashian was an expert in generating anticipation among her fans and would make a "very dramatic" return to social media.
"It will probably be a picture of a shadow or a poem or inspirational quote by Maya Angelou. Then there will be a countdown to the big sit-down interview," he told AFP.
Shuter says Kardashian's reported US$1 million a month earnings from social media is likely a "conservative" estimate, meaning that she will not be able to stay offline for long.
"I don't think anyone is going to sue her after such a horrible incident, but technically she is probably in violation of a contract as we speak," he told AFP.
"Because I think in those contracts that I've seen, she has to tweet or post x times a week. Even if she is not directly promoting the product, just having her face and her name out there... all that helps."
E! quoted an unnamed insider as saying Kardashian was receiving "some professional counseling" while Khloe Kardashian told Ellen DeGeneres on Tuesday her sister was "not doing that well."
"I mean, it's incredibly traumatic what happened to her, but our family is super close and great and we'll get through it together, and we do appreciate all of your guys' love and support and it will take time," Khloe said.
It was the first time a family member had broken their silence since the robbery, which Khloe said was a "wake-up call" that had given them a new perspective on security and online privacy.
With the Kardashians beginning to open up, Kim and her family have demonstrated that they will brook no speculation that she overplayed the incident for her own gain.
The mother-of-two and wife of rap superstar Kanye West filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Mediatakeout.com for alleging in a series of articles that she faked having her jewelry robbed to cheat her insurers out of millions.
AFP reached out to Kardashian's representatives but there was no immediate response.