updated 12/18/2013 AT 7:00 PM ET
•originally published 12/19/2013 AT 8:30 AM ET
It’s no secret that Khloé Kardashian has had one of the toughest years of her life.
“What Khloé is going through is definitely challenging, I m not going to lie,” her mom, Kris Jenner, told PEOPLE at her #cirocthenewyear pledge party at L.A.’s Mixology 101 on Tuesday.
“It s also a very interesting time for her because it s very cleansing,” she continued. “She s also showed this side of her that I didn t know she had. I always knew Khloé was strong, but I never dreamed that she had this kind of strength.”
Despite the difficult time, Jenner says her daughter is determined to learn from the experience.
“It s definitely life lessons that she will be able to apply and use later in her life,” she said. “She s learned a lot from this situation.”
The couple were married for four years and Odom became a member of the close-knit clan, so it’s no surprise that Jenner still thinks highly of the NBA star.
“I still love Lamar and I love Khloé, and I hate, hate they re going through this. But if it s something that Khloé feels she needs to do, then I m 150 percent behind her. We all lean on each other, we have to.”
“He s a family friend. We all live in the same neighborhood and we all hang out,” she explained. “He s a great guy who we adore, but he s just a friend. That s it.”
Jenner, who along with her kids Kourtney and Robert, is supporting Ciroc’s anti drinking and driving campaigns, is passionate about telling people to drink responsibly – especially over the holidays.
“At this time of year I think people get excited about celebrating but don t think about the consequences of something terrible happening,” she said. “I worry about my family and everyone driving around. So you have to make sure that everyone has the tools they need to be safe.”