As Lamar Odom continues to recover following his Oct. 13 hospitalization, Khloé Kardashian has been a constant presence by his side, and she is speaking out for the first time.
When she received the shocking news that day, "All I knew was I had to get there," Kardashian says exclusively in this week's issue of PEOPLE. "I had to get to him and make sure he was okay. I hate that he was in that situation. I wouldn't want anybody in that situation, especially someone I love and care about."
Though she remains loyal to the vows she once took, Kardashian says, "There are too many other important things, too many medical things. It's not even in our brains thinking about us as a couple or having a relationship right now."
"I loved him always, and I will always love him," she says. "I don't believe love is fickle. I believe when you love someone, you are allowed to love from afar. You don't have to be with that person in order to love him."
For much more from Khloé, including an exclusive interview and book excerpt in which she talks about the sad demise of her marriage, her body image struggles and the impact Lamar's problems have had on her brother Rob, pick up the new issue of People, on newsstands Friday
RELATED VIDEO: The Story Behind the Story of Khloé Kardashian's PEOPLE Cover
Now, the Keeping up with the Kardashians star remains cautiously optimistic about Odom's condition. "The fact that he woke up was definitely a sigh of relief for everybody," she says. "Every hour is different. It goes up and it goes down but he's awake. He's alive and that's all I wanted, was for him to be okay."
And Kardashian's devotion is unwavering, despite an uncertain future. "There is a very long road ahead of [Lamar]," she says. "He has to walk that road by himself, and, most importantly, he has to want to walk that road. I will be there supporting him every step of the way."
RELATED VIDEO: Exclusive Update on Lamar Odom's Health
Kardashian's new book, Strong Looks Better Naked, hits stands Nov. 3.