After much speculation, the former Olympian who was previously married to Kardashian matriarch Kris Jenner confirmed, “I am a woman.”
“My whole life has been getting me ready for this. It’s not just the last few years, as they’ve been treating me, as a joke,” Jenner said, referring to the heavy tabloid press, which has surrounded him. “My whole life has prepared me for this moment so I want to take advantage of it and do the right thing.”
Jenner assured Sawyer that the interview is not a publicity stunt.
The Friday night sit-down is the final TV spot Jenner will appear as “Bruce.” He said from now on, he will continue his life as “myself.” Wiping away his tears, he said, “Bruce lives a lie…she is not a lie. I can’t do it anymore.”
Note: Upon announcement of Bruce Jenner’s E! docuseries, which premieres this summer, the cable network released a statement — “at this time, Bruce Jenner is choosing to not live publicly in the media as a woman and will be referred to as Bruce Jenner and with male pronouns” — which Variety has respected in this story.
Bruce Jenner: ‘No, I Am Not Gay’
Jenner explained that he still is, and always has been, attracted to women.
“No, I am not gay,” he said, adding that he has never been attracted to men. “I am, as far as I know, heterosexual. I’ve never been with a guy. I’ve always been married, raising kids.”
By the end of the two-hour interview, he concluded he will identify as “asexual.”
Sawyer also prodded Jenner about whether he will get sexual reassignment surgery, to which Jenner disclosed the decision will come “down the line,” and if he goes forward with the procedure, it would be done very quietly so that no one would know. Jenner has been taking hormones for the past year and a half, which he said, more than altering physical attributes, greatly assists in balancing his emotions.
Jenner also chose not to reveal his chosen female name — a deliberate decision to avoid another media storm.
How Did Bruce Jenner Tell His Wives & Family?
Revealing that first person he told his secret to was his first wife Chrystie Crownover, Jenner said, “sexuality was totally different than what my issues were. I always felt heterosexual.” He told Crownover that he was cross-dressing, recalling, “I had bigger issues than just cross-dressing.”
His second marriage to actress Linda Thompson, whose previous partner was Elvis Presley, dissolved because of his issues and pain. “My gender was a big part of the breakup.”
Jenner confessed that he began to take hormones in the ’80s, and continued to do so for five years. Then, he started to get facial reconstructive surgery.
In the ’80s, Jenner also confided in his sister, who sat down with Sawyer during the interview. “I never told a soul for 30+ years,” she said, explaining that she was waiting for him to bring up the conversation again. “I thought maybe it was just a passing phase…you don’t get over this.”
When he told his mother, Jenner said that he assured her she did not do anything wrong. It’s just how he was born. He’s always been this way, and everything will be fine.
Why didn’t Jenner come out as transgender earlier in life? He explained he could not bear to tell his children, or face the media firestorm. (Jenner has six biological children, plus the four Kardashians, whom he parented for more than 20 years, and still identifies as their father.)
“‘You’ve just got no guts'” is what Jenner would tell himself for years, as he had not come out as his true self. He continued to cross-dress, and admits he would wear dresses and walk around in public because he felt trapped in the wrong body.
Did Kris Jenner Know?
When Jenner met Kris Kardashian, she knew.
The Olympian said he had been taking hormones for years so he had a “good 36B,” referring to his breasts. He was also cross-dressing, and the Kardashian mogul knew of the habit — but was not aware of the deep-rooted extent of his torment.
“I loved Kris. I had a wonderful life with her. I learned a lot from her,” Jenner said of his ex-wife, who declined to comment to ABC News. “I thought we had a pretty good sex life.”
Bruce Jenner Talks ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’ Series: ‘I Had The Story’
Sawyer asked Jenner about the “Keeping Up with the Kardashian” craze, curious if he regrets doing the E! series, which follows the famous family — Kris, Kourtney, Kim, Khloe, Rob, Kendall and Kylie.
“I had the story,” Bruce coyly said, bursting into laughter.
“The entire run, I kept thinking to myself, ‘Oh my god, this whole thing, the one real true story in the family was the one I was hiding and nobody knew about it.’ The one thing that could really make a difference in people’s lives was right here in my soul, and I could not tell that story.”
Bruce Jenner Reveals He Contemplated Suicide
With his attachment to the Kardashian family, paparazzi began to follow Jenner’s every move — especially with his changing appearance.
He recalled when he had his trachea shaved to reduce the size of his Adam’s apple, and someone leaked the story and there was a photographer waiting outside his appointment with a camera.
After that moment, Jenner considered suicide. “I thought, ‘it’s like over.'”
How Bruce Jenner Told His Children: ‘They All Cried’
The first child Jenner told was his middle son, Brandon, whose mother is Thompson. “You could tell it was very difficult for him,” his son said, realizing that the moment was harder for his father than for him. “It’s tragic.”
“The first thing I thought was, ‘Oh, it finally makes sense,'” said Brody, who starred on MTV’s “The Hills.” Jenner’s youngest son, his mother is also Thompson.
His oldest son, Burt, whose mother is Crownover, recalled thinking when he was younger that he would never see his father again. But his daughter with Crownover, Casey, reminisced on the time when Jenner assured her he would never go away and would always be her dad.
Jenner revealed Kim was the first he told of the Kardashian/Jenner clan, after she found him wearing a dress.
“Kimberly has been by far the most accepting and the easiest to talk to about it,” Jenner said, sharing a story from a surprising source: Kardashian West’s husband, rapper Kanye West, who helped his wife understand that Jenner is finally coming into himself, which is nothing but positive.
“They all cried,” Jenner said of the famous siblings. “Mainly because they don’t want anyone to hurt dad. They’re very protective of me, especially Kendall and Kylie.”
In a statement to ABC News, the two Jenner sisters said, “We love our dad very much, he has the biggest heart and all we want is for him to be happy. If he’s happy, we’re happy.”
Khloe took the news the harshest, Jenner said. “She’s had a lot of losses in her life.” He added she fears she will lose him, as her father. “I can’t argue that point, but I’m not going anyway. I’m still going to be here for you,” he’s tried to explain to her.
Kourtney, the eldest of the three Kardashian sisters, took the news well, but is concerned about her children — she has three with her partner Scott Disick, who is another “KUWTK” cast member.
“All of the girls, it’s tough on them,” Jenner disclosed to Sawyer.
Bruce Jenner: Coming Out As Transgender Gives Me Courage
“I would like to work with this community to get this message out,” Jenner said, shedding light on suicide, murder and race issues arising in the transgender community.
As for religion, Jenner admitted that as a Christian, he did struggle with coming out earlier in life. “I would sit in church, I would always wonder, in God’s eyes, how does he see me?”
Looking hopeful, Jenner already appears to be taking on the role of a spokesperson for the trans community, though he said he is not.
“If this is the only problem I have in life, I’ve got it made,” he said, finally looking happy and carefree. “I’ve got my health, I’ve got my children, I have family, I have seven grandchildren now. I’m excited about the future to do some real good in the world.”
He concluded, “This is my cause in life. This is why God put me on this earth — to deal with this issue.”