After Bruce Jenner made major waves with his “20/20” interview with Diane Sawyer on Friday night, in which he came out as transgender, his ex-wife Linda Thompson has penned an op-ed about their marriage in the Huffington Post, opening up about some of their struggles and voicing support for her former husband.
Songwriter and actress Thompson was married to the former Olympic champion from 1981 to 1984, after his split with his first wife Chrystie Crownover. Together, they had two children, Brandon and Brody.
“I never would have dared to speak on this issue before he was comfortable enough to do so first,” wrote Thompson.
Thompson wrote that she didn’t know about Jenner’s gender dysphoria until years after they married, and admited that she would not have married him had she known.
“If Bruce had told me about his gender issue when we first began getting romantically involved, I would not have married him. Pure and simple. But looking back, I’m so grateful to God, the universe, and Bruce that I didn’t know, and that Bruce played the role in my life that he did.”
Brandon and Brody both spoke in the two-hour “20/20” interview, but Thompson went into more detail about their childhood, bringing up some of the excuses she would come up with when their sons would ask about Jenner’s changing appearance as he took female hormones. She also talked about how Jenner discussed going to Denmark for gender-confirmation surgery, with the idea of reintroducing himself to his sons as “Aunt Heather.”
Thompson and Jenner tried therapy for six months before divorcing.
Thompson said after Jenner married Kris Kardashian, there were “periods of several years” when Jenner would not attempt to contact Brandon and Brody, though he informed them of his gender dysphoria when Brandon was 31 and Brody was 29.
“After having harbored his secret, and feeling in my heart and mind that I have protected him through these years, I can now breathe a little easier, knowing he now has found the strength and the courage to fulfill his dream,” she continues. “He can finally realize his need to be who he authentically is, who he was born to be. That takes tremendous courage. For that I commend him.”
Thompson closed her essay with a simple request: “Be kind. Be kind. Be kind.”