Bruce Jenner’s ex-wife is opening up about her relationship with the Olympic athlete and reality star following his headline-making decision to publicly come out as transgender.
Actress Linda Thompson, who was married to Jenner for about three years in the 1980s, wrote an op-ed for the Huffington Post, in which Thompson said she hopes the decathlete will be remembered as a “trailblazer” for the transgender community. Thompson, who has two sons with Jenner, also recounted how she kept her ex-husband’s secret for decades.
“I have respectfully kept his secrets private and would have taken his confidences to my grave had he not spoken out,” Thompson, 64, wrote.
Related: Bruce Jenner confirms transition
She recounted Jenner approaching her in the mid 1980’s, saying “there’s something about me that I really need to tell you.”
Thompson, a former beauty queen, said Jenner lamented, “I have lived in the wrong skin, the wrong body, my whole life. It is a living hell for me, and I really feel that I would like to move forward with the process of becoming a woman, the woman I have always been inside.”
She described being shocked and frustrated and how the two went to therapy for six months before separating – and how she tried to “shield” her children from knowing the truth, not telling them until they were 31 and 29 years old. Thompson also said she watched as Jenner dated several women even though he had begun his transformation as a woman, taking female hormone supplements. “Clearly he was still confused and conflicted as to how fully he was ready to commit to changing his life completely.”
Now, Thompson says she is able to commend Jenner for finding “the strength and courage to fulfill his dream … that takes tremendous courage.”
Jenner has not commented on Thompson’s op-ed following his two-hour interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer last week. The “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” star told Sawyer, “for all intents and purposes, I’m a woman.”
“People look at me differently. They see you as this macho male, but my heart and my soul and everything that I do in life – it is part of me,” Jenner said.