Five minutes into Bruce Jenner’s highly anticipated sit-down interview with Diane Sawyer, he let his hair down. It was a big moment for the former Olympian/reality TV star who has been hiding his true identity for his entire life. “Let’s take the damn pony tail out!” he proclaimed as he leaned forward in his chair and strapped on a game face. It was time to get candid in front of the entire nation.
Later he would tell Sawyer, “For all intents and purposes, I am a woman.“
Though the conversation was hard, his voice quivering, tears in his eyes, at times, as he bared his soul, it was something that 65-year old was relieved to get off his chest.
“I’ve lived a lie my whole life and I can’t do that anymore,” he told Sawyer. “Bruce lives a lie, she is not a lie. I can’t do it anymore,” he stated as tears welled up in his eyes.
Jenner’s story has been a shocking one, especially to those who view him as a once idolized sex symbol, the “world’s greatest athlete” and the hero of the 1976 Olympics. For many, his name conjures up images of Wheaties boxes and envy over the fact that his arms once wrapped around blonde bombshells, such as his second wife Linda Thompson. So as millions gathered at viewing parties across the country and others glued themselves in front of their TVs with takeout and Twitter, no one knew what they were really in store for.
As Sawyer brashly pointed out very early into the interview, many have questioned the motives behind Jenner’s recently publicized interest in becoming a woman. Upon being confronted with the question of whether or not this was all for Kardashian glory, a flustered Jenner peered into the cameras as his voice grew assertive.
“Oh, my, God Diane. Do you have any idea what I’ve been going through my whole life? And people are going to say this is for publicity for a show? Oh my God!” he exclaimed.
Jenner then leaned in close with a solemn face and stated, “What I’m doing is going to do some good. And we’re going to change the world. I really firmly believe that. We’re going to make a difference in the world with what we’re doing. And, if the whole Kardashian show gave me the foothold into that world, to be able to go out there and really do something good, I’m all for it. I got no problem with that. Understand?”
Jenner then began to speak about his life struggle with being born as a man but identifying as a woman. He divulged that he’s had a female soul since he was a young child. And at the age of 8 or 9 he started to slip into his mother and sister’s closets and try on their dresses.
He talked about his weddings to Chrystie Jenner and Linda Thompson and how he fought against his internal demons and tried to hold a traditional marriage together.
He spoke about undergoing five years of hormone therapy in the early 1980s only to chicken out soon after for the sake of not letting down his kids, marrying Kris Jenner, becoming a reality TV star and all the while fighting the urge to ditch his male persona and become his true self.
And he mentioned that in his later years, he’s realized that he couldn’t bear to leave this planet without having given this suppressed life of his a try. “If I die I would be so mad at myself that I didn’t explore that side of me,” he said. “And I don’t want that to happen.”
Though he’s become the butt of jokes, mocked by the media and harassed by the paparazzi throughout his journey, the interview touched the public. Immediately following the taping a slew of celebrities took to Twitter to voice their support. Among them was his ex, Kris Jenner, who, unlike his first two wives, refused to provide an official comment for the 20/20 segment, and his stepdaughter Khloe Kardashian, whom Jenner mentioned was having the hardest time of all the family with handling his transition.
Not only was I able to call him my husband for 25 years and father of my children, I am now able to call him my hero.— Kris Jenner (@KrisJenner) April 25, 2015
Just finished watching the #BruceJennerInterview with the family. Bruzer, I’m soooo proud of you! Dads really are heros ❤️— Khloé (@khloekardashian) April 25, 2015
Even Oprah weighed in:
"All of us deserve the right to be loved for who we are ”. Bravo #BruceJenner— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) April 25, 2015
And for others, who may have been initially skeptical, the segment seemed to have changed their tune:
Now im mad at all the people that were mean to this guy. #BruceJennerABC— David Spade (@DavidSpade) April 25, 2015
Twitter was ablaze with the hashtag #BruceJenner. And following the program, GLADD put out a statement in support of Jenner’s transition:
“Today, millions of people learned that someone they know is transgender,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “By sharing this story, Bruce Jenner has shined a light on what it means to be transgender and live authentically in the face of unimaginable public scrutiny. Though Jenner’s journey is one that is deeply personal, it is also one that will impact and inspire countless people around the world.”
But the most ironic takeaway from this two-hour adventure was the fact that Jenner, who for the past eight years has been a part of every vain Kardashian stunt the clan has orchestrated, was hiding the one plotline that everyone would have cared about.
“I had the story,” he told Sawyer, mockingly. “We’ve done 425 episodes, and then 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.”
Jenner’s continued transition will be documented in a reality series, which will premiere on E! on July 26th. The currently untitled eight episode program will present “an unfiltered look as Bruce boldly steps into uncharted territory.”
But one thing we aren’t likely to see on the show is the taping of any sort of sexual reassignment surgery. Though Jenner is still debating over whether or not he will change his genitalia, he very sternly told Sawyer that if it were to happen, it would be extremely under the radar.
“I would do it so quietly nobody in the world would ever know,” he says. “I’m not shooting any of this. I’m not filming anything. To me, it’s very degrading. At this point, as far as the term SRS, sexual reassignment surgery, it would be down the line.“