He says his life with Jennifer Elia is modeled on "a heterosexual relationship"

By Tim Nudd
Updated October 30, 2009 02:55 PM
Credit: Noel Vasquez/Getty

Chaz Bono says his girlfriend of four years, Jennifer Elia, has been completely supportive during his process of becoming a man. Now, he says, his gender reassignment surgery allows the couple to physically have what they’ve always had emotionally: a heterosexual relationship.

“She’s been amazing,” Bono, 40, tells Entertainment Tonight in the second part of a two-part interview, airing Friday. “I feel really grateful to be going through this with a partner.”

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Elia knew his intentions from the start, Bono says. “I didn’t just spring this on Jennifer recently. This was something she knew about shortly after we met.”

He adds: “Our relationship always modeled a heterosexual relationship, emotionally and intellectually. So now it does physically as well.”

Bono has said he felt male from the time he was a child. “I feel like I’m living in my body for the first time, and it feels really good,” he tells ET.

In June, Bono’s mother, Cher, told PEOPLE she supported the decision to pursue a sex change. “The one thing that will never change is my abiding love for my child,” she said.