In Their Own Words: 3 Ways Kris and Caitlyn Jenner Have Disagreed About Their Relationship (and One Thing They Agree on)
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Following Caitlyn’s coming out, however – first in a 20/20 interview with Diane Sawyer when she was still known as Bruce and, later, an introduction to her true self on the cover of Vanity Fair – the pair have politely tiptoed around some major issues. It seems as if they’ll never agree on when, exactly, Caitlyn began transitioning, or why their marriage fell apart.
PEOPLE explores three ways in which they disagreed about their relationship, in their own words – and one thing on which they wholeheartedly agree.
1. When Caitlyn Began Transitioning
As Caitlyn revealed in her bombshell 20/20 interview, she first began transitioning in the ’80s. She had been taking hormones and was a “good, solid B-cup” before she met Kris.
Caitlyn told Kris about the hormones only after they were married – some time in the ’90s, Kris told Vanity Fair. However, Kris maintains that “there was no B cup going on” and that what Caitlyn had was simply a “little bit of a man-boob situation.”
Indeed, Kris thought that her husband had simply been “cross-dressing,” which is not the same as a gender transition. As GLAAD states, “This activity is a form of gender expression, and not done for entertainment purposes. Cross-dressers do not wish to permanently change their sex or live full-time as women.”
Caitlyn, however, maintains that she did want to live as a woman as early as the ’80s.
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2. What Kris Knew About Caitlyn’s Gender Dysphoria
As Buzz Bissinger, the author of of Caitlyn’s VF cover story wrote, Caitlyn found it “implausible for [Kris] to suggest she was not aware of [Caitlyn’s] gender struggle.”
Of their conversation about the hormones, Kris told VF that “there wasn’t a gender issue. Nobody mentioned a gender issue. Somebody mentioned that [Caitlyn], at one point in [her] life, liked to dress up.”
That said, the gold medal-winning Olympic athlete did concede in her VF profile that, perhaps, she was not as clear with Kris as she could have been. “Probably a mistake I made was maybe not having her understand – not the severity of it but that this is a condition you cannot get away from. From that standpoint, maybe I blew it away a little bit, sort of, ‘This is what I do,’ ” she said, referring to the times she would wear women’s clothing.
3. Why Their Marriage Fell Apart
Caitlyn’s own views on her 23-year marriage with Kris appear to be conflicting. To Sawyer, she said, “If she had been really good with [my transition] and understanding, we’d probably still be together.” Caitlyn added that Kris is a “good person.”
In her VF profile, however, Caitlyn was a little more straightforward. “A lot of the times [Kris] wasn’t very nice,” she said, referring to her time on Keeping Up with the Kardashians, where Kris was often seen criticizing Caitlyn’s attire. “People would see how I got mistreated. She controlled the money all that kind of stuff.”
Kris, meanwhile, turned that charge around on him in Bissinger’s piece, saying that his struggle with gender dysphoria made him “miserable.” She admitted that the E! reality series made her less available than she had in the past, but that “all I was doing was working very hard for my family so that we could all have a wonderful future, and he was so pissed off.”
As she said on Keeping Up with the Kardashians: About Bruce, Caitlyn’s anger made Kris angry in turn. “I just miss Bruce. And that’s going to take me a minute to mourn that relationship,” said Kris in the special. “You think you’re going to grow old with somebody, and they drastically change over the course of just a few years.”
To VF, Kris went on to say that Caitlyn’s “social anxiety” added to the strain: “We fought a lot because we would go out together and before we got to the end of the block we were in a fight because he started saying, ‘When can we go home?’ ”
Furthermore, she felt it was “passive-aggressive” of Caitlyn to only explain that she intended to fully transition after splitting from Kris, asking rhetorically, ” ‘Why would you want to be married and have kids if this is what you wanted since you were a little boy? Why would you not explain this all to me?’ ”
Despite her earlier claim that she and Kris would still be together had Kris taken the news of the transition better, she told Vanity Fair that “20 percent” of the breakup had to do with gender: “Eighty percent was the way I was treated.”
Bonus: Kris and Caitlyn Agree That Caitlyn’s Happiness Is Most Important
Marital discord aside, both Kris and Caitlyn can agree that Caitlyn’s happiness is of the utmost importance moving forward.
On KUWTK: About Bruce, Kris asked that her former husband “just live the happiest life you can live. That’s all I care about. And that you can find the peace you’ve been looking for for so long.”
In her VF profile, Caitlyn reflected on the moment she won the gold medal in the men’s decathlon at the 1976 Summer Olympics. “That was a good day,” she said. “But the last couple of days were better.”