Linda Thompson: 'It's Impossible' to 'Fully Grasp What an Imprisonment' Bruce Jenner Felt

Jenner's second wife opened up about her personal experience with the former-Olympian's gender identity struggles

Photo: Michael Bezjian/WireImage

Update: In June 2015, Caitlyn Jenner came out as a transgender woman. This content was written in April 2015 before Jenner publicly announced her full transition.

Bruce Jenner made headlines and drew support after opening up to Diane Sawyer about his transition from male to female during his 20/20 interview Friday night.

Shortly after the interview aired, Jenner’s second wife, actress and songwriter Linda Thompson, opened up about her relationship with the former-Olympian in an op-ed for the Huffington Post.

Thompson, 64, was married to Jenner from 1981 to 1984 and is the mother to his children Brandon Jenner, 33, and Brody Jenner, 31.

“I never would have dared to speak on this issue before he was comfortable enough to do so first,” wrote Thompson.

“Bruce was pretty much the perfect specimen of a man,” she wrote. “The Bruce I knew back then was unstudied, affable, and seemingly very comfortable in his own skin. So it seemed.”

Looking back, Thompson said that there were no clues that the Keeping Up With the Kardashians star was questioning his identity until he made a confession.

“When Brody was about 18-months-old and Brandon was about 3-and-a-half-years-old, Bruce came to me one day with a very somber look on his face and said, ‘There’s something about me that I really need to tell you, something you need to know,'” wrote the Emmy Award-winning lyricist.

Thompson shared her shock when Jenner admitted to identifying as a woman, and questioned him extensively. “Bruce 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 said.

Thompson admitted to wanting to “fix” Bruce’s issue, letting her naivité get the best of her. She pushed therapy, and the couple went to a gender dysphoria therapist together.

“I was pretty ignorant of the fact that being transgender isn’t something that can be overcome, fixed, prayed away, exorcised or obliterated by any other arcane notion,” she wrote.

The couple eventually separated after six months of therapy, and Thompson felt exhausted attempting to “shield Brandon and Brody from the truth” – including an incident where they questioned her about the breasts Jenner was developing from hormone therapy.

“It’s impossible for those of us who are comfortable living in our own skin to fully grasp what an imprisonment that must feel like to be born into the wrong body,” said Thompson, later adding “Bruce has already ‘gone through the fire’ … it is certainly not our place to judge him or others who may feel trapped, ostracized, or alone.”

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