The former news chopper pilot is now a special correspondent for Inside Edition
Credit: Courtesy Zoey Bear Tur

It’s been more than 20 years since Zoey Tur – then a news chopper pilot known as Bob Tur – famously tracked O.J. Simpson’s slow-speed Bronco chase, but the 54-year-old is back in the news after going public with her transition from a man to a woman.

“It all started around age 6,” Tur tells PEOPLE. “But I didn’t understand it or see anyone that felt the way that I did, so I just buried it.”

But following a 2003 divorce from wife Marika Gerrard, Tur says the gender dysphoria continued to get worse for years, until she reached a breaking point.

“I was planning on suicide and I realized I had to face my fears,” she recalls. “I decided I was going to give hormone replacement therapy a shot.”

So on May 6, 2013, Tur got her first dose of the female hormone Estradiol and immediately felt a change.

“The depression completely lifted and I haven’t looked back since.”

While Tur was happy with her decision, not everyone in her family felt the same way.

“My son was great, he told me, ‘I support your decision and if this will make you happy then I’m on board,’ ” recalls Tur. “But my daughter was shocked. She had a great deal of difficulty and we stopped talking for a long time.”

But the night before Tur’s Feb. 3 appearance on Inside Edition, which takes viewers though her complete transformation, she received a surprise.

“My daughter found out about it and sent me a nice note saying congrats on the job and told me that I look beautiful, which meant a lot.”

Now with her new public role, Tur wants to give others hope.

“I was told I’d never work again, but once you come out it’s like someone turns on the lights and your life will be different,” she says. “But it’s going to be new and good.” And that’s something Tur hopes will happen soon for Bruce Jenner.

“My advice is to be totally honest and transparent. Consider this a teaching moment to tell your own narrative. You’ve got to come out and stand up and be brave.”

View Inside Edition stations and times here.