9 Things We Learned from Bruce Jenner's Ex-Wife Linda Thompson

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Bruce Jenner's second wife, Linda Thompson, is opening up after the former Olympian revealed on 20/20 that he is transitioning to a woman.

In an editorial for the Huffington Post, the former actress got candid about their past marriage, his struggle with gender identity during it and even a time when her two sons, Brandon and Brody Jenner, had questions about Bruce's changing body as children.

"By now, Bruce Jenner has revealed his struggle with gender dysphoria," she wrote. "I never would have dared to speak on this issue before he was comfortable enough to do so first. It is, after all, his truth, so I knew he should be afforded the dignity to reveal that truth on his own time and in the way he sees fit.
I have respectfully kept his secrets private and would have taken his confidences to my grave had he not spoken out."

"So as much as this is about Bruce, it's not all about him. The sharing of my experience is meant to enlighten and inform -- to lend a modicum of comfort and support for all those disenfranchised, struggling, discriminated-against, searching souls."

Take a look at the five things we learned from Linda's editorial:
Ben Gurion University Tribute to Kenny Rogers - May 2, 19831. She met Bruce Jenner in the spring of 1979 at a charity tournament: He was living at the Playboy Mansion part-time following his separation from his first wife Chrystie. The tournament was held there, and they later started dating after chatting that evening at a dinner, where she found him to be "charming and gallant." They tied the knot Jan. 5, 1981 in Hawaii.

2. Bruce told Linda about his struggles with gender identity in the 80s: "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," she wrote. While expecting him to reveal an affair, he told her he "identified as a woman." She didn't understand what he meant, so she asked him to explain. "He replied that it meant that for as long as he could remember, he had looked in the mirror and seen a masculine image staring back at him where there should have been a feminine reflection," she continued. "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."

3. She didn't have a clue before that point: "People have asked me, 'Were there any signs or clues through the years that Bruce might have had this issue? Any evidence he wore your clothes?' No. Not a clue. Nothing. Nada. Never," she said.

4. They visited a therapist together who specialized in gender dysphoria: "I needed to understand fully what Bruce's issue was, and then to determine if it was something we could overcome or 'fix.' I was naïve," she said. In one of the first sessions, the therapist told her, "Linda, this is who Bruce is. His identity is that of a woman, and that will never, ever go away. You have a choice to make. If Bruce goes through with his gender reassignment, as he is now planning to do, you have the option of staying with him after he becomes she, or you can divorce him and move on with your life."
Can't Stop The Music5. He considered gender reassignment surgery around that time: "Bruce considered traveling out of the country, possibly to Denmark, to have the gender-confirmation surgery and then come back to the U.S. identifying as female. I asked Bruce, "What about the children?" He thought maybe he could reenter their lives as "Aunt Heather."

6. They separated six months after going to therapy: "Being married to a woman was not what I had envisioned for my life," she continued. Bruce soon started taking female hormones and got electrolysis to remove the hair from his face and chest. "Bruce began to grow breasts as a result of the female hormones he was injecting."

7. Her sons had questions about his body at an early age: "Mommy, we saw Daddy getting out of the shower naked, and Daddy has boobs!," she said her kids told her following their separation. "That day I began trying to cover for Bruce, trying to protect him and trying to explain away what was clearly happening to his visage," she continued. Linda told them he had "big muscles" because of his training in the Olympics and his pectoral muscles had turned to fat because he stopped lifting weights, which made it "look like boobs." She added, "I was trying to shield Brandon and Brody from the truth and protect Bruce at the same time. It was exhausting."
Bruce Jenner and Linda Thompson8. She told their sons the truth before Bruce's interview: After Bruce married Kris Jenner, Linda said years went by "without Bruce attempting to contact" Brody and Brandon. She later told them about his "gender dysphoria" when they were 29 and 31, respectively. "After Brandon and Brody were grown and I did reveal their father's issue, I think the knowledge helped them put the pieces together and explain some of Bruce's dysfunctional parenting. I certainly did my share of rationalizing through it all," she wrote.

9. She has forgiven Bruce: "If Bruce had told me about his gender issue when we first began getting romantically involved, I would not have married him. Pure and simple," she continued. "But looking back, I'm so grateful to God, the universe, and Bruce that I didn't know, and that Bruce played the role in my life that he did," she wrote. "I would never have experienced the joy, the honor, the privilege of being the mother of the two most precious gifts I have ever known, Brandon and Brody."

Editor's Note: Per Jenner's stated preference, Cambio will continue to refer to Bruce using male pronouns until he indicates otherwise.

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