This VERY overhyped Diane Sawyer interview with Bruce Jenner is two long hours. So I am going to post it in two parts so you can get to chatting about it early. This one should be up close to 10 p.m. and the second one close to 11 p.m. if all goes according to plan.
Bruce and Diane meet for the very first time at Bruce’s Malibu house. Bruce seems nervous and emotional, even a little teary-eyed. This takes a lot of guts and even this Olympic hero seems to be struggling to hold it together. As he sits on the sofa, he grabs a box of tissue and one has already been pulled into his right hand as he struggles to maintain his composure.
“Are you ready?” Diane asks.
Bruce says, “Diane, let’s do it.” He smiles and says You know what?” Very long pause as he pulls himself together. And then. ” It’s gonna be tough. I’ve been thinking about this day forever. And what I should do with my life, how I should tell my story… how do I tell people what I have been through…and that day is today. I need the tissues..” He is no longer able to hold back the tears. We are two minutes in and it is already heartbreaking and riveting.
He is ready to get started and then becomes very animated. “Wait!” he says, ” One thing that is very important. We have to keep our sense of humor about this. Okay? Honestly, it’s really pretty funny. Me! Of all people! (air quotes) Bruce Jenner has to deal with these issues. ”
“I would say I have always been confused about my gender since I was this big.” He says. He says he hates the term girl stuck in a guys body. He is who he is. His brain is much more female than male. His soul is female. He says he can’t lie about who he is anymore. He takes his hair down literally. Diane asks if he is a woman and says yes. He lets us know right now he still has all his male parts. But at his core he is a female.
They show all his Olympic glory winning the decathlon. He’s so macho. His competitors are literally falling out of the competition writing in pain. Bruce take a victory lap and looks like he could do it all over again. He smiles and waves as he is crowned the worlds greatest athlete. He says at that time he was very confused and scared. Diane does not say the word Kardashian at all. She calls it “that reality show.”
Bruce has a lovely blowout. Diane talks about all the SNL jokes and insults. She asked if they were part of getting ready for this moment. He says his entire life has been getting him ready for this moment. Bruce said he wants to give voice to other people with gender identity issues. He wants something positive to come out of his struggles. Diane says this is the last interview he will do as Bruce. He hopes to reinvent himself as “her.” I do not believe he gives her a name yet. I just hope it doesn’t start with a K. He wants to reemerge as his true self.
Bruce goes back to his hometown of Tarrytown, New York for the first time in 10 years. His dad was a tree surgeon, his mother raised four boys. In Bruce was 9 he had an urge to wear a dress. He used to sneak in to his mother’s closet and trying on dress. He says he had no idea why he was doing it. He just knew it made him feel good. One day he snuck out with in a dress with a scarf covering his head. Bruce said he was a very lonely little boy. He is still a lonely big boy. He doesn’t socialize a lot because he doesn’t fit in.
Bruce has never been attracted to men. He has always been attracted to women. He excelled at all sports. He was trying to prove his masculinity to himself.
They talk about his first marriage to his college sweetheart. She was the first person to know. About a year into their marriage he admitted to cross-dressing. She was understanding and kept his secret. They have two kids and he got restless at about seven years. He ended up with Linda Thompson. Diane is very confused that he is not attracted to men. Bruce married Linda and eventually Bruce told her about his gender issues. They went to therapy and it eventually destroyed the marriage.
After the divorce Bruce, who was 40 began to take steps to transition. He went on female hormones. He says right away the intense feelings of fear began to subside. He took hormones for five years. He underwent plastic surgery. He had his facial hair removed by electrolysis. He confessed his feelings to his sister. She was shocked. They never talked about it again for more than 30 years. Bruce’s mother blames herself.
Diane asks if he dreams as a woman. He says yes he does, he always has. That is fascinating.
But in the 80s Bruce chickened out. He stopped the hormones. He didn’t want to embarrass his family. He has spiritual conflicts. But he would still go out dressed as a woman in places he didn’t think he would be recognized.
Diane said, “The whole time you did that show, you had a secret.” Bruce smiles and says, “I had the story.”
When Bruce met Kris he had a solid 36B set of boobs. He told her that sometimes he liked to dress as a woman, but he kind of downplayed it. Kris has seen Bruce cross dressing. They never went to therapy. It is incredible that Diane has never mentioned the word ‘Kardashian.’ Bruce really tried to make it work. Sixteen years in the marriage the reality show began. Diane brings up how on the show he is…and Bruce finishes, “the punching bag.” They show clips from the show of Kris and others picking on Bruce. Bruce says he loved Kris. He had a wonderful life with her. My god! Think of all the dresses in her closet he could try on! Bruce says he learned a lot from her. He thought they had a good sex life despite what Kris says about it now.
Bruce could not deal with the idea that he was in his sixties and could die never living a single day as his true self. He says that Kris is a bit angry with him. It is not what she expected. Kris was very shaken by his decisions. He says Kris is a good woman and she has nothing negative to say about her. Bruce says that if she had been really good with it and accepted it, they would probably still be together.
When Bruce moved to Malibu he was finally able to entertain a small group of friends who understood him and he was able to have girl parties and dress as a woman. But soon the paparazzi began to taunt him and put a GPS on his car. Bruce said the worst thing to happen is when he went to get his tracheal shave . Someone leaked the appointment and the paparazzi were there. It was at that point he knew that it was over. Everyone knew. He contemplated suicide that night. He says he could not do it. He wanted to know how the story would end.
ABC reached out to all three wives. The first two gave loving statements of support. Kris Jenner had no comment.
Part two of this interview in about an hour. PART TWO IS UP!