During Bruce Jenner's eye-opening interview with Diane Sawyer, the former Olympian revealed how his gender identity impacted his three marriages. After ABC's special aired on Friday, Bruce's second wife, Linda Thompson, shared her perspective in a piece written for The Huffington Post's Gay Voices blog. "I have respectfully kept his secrets private and would have taken his confidences to my grave had he not spoken out," she wrote. "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." Linda, mother of Bruce's sons Brandon and Brody Jenner, touched on her reaction to his news and how he considered gender-confirmation surgery in the 1980s. Read on for the most revealing parts of Linda's story, then find out how the Kardashian-Jenner family has been supporting Bruce.
- On talking with then-boyfriend Elvis Presley while watching Bruce compete in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal: "Elvis remarked, 'Damn, if that guy is not handsome! I'm not gay, but damn, he's good-looking!' I quite agreed and teasingly said, 'Wow! He is gorgeous! I'm going to marry that guy someday!' Elvis replied, 'Yeah, sure, honey, over my dead body.'"
- On what attracted her to Bruce: "The Bruce I knew back then was an easygoing, down-to-earth, casual, romantic, good, and loving man. I was extremely happy to have found such a remarkable partner with whom to share my life. I found him to be honorable and, well, just too good to be true. Just too good to be true, indeed."
- On Bruce's reputation during their marriage: "Bruce possessed such a natural athleticism in everything he attempted to do. He seemed to excel in every sport he tried. Whatever he did, he was daring and cut an amazing form. Bruce was pretty much the perfect specimen of a man. Men aspired to be like him and wanted to hang out and play sports with him, and women were clearly attracted to him."
- On when Bruce told her about his gender identity: "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.' I truly thought he might possibly tell me he had had an affair while on the road. But that's not what he wanted to confess to me. Bruce told me that he identified as a woman."
- On questioning Bruce: "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. 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.'"
- On not questioning Bruce's identity: "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."
- On how Bruce thought about transitioning during their marriage: "Bruce considered traveling out of the country, possibly to Denmark, to have the gender-confirmation surgery and then come back to the US identifying as female. I asked Bruce, 'What about the children?' He thought maybe he could reenter their lives as 'Aunt Heather.'"
- On her sympathy for Bruce: "As devastated as I was, my heart bled for Bruce and what he must have lived with his entire life. 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."
- On coping with the news: "It was extremely difficult for me to comprehend, and adjust my life accordingly to, the realization that the man I had married — the very masculine, gorgeous, ideal, wonderful hunk of a man — would be no more. The human entity was still alive, but it truly was like mourning the death of the person I had grown to know and love."
- On her breakup with Bruce: "Bruce and I separated after going to therapy for about six months — just to exhaust any hope of keeping our family together. Being married to a woman was not what I had envisioned for my life."
For more on Linda's experience, read her full piece on HuffingtonPost.com.