In an Interview with Diane Sawyer Friday night on ABC, Bruce Jenner ended months of speculation by confirming he is in the process of transitioning into a woman.
“I’ve always been confused about my gender identity,” Jenner tearfully said at the beginning of the two-hour special, which was partially filmed inside of his home.
Bruce told Sawyer he has always known he was different and believes he has “the soul of a female.” At one point, the former Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year was known for his chiseled physique, but he said his brain is more female than male–and that his entire life has been lived as a lie.
“I am a woman,” he stated. Although he identifies himself as female, Jenner feels a woman can still “kick butt.” He also explained, “It’s not like I’ve been dressing up like a woman, it’s like I’ve spent my whole life dressing like a man.”
While walking Sawyer through his childhood, Jenner described himself as a lonely little boy growing up, who often cross-dressed in order to fight confusion regarding his gender identity. He eventually grew up to be a “lonely big boy.”
The reality TV star also made it clear that sexuality is separate from gender: “I’ve always felt heterosexual… I’ve never been with a guy.”
He is still unsure if his next relationship will be with a man or woman and explained he considers himself “asexual” as of now, and at his current age is more concerned with finally living under his true identity.
Speculation about Jenner’s changing appearance has heated up over the past year, but the 65-year-old also revealed that at one point in the early eighties he started taking hormones–but lost his nerve after five years. Due to the hormones, he actually developed size-36B breasts.
In addition to starting hormone treatment 30 years ago, Bruce also started changing his face with a series of cosmetic procedures and removed the hair on his face and chest with electrolysis. He claimed that two of his three ex-wives, Linda Thompson and Kris Jenner, were both aware of his secret, and it played a part in ending his marriages.
Jenner explained he was also once caught wearing a dress by stepdaughter Kim Kardashian and later by daughters Kendall and Kylie, after he was captured on a computer spy cam in Kylie’s bedroom. After a talk from Kanye West, he said Kim became more accepting of his transition.
Among the more surprising revelations, Bruce told his guest he is both a Christian and a Republican. He admitted he has at times been concerned his lifestyle puts him at odds with the Bible–in particular, the book of Deuteronomy, which classifies a man dressing as a woman as sin.
“I would sit in church and always wonder, ‘In God’s eyes, how does he see me?’ … Maybe this is my cause in life … This is why God put me on this earth… to deal with this issue.”
When asked about President Obama’s support for LGBT rights during the State of the Union, the former Olympian admitted he is not a big fan of Obama.
“I’ve always been more on the conservative side,” he said.
A puzzled Sawyer asked him if he identifies as a Republican, to which Jenner answered, “”Yeah. Is that a bad thing? I believe in the Constitution.”
While he admitted he has at times had moderate suicidal thoughts, he now feels great about ridding himself of the anxieties of hiding his identity from his children and others.
His four older children also spoke to Sawyer during the interview and all showed their support. His son Brandon said: “I feel like I’m getting an upgraded version of my dad.”
His son Brody said of him coming out: “It finally makes sense.”
Jenner has been taking hormones again for a year and a half now but has not yet made a decision about full gender reassignment surgery.
“If this is the only problem I have in life, I’ve got it made,” he told Sawyer. “In the next house, I’m building a glam room.”
The interview was a “farewell to Bruce Jenner,” according to Sawyer, but Bruce explained he wasn’t necessarily saying goodbye but rather: “I’m saying goodbye to people’s perceptions of me… I’m just doing what I have to do.”
“I’m going to learn a lot in the next year,” Jenner added. “2015 is going to be quite a ride.”
Sawyer then teased that she may again catch up with the TV star for an additional interview in a year.