Bruce Jenner Interview: Reality Star Reveals Details of Gender Transition, Lifelong Desire to be a Woman

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We've heard all the rumors, watched the promos and yes, even glanced at the Bruce Jenner dress photo that scandalously hit the Internet this week.

For months, it's been all but accepted as fact that Bruce Jenner, Olympic decathlete and reality TV patriarch, is in the process of becoming a woman.

No one had heard him personally address this, however. Until tonight.

Bruce Jenner on ABC News

Bruce finally broke his silence about his transition this evening on 20/20, reintroducing himself as a woman via a lengthy sit-down with Diane Sawyer.

So what did we learn from the much-anticipated, long-form interview?

For one thing, we learned that Bruce began to feel that his physical gender was out of alignment with his "mostly feminine" spirit in early childhood. 

Jenner tearfully described the moment when he first tried on a dress at the age of eight and felt that he'd discovered the sort of freedom and comfort that would elude him for the next several decades.

He amazingly revealed that he was burdened by his uncertainty about his sexual identity even in the midst of his Olympic gold medal triumphs.

"That is her," Bruce says when shown a photo of himself competing in the decathlon.

Surprisingly, Jenner says he was somewhat open about his issues with his first wife, though he confesses that he never revealed to her that he felt like he "might not make it in this male gender."

His first wife, Chrystie Crownover, was loving and supportive.

His second marriage, he reveals, began to unravel soon after he confessed his gender-based confusion to then-wife Linda Thompson.

Bruce began transitioning shortly thereafter - more than 30 years ago - but abandoned the process after five years.

He said he was frightened by the possibility of hurting his children and defying the religious teachings he held dear.

It was during this time, when Bruce was weaning off of his hormones and unhappily suppressing his deepest desires, that he began his relationship with Kris Jenner.

That marriage lasted more than 20 years before coming to an end in 2013, but Bruce says Kris knew about his gender identity from the start.

Even so, he says his transition was "not what she expected."

He also acknowledges that her inability to cope with his desire for reassignment was a factor in their decision to divorce after two decades of marriage.

As difficult as it was to bare his soul to his wives, however, Bruce says the most difficult challenge of his life was telling his kids about his lifelong struggle.

With six biological children and four stepchildren, he had a lot on his plate in that regard. All of them have been nothing but supportive, he says.

Surprisingly, the first member of the Kardashian-Jenner brood that he told was the most famous of stepdaughters, Kim Kardashian.

Kendall and Kylie Jenner found out shortly thereafter when they spotted their father wearing a dress via their in-home security camera.

Jenner adds that despite feeling like a woman his whole life, he's 100 percent heterosexual and has never experienced any desire to be with a man.

As for why he chose to transition so late in life, Bruce says he couldn't bear the thought that he might one day die "having only lived in someone else's body."

Bruce beamed with pride when he discussed a future in which, "I can emerge as myself. How simple is that." 

We look forward to seeing the day.

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