Bruce Jenner's Ex-Wife Shares Her Own Painful & Beautiful Memories

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The support for Bruce Jenner poured in following the Olympian/reality star's emotional interview with Diane Sawyer about his gender identity. Now, one more member of his family, second wife Linda Thompson, is sharing more than just a tweet. The actress, who was married to Jenner from 1981 to 1986, wrote an essay in Huffington Post that tells what it was like to be married to Jenner and later learn of his secret torment.

"Bruce's story and his struggle are uniquely his; my experiences with Bruce are commensurately uniquely my own," Thompson writes, after praising him as a "trailblazer for the civil rights of the transgender community." 
She begins with a pretty romantic story, telling of how she first admired Jenner from afar, while still dating Elvis Presley, and finally met him at a charity tennis event held at the Playboy Mansion, of all places. She expresses the joy of having sons Brandon and Brody, and spending time with his two children from his first marriage.

But when Brody was just 18 months old, Bruce told Thompson the truth about what he'd been going through. Her immediate reaction was to seek out therapy to "fix" the issue. The therapist they found "was a lovely woman who very calmly, and as gently as she could, massacred me with the information that broke my heart into a million pieces." At the time, Jenner was seriously considering gender reassignment surgery, and discussed the possibility of re-entering his sons' lives as "Aunt Heather." 
While sharing the devastation she experienced at the end of her marriage, Thompson emphasizes, "I was also empathetic to, and mourned for, the pain that Bruce had experienced every day of his life."  

In his interview with Diane Sawyer, Jenner said he decided not to go through with the transition in the '80s for the sake of his children. And, as we well know, he went on to marry Kris Jenner. Thompson describes those years as particularly painful for her sons, as their father didn't see them for years at a time. Her explanation to Brandon for this behavior is truly heartbreaking on all sides: "Honey, your dad may have been the world's greatest athlete physically, but emotionally, you have to view him in a wheelchair. If he had emotional legs, he'd get up and walk to you, but he just doesn't right now. Just try to understand him, love and forgive him." 
Since then, relations between all involved have clearly warmed up. And, Thompson concludes her piece with a beautiful sentiment. "I pray we may all challenge ourselves to delve into the deepest resources of our hearts to cultivate an atmosphere of understanding, acceptance, tolerance, and compassion. We are all in this life together."      

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