Last night, Bruce Jenner got the chance to tell his story. Finally.
In a long-teased, two-hour interview with Diane Sawyer, the former Olympic gold-medal decathlete revealed a secret he's kept to himself since he was a child: He was born "with the soul of a female."
At age 65, he is transitioning to a woman.
"For all intents and purposes, I am a woman ... I was not genetically born that way, and as of now, I have all the male parts ... But I still identify as female. It's very hard for Bruce Jenner to say that. Why? Because I don't want to disappoint people," he told Sawyer.
After months of tabloid rumors and harassment from the paparazzi, Jenner has confirmed what we've been speculating about for months now.
"I'm not a girl in guy's body, I hate that, I am a person, it's who I am," he said. "My brain is much more female than it is male. It's hard for people to understand but that's what my soul is."
He is considering gender confirmation surgery, but hasn't made any decisions yet.
For the purposes of the show, he still wanted to be referred to as "he," but he talked about his true self and what he'd like to be referred to post-transition as "she." He hasn't revealed a name for himself yet though, because, he said, "the media will go crazy and I'll never get rid of them."
Also, he clarified, being transgender is not the same as being gay. "I'm not gay," he said. "I am as far as I know, heterosexual. I've never been with a guy, I've always been married, raising kids."
Though he kept a sense of humor throughout the interview, it was clear how much of a struggle this has been for his entire life. "I lived a lie my whole life and I can't do that any longer. Let's take the damn ponytail out," he said, as he finally let his long hair loose.
When cameras caught him going into the doctor's office for a tracheal shave last year (to reduce the appearance of his Adam's apple), he feared his secret would come out before he was ready. He thought about killing himself.
"That night, I thought, 'It's over.' I was in this walking up and down this hall back and forth all night long. Heart pounding," he told Sawyer. "I thought, 'Wouldn't the easiest thing to do right now is go in the other room, get a gun. Pain is over. Done. Go to a better place.'
"I thought, 'I can't do something like that. I want to know how this story ends.'"
So now he has dedicated himself to telling his story in order to spread awareness and acceptance — and he has his family's full support (including his three ex wives). But, he said, he's not a spokesman for the community.
In fact, Kim once caught him in women's clothing — something that started when he was 8 or 9, using his sister's dress — in their home, but never said anything. She's ready to help Jenner explore his identity as a woman, telling him, playfully, "Girl, you gotta rock it, baby. You gotta look good."
He laughed at the irony that, as a sort of background character on "Keeping Up With The Kardashians," he was the one with the juiciest story: "The one real true story in the family was the one I was hiding, and nobody knew about it," he said. "The one thing that could really make a difference in people’s lives was right here in my soul, and I could not tell that story."
Even with all the feats of strength from his younger years under his belt, this, by far, took the most strength.
We'll let him have the last word:
“I just can’t pull the curtain any longer. I’ve built a nice little life, I just can't — again, Bruce lives a lie. She is not a lie. I just can’t do it anymore.
“I am saying goodbye to people’s perception of me and who I am. I’m not saying goodbye to me because this has always been me.”
Here's a (very) abridged version of the interview from ABC News:
Screengrab via ABC News/YouTube