From Olympic sportsman to stunning model
Caitlyn Jenner's life after gender transition forms the basis of new documentary series, I Am Cait. Jeananne Craig charts an emotional few months for the Olympic gold medallist and reality star
SIX months ago, Bruce Jenner was best known as the US athletics champion, whose family life was laid bare for our viewing pleasure on Keeping Up With The Kardashians.
From trips to the golf course to rows with wife Kris, it seemed Jenner’s every move was carried out in front of paparazzi lenses and TV cameras.
But the 65-year-old, who won a gold medal in the decathlon at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, had been hiding a painful secret all his life: he identified as a female.
After decades hiding the truth, Jenner decided to undergo gender transition and become a woman, Caitlyn, earlier this year – but not before opening up to his family, and the world.
As a new eight-part E! series, I Am Cait, follows Caitlyn’s new life, we look back on a groundbreaking few months for the star.
April: Interview with Diane Sawyer
In an interview with veteran US television journalist Diane Sawyer in April, Bruce revealed he’d lived most of his life feeling that he was a woman, and didn’t want to keep it a secret any longer. The sports star also confessed he had been terrified about telling his children – his two daughters with Kris Kardashian (who he split with in 2013 and divorced last year), Kris’s four children from a previous marriage, and his four children also from previous marriages – because he didn’t want to hurt them.
But he added: “What I am doing is going to change the world. I really firmly believe that we are going to make some difference in the world with what we are doing.”
After the interview aired, Jenner’s children and stepchildren tweeted their support. Kim Kardashian wrote: “Love is the courage to live the truest, best version of yourself. Bruce is love. I love you Bruce. #ProudDaughter.”
May: Family heart-to-heart
In May, E! aired a two-part special About Bruce, in which he discussed his decision to transition with his daughters and ex-wife Kris.
During the tear-jerker episodes, Bruce revealed he was planning to undergo the changes soon.
Meanwhile, daughter Kendall remembered how she found her father’s make-up as a child and feared he was having an affair, while Kim recalled walking in on her stepfather dressed as a woman.
But the most emotional encounter was a head-to-head with Kris, to whom Bruce was married for 22 years. The ‘momager’ told her former husband: “All I’ll have are my memories. I feel like Bruce died and it’s really hard for me to wrap my head around that.”
June: Introducing Caitlyn
On June 1, Caitlyn introduced herself to the world through the cover of Vanity Fair magazine. The Annie Leibovitz image featured the star with flowing brunette locks, looking stunning in a nude corset, with the headline “Call me Caitlyn”.
The same day, Caitlyn joined Twitter and broke a world record by becoming the fastest person to reach one million followers, in four hours and three minutes. She tweeted a pic of the Vanity Fair cover and wrote: “I’m so happy after such a long struggle to be living my true self. Welcome to the world Caitlyn. Can’t wait for you to get to know her/me.”
President Barack Obama was among the high-profile figures to voice their support for the star, tweeting: “It takes courage to share your story.” Chat show host Ellen DeGeneres wrote: “My hope for the world is that we can all be as brave as @Caitlyn_Jenner.”
Later that month, Caitlyn posted a Father’s Day photo surrounded by some of her children after a day out. She wrote: “We had so much fun off-roading. So much love and support! Love my family!”
July: Hailed as a hero
Caitlyn made her first major public appearance as a woman on July 15, when she accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage prize at the ESPY (Excellence in Sport Performance Yearly) awards, with her children looking on.
In her speech, she confessed the transition had been “harder on me than anything I could imagine”.
“Trans people deserve something vital. They deserve your respect and from that respect comes from a more compassionate community, a more empathetic society and a better world for all of us,” she added.
“If you want to call me names, make jokes, doubt my intentions – go ahead, because the reality is I can take it. But for the thousands of kids out there coming to terms with who they are,
they shouldn’t have to take it.”
August: I Am Cait
A trailer for the upcoming E! series shows Caitlyn beautifying herself in front of the mirror and admitting: “You start learning the pressure that women are under all the time about their appearance.”
But the reality TV star is clearly enjoying her new life as a woman. “How many people go through life and just waste it, because they never deal with themselves, to be who they are?” she asks.
In another clip, driving with a pal, Caitlyn says: “Isn’t it great that maybe soon you’ll be normal, just blend into society? Put it this way, I’m the new normal.”
I Am Cait is on E! on Sunday nights.