About 17 million people tuned in to hear Bruce Jenner publicly come out as transgender on 20/20 Friday, and dozens of celebrities have offered words of support for the former Olympic champ - including Jenner's ex-wife, Linda Thompson.
Thompson, who is the mother of Brandon and Brody Jenner, penned a lengthy essay for The Huffington Posttitled "How Living With and Loving Bruce Jenner Changed My Life Forever," which was posted immediately after Jenner's 20/20 interview aired on Friday night.
Thompson chronicles her relationship with Jenner, whom she describes as "too good to be true," but also "the most athletic, high-spirited, energetic, easy-going, manly man imaginable." In the mid-1980s, she says, Jenner approached her one day and told her he identified as a woman.
She writes: "'What do you mean you identify as a woman?' I asked. 'What does that mean?' He replied that it meant that for as long as he could remember, he had looked in the mirror and seen a masculine image staring back at him where there should have been a feminine reflection. Bruce lamented, 'I have lived in the wrong skin, the wrong body, my whole life. It is a living hell for me, and I really feel that I would like to move forward with the process of becoming a woman, the woman I have always been inside.'"
Jenner wanted to travel abroad to transition and re-enter his children's lives as "Aunt Heather," Thompson writes.
Thompson says she would have "taken his confidences to [her] grave" if Jenner had not come out publicly, but now that he has, she fully supports her ex-husband.
"He can finally realize his need to be who he authentically is, who he was born to be," Thompson writes. "That takes tremendous courage. For that I commend him."
Other celebrities have also shown their support for Jenner publicly, including his children. But not all were on board. Kim Kardashian's ex-husband, Kris Humphries, had this to say (but later apologized):
Man, I'm glad I got out when I did. #Gottadoyou— Kris Humphries (@KrisHumphries) April 25, 2015
Check out some of the more positive reactions below, and read Thompson's full essay here.
Just finished watching the #BruceJennerInterview with the family. Bruzer, I'm soooo proud of you! Dads really are heros ❤️— Khloé (@khloekardashian) April 25, 2015
Couldn't be a more proud daughter. With courage and bravery, let's change the world. I am honored to stand by Bruce's side and support him.— Kourtney Kardashian (@kourtneykardash) April 25, 2015
so very proud of you, my hero.— Kendall Jenner (@KendallJenner) April 25, 2015
Not only was I able to call him my husband for 25 years and father of my children, I am now able to call him my hero.— Kris Jenner (@KrisJenner) April 25, 2015
Proud son. https://t.co/n4BGMx5ubq— Brandon Jenner (@sprandoni) April 24, 2015
"All of us deserve the right to be loved for who we are ". Bravo #BruceJenner— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) April 25, 2015
We have the chance to write this moment in history together. Let's empower people like Bruce all over the world by being loving & not mean.💗— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) April 24, 2015
Anyone who's trans-gender & is brave & strong enough to live openly & honestly deserves better than what Bruce Jenner is getting.— Andy Richter (@AndyRichter) April 24, 2015
Bruce Jenner is a beautiful, brave human being. Sending him lots of love. He's saving lives and opening minds tonight.— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) April 25, 2015
I was proud of Bruce Jenner in Montreal and I'm proud of him tonight. Some have to fight more than the rest of us for their happiness.— Rob Lowe (@RobLowe) April 25, 2015
bruce jenner is beautiful💕 we all need to commit to making this world a more loving, supportive, SAFE /non judgemental place to be ourselves— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) April 25, 2015
Sending lots of love and support to #BruceJenner and their family tonight. It is always brave to stand in one's truth. Congrats darling.— Laverne Cox (@Lavernecox) April 25, 2015
I support you #BruceJenner. Courageous and true to yourself. I hope the world gives you the love and respect you deserve.— Matt Bomer (@MattBomer) April 25, 2015