She kept quiet about Bruce Jenner's gender struggles for three decades, but now the Olympian's ex-wife Linda Thompson can finally tell her and her family's story.
The actress and former flame of Elvis Presley recounted her life with Bruce in an article for Huffington Post published shortly after Bruce revealed that he is transgender in an interview with Diane Sawyer.
"I have respectfully kept his secrets private and would have taken his confidences to my grave had he not spoken out," she writes.
The couple in 1984 (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Linda describes how she met and married the man she calls "the most athletic, high-spirited, energetic, easygoing, manly man imaginable," and how they had two sons Brandon and Brody before Bruce confessed his gender dysphoria to her in the early 80s.
After some time in therapy, the couple split up and Bruce began to pursue gender reassignment. He started hormones, received electrolysis on his face and chest hair and began to grow breasts. Linda, doing her best to support Bruce, did not ask for alimony or child support in the divorce and provided unlimited access to the boys, but some things were exhausting.
Brody, Brandon, Linda and her second husband David Foster (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
"One day, after having spent a little time at Bruce's house, both boys came into the kitchen and said to me, 'Mommy, we saw Daddy getting out of the shower naked, and Daddy has boobs!'"
Linda had to cover for Bruce, trying to explain away his growing bust by claiming they were the result of muscles turning into fat without exercise. She also revealed that Bruce wanted to go away to make the transition, come back as a woman and tell his sons he was "Aunt Heather."
Later on, after Bruce married Kris Kardashian, Linda says he just vanished from his sons' lives for several years.
"No birthday cards or phone calls, no 'Merry Christmas,' no 'Everything OK?' after the big Northridge earthquake. Brandon and Brody will never have those 'Hallmark memories' of father-and-son moments."
When the boys were ever especially disappointed by the absence of their father, Linda would do her best to rationalize, saying that when it came to Bruce's emotions "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."
Still, Linda finishes by proclaiming her admiration for her former husband and says she hopes the world will accept him as he was meant to be.
"We are all in this life together," she writes.