EXCLUSIVE: Bruce Jenner's Second Wife Linda Thompson Commends ABC Interview

by Jessica Roy 1:57 PM PDT, April 25, 2015
Playing EXCLUSIVE: Bruce Jenner's Second Wife Linda Thompson Commends ABC Interview

Bruce Jenner's second wife has released a statement exclusively to ET responding to the groundbreaking 20/20 interview with the former Olympian.

Linda Thompson was married to Bruce Jenner from 1981 to 1986, and is the mother of two of his sons, Brandon and Brody. She tells ET she was watching the interview last night with Bruce, his first wife Chrystie Scott, and Bruce's oldest children, Cassandra (known as Casey) and Burt.

UPDATE: According to sources, Bruce Jenner watched the East Coast feed with Kris Jenner and some other family members, then watched the West Coast feed with Linda, Chrystie and his older children.

NEWS: Bruce Jenner: "I Am a Woman"

"Diane Sawyer and her team are to be commended for pulling the veil off a little understood human condition in such an enlightening, informative and compassionate fashion. Bruce's courage is unparalleled. Brandon, Brody, Burt and Cassandra made me so proud," Thompson said in her statement. "They exhibited the dignity, class and depth of character I have always know (sic) them to possess. I pray this will open a new, kinder, more inclusive chapter on humanity itself."

When we caught up with Linda Thompson on Saturday, she told ET that she thought the interview "was amazing. It was so beautifully done."

Bruce Jenner's children are "very proud and very supportive of their dad," Thompson told ET.

She also had kind words for Diane Sawyer's job as interviewer: "Diane Sawyer is a queen. She is elegant, smart and sensitive. It's really wonderful."

"It's a new chapter in humanity and human kindness," she said of the interview's cultural impact. "I hope (Bruce) is potentially saving lives."

Thompson also published a lengthy piece in the Huffington Post, written prior to the interview, about her relationship with Jenner, titled "How Living With and Loving Bruce Jenner Changed My Life Forever."

"When Brody was about 18 months old and Brandon was about 3 and a half years old, Bruce came to me one day with a very somber look on his face and said, 'There's something about me that I really need to tell you, something you need to know.' I truly thought he might possibly tell me he had had an affair while on the road. But that's not what he wanted to confess to me. Bruce told me that he identified as a woman," Thompson wrote.

Toward the end of the piece, she writes, "I can now breathe a little easier, knowing he now has found the strength and the courage to fulfill his dream. He can finally realize his need to be who he authentically is, who he was born to be. That takes tremendous courage. For that I commend him."

Thompson is one of many people in Jenner's life who's publicly supporting him after his announcement.

As Jenner has not yet said that a new name or pronouns should be used, ETonline will follow GLAAD guidelines and continue to refer to him by his current name and male pronouns.

Watch Jenner explain how stepdaughter Kim came around on his transition: