Bruce Jenner‘s journey over the last several decades didn’t just affect him — it also had a lasting impact on his kids, particularly the eldest four of the bunch. By his own admission, the former Olympian wasn’t a very present father for Burt, Casey, Brandon, or Brody, his children from his first two marriages to Chrystie Crownover and Linda Thompson. And he says it’s because he was struggling at the time with his gender identity.
In a previously unaired clip from Jenner’s headline-making April 24 interview with Diane Sawyer, the Keeping Up With the Kardashians star explained his absence from his kids’ lives in the 1980s, when they were still young.
“The big, formative years for them, I was really struggling with these issues,” Bruce, 65, told Sawyer. “I talked to all of the boys about this after the fact, that, yeah, I didn’t do a good job. And I apologized to my kids for that.”
These days, the family is on much better terms. And while things aren’t necessarily perfect between them, all four of the older kids seem to view this next stage of their father’s life as a chance for them to start over, too.
“We have a very complex relationship,” Casey, 34, admitted. “He’s disappeared out of our lives, especially out of my life. So I’m looking forward to this next chapter.”
She’s not the only one. As Brandon, 33, told Sawyer, “Us missing, you know, a time of our lives is still probably the hardest thing for us to deal with. We’re trying not to look back. We’re just looking forward.”
Brandon noted, too, that he felt a newfound sense of pride for his dad after the athlete told him he was transitioning from male to female.
“In seeing him come out to me, and explain his true self, I was more proud right then to carry the last name Jenner and to be a part of the family than at any time before,” the indie singer told Sawyer as he sat beside Bruce.
Added Burt, 36: “The one thing I think that we have gained that means more to us than anything is the honesty.”
Bruce, for his part — also dad to two other biological children, Kendall and Kylie, and stepdad to the four Kardashian kids — previously told Sawyer that his brood was his sole concern when he decided to go public with his transition. “Those are the only ones I’m concerned with,” he said Friday. “I can’t let myself hurt them…How do I do this and not hurt my children?”
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