You might know Bruce Jenner as the patriarch of the hit reality show Keeping Up With The Kardashians, who after years of rumors, is now reportedly coming out as transgender and transitioning into becoming female, but even before the Kardashians, he was very famous and accomplished in his own right. Just a note, while it’s proper to use feminine pronouns when referring to a transgender female, since Jenner has not officially confirmed he is a woman himself, although everyone else has, he will be referred to using masculine pronouns for the sake of this article.
Jenner was born William Bruce Jenner, on October 28, 1949, in Mt. Kisco, New York. He attended Graceland College, which is now Graceland University in Iowa, on a football scholarship, but after a knee injury, he became a decathlete and eventually won a gold metal in the Olympics.
On February 7th, 2015, Jenner was involved in a multi-car collision, which resulted in the tragic death of one of the drivers and the injury of eight others. Luckily, Bruce walked away unscathed. He was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash. There were also rumors he was being chased by the paparazzi a la Princess Diana, but that did not prove to be true. While Jenner’s name has been all over the press for the past few months, you might think you know everything about him, but you probably don’t know his entire story. Here are fifteen things you didn’t know about Bruce Jenner.
14. Kris Kardashian Was His Third Wife
Jenner’s first wife was Chrystie Crownover. Crownover was the daughter of a minister and became a flight attendant. The couple met while studying at Graceland College in Iowa. They were married for nine years, from 1972-1981. Jenner’s second wife was actress Linda Thompson, who had previously been Elvis Presley’s long time girlfriend. They married in 1982, but divorced just two years later. In 1991, Jenner married Kris Kardashian, who had previously been married to famed O.J. Simpson defense attorney, Robert Kardashian.
13. Kylie and Kendall Jenner Aren’t His Only Children
In addition to the famous Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Bruce has four other children. He has daughter Casey and son Burt, from his first marriage to Chrystie Crownover. His more famous sons Brody and Brandon are the result of his second marriage to Linda Thompson. Brody and Brandon were actually reality stars before Keeping Up With The Kardashians ever saw the light of day, when they appeared on their own show, Princes of Malibu. Brody Jenner was also on the popular reality TV show, The Hills, alongside Lauren Conrad, Heidi Montag, Spencer Pratt and Whitney Port.
12. Bruce Was Famous Way Before The Kardashians
Before appearing on the many Keeping Up With The Kardashians marathons, he was appearing in real athletic marathons. Bruce Jenner was a famous Olympian before he ever hooked up with Kris Kardashian. Jenner won a gold metal in the decathlon, at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Canada. He also set a world record of 8,616 points, which was later broken by 4 points in 1980. Just 4 years ago, in 2011, Jenner was ranked the 25th best decathlete of all time in the world, and the 9th best of all time in America.
11. He Also Knew How To Market Himself Even Way Back In The Day
As we all know, the Kardashians are excellent at marketing themselves and Bruce Jenner is certainly no different. Even before the Kardashians, he had his name on a whole bunch of products, most notably, the Wheaties cereal box (a little has undoubtedly changed from having his face on a cereal box to the Kim having her face on an App, for example). Over the years, Jenner has endorsed everything from Tropicana Orange Juice to the Minolta XG-1 camera and Vioxx (an arthritis drug that was pulled off the market), as well as many other products. He also owns Bruce Jenner Aviation, which sells aircraft supplies.
10. Running Wasn’t The Only Sport Bruce Was Good At
In high school, Bruce Jenner seemed to be a pro at everything he did. He was on the basketball team, the track team and was even on a few football teams. After his memorable Olympic career, in the 80’s, Jenner even tried his hand at professional car racing, in the IMSA Camel GT series (International Motor Sports Association). While he had some mild success, Bruce Jenner wasn’t exactly impressed with himself, saying, “I was a lot more bada** runner than I was a driver.” We can all agree he sets the bar rather high for himself.
9. He Also Tried To Be An Actor
As one would imagine, Jenner’s impressive Olympic fame made him a noticeable face and he attempted to make something bigger out of it (and why not?). He had a brief foray into acting before the reality television stardom that we know today. He was Erik Estrada’s replacement on C.H.I.P.S, in 1981. He also guest starred on The Love Boat, Murder She Wrote and Me and Mom. Bruce Jenner also acted in some made-for-television movies, including Grambling’s White Tiger, in 1981 and Original Intent in 1992.
8. He Has Some Bad Habits
When Bruce Jenner was in a car accident last weekend, the media made a lot of speculations, including that he was being chased down by the paparazzi (people at the scene say “no”), he was under the influence of something (he took a field sobriety test, as well as a test at the police station and he was not under the influence of anything), or that he was texting while driving (he quickly denied this). However, it turns out that Jenner was smoking a cigarette just before the accident took place, which is a rather interesting habit for a former Olympian.
7. He Has Had A Lot Of Surgery
We don’t really know if Jenner is having sexual re-assignment surgery, but what we do know is that he’s had many other surgeries, including a tracheal shave in 2014, which reduces the Adam’s apple, giving the neck and face a more feminine appearance (which is a little more understanding now with the rumors of wanting a sex change). He started having plastic surgery in the mid 80’s with a partial face-lift and nose job. Then in 2009, Jenner had another face-lift, which was featured on his reality show.
6. Bruce Is Dyslexic
Most people don’t know that Bruce Jenner is dyslexic, which is a learning disability that affects a person’s ability to read and process information. In an interview with Ability Magazine, Jenner discussed how dyslexia affected his self-esteem “I thought everybody else was doing much better than I was. I’d look around to my peers, and everyone else could do this simple process of reading. I was afraid the teacher was going to make me read in front of class, and I was going to look bad…I was also so nervous and so upset.”
5. Everyone Saw This Coming Even Before The Kardashians
It’s not exactly a big surprise that Bruce Jenner is planning to transition into a women. People have known and the rumors have been public knowledge for a little while now. Bruce’s first wife Chrystie, allegedly told Ellen Kardashian, who was married to the late Robert Kardashian, “[Bruce] had gone through all my clothes. And I found my bras…He’d clip them together and wear them.” Jenner has also been photographed publicly with long hair and nail polish for several years now.
4. He Is Currently Filming A Series About His Transition
While Bruce Jenner has been shaken up by his recent car accident, the show, as they say, must go on and he is currently shooting a solo series about his transition. Like every other Kardashian-related show, his series will air on the E! channel and is scheduled for May, 2015. It is being produced by the same people who produce Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Despite his divorce, Jenner is still on the most recent season of that show, which will premier on March 1st, 2015.
3. He Wishes His Daughters Wouldn’t Talk About His Transition
The famous K’s, Kim, Kourtney, Khloe, Kendall and Kylie won’t shut up about what’s going on with their stepfather and are reportedly the initial source of many media leaks about Jenner’s decision for transition. He allegedly even gave them specific information to see if it would surface in the press as a test and it did. That doesn’t make Bruce very happy. Now, he reportedly won’t even tell his daughters his new female name until his interview with Diane Sawyer airs later on in May.
2. His Divorce Was Easier Than His Marriage
In September of 2014, Kris Kardashian officially filed for divorce from Bruce Jenner. While there had been a lot of drama in their marriage (as seen on the reality show), the divorce was relatively (surprisingly) drama free. There were no attorneys involved, which must have saved a lot of kash. Additionally, there was no pre-nup and no spousal support on either side. The couple even came up with their own agreement for the division of their property. The main reason for their divorce? Irreconcilable differences, which is to say the very least.
1. His Mother Approves Of His Transition
Bruce Jenner’s very proud mother, Esther Jenner, is reportedly an incredibly supportive parent who openly accepts her child both publicly and privately. At 88 years old, she certainly isn’t the one who is attempting to generate any gossip. In fact, in a lengthy phone conversation with the Associated Press, she has said this, “I never thought I could be more proud of Bruce when he reached his goal in 1976, but I’m more proud of him now. It takes a lot of courage to do what he’s doing.” What a great mom!
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