It’s the 2019 edition of U.K. television program I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!, and Caitlyn Jenner is sitting having a gossip with other contestants. When asked about becoming a woman, she reveals that one of the Kardashians has not spoken to her since she made the transition. And she apparently doesn’t even know why.
Jenner made the transition because of the difficulty that she’d been having living as a man. When Glamour magazine awarded her with the title of Woman of the Year for 2015, it said, “The Olympic hero turned reality star patriarch was still living a phantom existence, her changing appearance igniting a tabloid frenzy around the rumor she’d run from for most of her 66 years. That she was transgender.”
When presented with the award, Jenner explained, “Over this last six months, it has been the most eye-opening experience of my life. For years and years I never felt like I fit in anywhere. I always felt as an outsider. I never felt good in the male side, and I wasn’t obviously in the female side.”
After that, Jenner went on to explain that her coming out had been a great thing for her. She said, “Because for so many years I lost my enthusiasm for life, literally staying in my house for almost six years. Because I never really wanted to come out, just to go work, that was about it. Now, actually, I like going out, and I like being myself.”
Jenner came into the world in New York state in 1949. And for a whole 65 years, she lived as a man named Bruce. After schooling in New York and Connecticut, Jenner’s athleticism saw her gain a scholarship to an Iowa college in football. However, an injury to her knee ended her football career, and, fatefully, she took up decathlon instead.
Jenner’s coach had prompted her to give the decathlon a try, and she took to it like a duck to water. By the early 1970s she had become an Olympic-standard decathlete, and in 1976 she triumphed in the Olympic Games in Montreal. Some even hailed her as the “world’s greatest athlete.”
That success caught the public imagination. But as with all American Olympians during the 1970s, Jenner was an amateur. Still, she was able to turn the attention into a career on the silver screen. Although Jenner would feature in only one movie before 2011, she popped up on TV fairly often.
In 1990 Jenner had a blind date with Kris Kardashian. One thing led to another, and the two wedded five months later in 1991. Jenner had two kids with Kardashian, adding to the four she had fathered with previous wives Chrystie Crownover and Linda Thompson. And, of course, she gained four stepchildren.
Jenner and Kardashian were together for more than two decades. Jenner would tell U.K. newspaper the Daily Mail in 2019, “When Kris and I separated, it wasn’t because of trans issues. It was for a million other reasons. Kris and I had a great relationship for a long time.” Their marriage came to an end in 2014, after what Kardashian described as “irreconcilable differences.”
Since that split, Jenner supposedly had decent relations with all her children. However, she told the Daily Mail, “I have a good relationship with all of my children. But with some of them, is it better than others? Yeah.” A 2017 memoir, The Secrets of My Life, caused some friction within her family, though.
That memoir came after Jenner publicly announced her transition from Bruce to Caitlyn, man to woman. She appeared on Diane Sawyer’s ABC TV show to proclaim, “For all intents and purposes, I am a woman.” Finally, she explained, she had been able to rectify longstanding gender dysphoria. But it was a magazine cover that shocked the world.
In 2015 Jenner unveiled herself on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine. The glamorous cover – which had been photographed by celebrity snapper Anne Leibovitz – came captioned with the words “Call me Caitlyn.” And inside that cover, Jenner was ready to explain to the world what the new image was all about.
In the interview – which was with Buzz Bissinger – Jenner revealed her aching need not to keep her true self hidden. She said, “If I was lying on my deathbed, and I had kept this secret and never ever did anything about it, I would be lying there saying, ‘You just blew your entire life.’”
Jenner shared her feelings with the world on Twitter. She wrote, “I’m so happy after such a long struggle to be living my true self. Welcome to the world Caitlyn. Can’t wait for you to get to know her/me.” And in 2017 she completed her transition with surgery to reassign her gender.
In December 2019 Jenner explained to the U.K. newspaper the Daily Mirror what a relief transition had been. She said, “I took a long time to figure it out, which is fine. I have no regrets about playing Bruce for 65 years. He was a good guy – he did a lot of amazing things and raised a wonderful family.”
Jenner’s kids all seemed accepting of her transition to one degree or another. Kim had reportedly been “by far the most accepting,” although it had supposedly taken Kim’s husband Kanye West to set her straight on the idea. And though Khloe had apparently shown some resistance, she tweeted supportive things around the time of the Diane Sawyer interview.
Others were more enthusiastic. Kourtney gushed with her support, saying that she “couldn’t be a more proud daughter.” On top of that, Jenner’s blood daughters Kylie and Kendall were heartily behind her transition. Both expressed their pride in Jenner after her coming out. Meanwhile, ex-wife Kris also got behind the former decathlete.
Trans activists and famous celebrities alike also publicly backed Jenner, including luminaries such as Lady Gaga and Jimmy Fallon. Chat show maven Ellen DeGeneres spoke for them when she wrote, “Bruce Jenner is a beautiful, brave human being. Sending him lots of love. He’s saving lives and opening minds tonight.”
Of course, Jenner had already been well known as a reality TV star, so it probably surprised no one that her transition became the focus of a new TV series called I Am Cait. It was well received, with viewership rising to 2.7 million. However, even though it was renewed for a second season, interest eventually dropped off.
Jenner had been seen less often on Keeping Up With the Kardashians after her divorce from Kris. She’d been something of a star of the reality show before then, regularly finding herself in the middle of a gaggle of willful daughters. But she still continued to pop up after transitioning.
Jenner had reportedly amassed $100 million from her various pursuits. In December 2019 she would add more than $600,000 to that by appearing on the U.K. version of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!. She’d appeared on the U.S. show of the same name in 2003, back when she was still known as Bruce.
At least one of Jenner’s girls was right behind her choice to appear on the show. Kendall posted to Instagram, “Always rooting for you, strongest person on the planet.” And she had some words for haters who’d claimed she wasn’t supportive. She wrote, “Just because I am not posting doesn’t mean I’m not supporting. I love my dad! Everyone chill.”
Viewers who thought that Jenner might share some inside info with them about the Kardashian clan were ultimately disappointed. It was claimed that Kris Kardashian had sworn her to secrecy, deploying a contract to ensure that Jenner would not gossip about the girls. Still, that didn’t stop Jenner from dropping a bombshell when asked about her transition.
In an episode which aired on November 28, 2019, the former decathlete spoke about whom she’d told about her transition first. She said, “The first was the kids. I started with Brandon, my son. And he said to me, ‘Dad, I’ve always been so proud to be your son, but I’ve never been more proud of you than right now.’”
Jenner explained that she’d done the same with all her children, but one had not reacted the way that she’d hoped. She said, “I went through every kid, and Khloe for some reason was p****d off about something through this whole process. It’s been five or six years, and I really haven’t talked to her since.”
One of the other contestants had a follow-up question for her, saying, “Do you think she’s more thinking about herself rather than you?” But Jenner didn’t seem sure, replying, “I don’t know. We were really close, I raised her since she was five years old. I really don’t know what her issues are.”
Indeed, Jenner and Khloe seem to have been having something of a feud for some time. In October 2019 Jenner pulled out of an event in Florida so that she wouldn’t run into Khloe. Apparently, when she had agreed to go, Jenner hadn’t known that Khloe intended to turn up too.
And later in the same month, Khloe paid Jenner back by not turning up to celebrate her 70th birthday. She was the only member of the clan not to be there. Earlier, in 2016, the feud had become conspicuous, when the two seemed set on not standing near each other when photographed for a Kardashian-Jenner group picture.
However, Jenner’s revelations puzzled her stepdaughter. An insider told entertainment website TMZ that Khloe had been taken aback by them, and they were quick to provide Khloe’s side of the story. The insider said, “Khloe is genuinely confused by Caitlyn’s recent claim they haven’t talked in ‘five, six years’ and [that] their current relationship is sour.”
The person close to Khloe said that the Kardashian could “[refute] the notion on several fronts.” They explained that Khloe had had a reason to miss the October birthday party. She had been working, so she couldn’t go – but she hadn’t ignored the occasion. Khloe had sent Jenner flowers, and she had messaged her congratulations.
Looking back, the source explained that Khloe had been there for Jenner in 2015, when she’d been given an ESPY courage award. And the two could be seen at family get-togethers on Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Indeed, the insider claimed that Khloe had backed Jenner’s transition to the full. Apparently, only some spicy talk about Kris Kardashian in Jenner’s memoir in 2017 had caused some bad feeling.
Apparently, Khloe had also had a problem because she felt that Jenner had made a promise to her dad Robert Kardashian to look after her and her siblings. Robert had passed from esophageal cancer in 2003, leaving Jenner to help care for his four kids. Becoming Caitlyn had compromised that pledge, according to Khloe.
When Jenner had transitioned to Caitlyn, Khloe had had to undergo a period of grieving for Bruce. Although she felt a lot of love for Jenner, she said in her memoir Strong Looks Better Naked, “I saw the transformation as a huge loss.” And one aspect of the transition in particular had hurt her.
Khloe wrote in her book, “In some ways I felt the worst part was that other people had known about the transition before we did. I felt devalued by that fact. It was about my own loss; it was about the pain I felt because he was walking out of our lives.”
Appearing on The Ellen Degeneres Show in November 2015, Khloe explained how painful finding out about the transition from outsiders had been. She said, “We kept asking him, ‘Bruce, like what’s going on? We’re hearing all these rumors?’ And he kept telling us one thing, but really he knew he was transitioning and wouldn’t be honest with us.”
In 2016 Khloe told Howard Stern that she had only learned of Jenner’s transition when told about I Am Cait when meeting with E! The Stern interview didn’t go down well with Jenner, and she messaged Khloe furiously. But the younger woman fought back, as could be seen on Keeping Up With the Kardashians when she phoned Kris Kardashian.
Speaking of Jenner and his insistence that the family stick together, Khloe said, “I said, ‘You jumped that ship as soon as you did Diane Sawyer and attacked my mum.’ And instead, [she] tells me to ‘get a life’ and to ‘shut up,’ and I’m like, ‘You shut up, and you get a f***ing life.’” And with that, she told Kris Kardashian that she was done for good with Jenner.
When Kris confronted Jenner with what Khloe had said, Jenner was understandably upset. But Kris talked her down with some words of wisdom, saying, “This is not intentional. You’re making this so hard. You were her father. You were her dad since she was five years old. Give her a break.”
In 2017 Jenner spoke with Diane Sawyer again and revealed that she had drifted away from her kids. She said, “Some [of my children] I have remained very close to. A couple of them… I’m a little more distant. I have to admit, I’ll sit here and wonder, ‘Is it because of my transitioning? Or is it because their life is so busy that they don’t call, like all the time?’”
But in October 2017, Khloe gave Jenner both barrels in Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Mocking Jenner, she said, “I’m the victim, I’m the victim, they don’t want to see me.” And then she explained her side of the feud in strong terms, saying, “Oh f*** off, and it’s not because you’re trans. That’s not why I’m not talking to you. I’m not talking to you because you’re a bad, mean person.” It seems, then, that things are still rather tense.