Finally Revealing All
She kept Hollywood’s most shocking secrets for years on end and mingled with the hottest names in show biz. This is the story of Linda Thompson, the woman who single-handedly changed the face of the industry. Now, after years of clamming up, Linda left no stone unturned in her new book.
Preserve Her Innocence
Linda was one of Elvis’s greatest loves. In fact, he admired her so much so that when Linda revealed she was pure, the King of Rock and Roll replied: “I want to preserve for you as long as you need,” Linda wrote in her book. “He actually used the word ‘preserve,’” which is far from what one would expect from a man in his position, one who had girls throw themselves at his feet and beg for so much as a glimpse their way.
Passionate And Delicate
When Linda felt ready, there was no stopping her from getting her way. In her book, she discusses giving that special part of herself away to Elvis, but explains it was done impeccably: “We were in our king-sized bed on a pedestal, with a mirrored ceiling above us, reflecting Elvis and me tangled in a loving entrainment of arms, legs, kissed and deeply felt intimacy,” elaborated Thompson. “Let’s just say if you’re not ready then, you’re never going to be ready in your whole entire lifetime.”
Became His On-Call Psychologist
When Elvis reached the monumental 40 mark, he experienced a minor midlife crisis. He started to obsess about his looks, limited himself to only 500 calories a day and went through a full face lift. Speculation began to arise concerning the idol’s changed appearance, with claims that he had a lot more work done than he was willing to admit. Linda had to stand by and watch as her man spiraled into a self-hate mess, one which undermined his stability even further.
Embarrassed And Insecure
According to Linda, Presley had major insecurity issues concerning his body. He was convinced he had a “skinny little chicken neck” that undermined his public image as the symbol of masculinity and did anything he could think of to hide that particular body part, including raising his shirt collar. Indeed, what later became a fashion statement many imitated to appear as careless and wild as Elvis was, actually started as a coping mechanism to assist the singer in looking past his insecurities.
Pills Took Over His Life
To lose weight faster and with less effort, Elvis began taking sedatives that made him drowsy and lose conscious during most hours of the day. He slept almost all the time, “except for free brief periods each day when he woke up long enough to go to the bathroom and eat a small portion of food. Then he was sedated again and went back to sleep,” wrote Linda in her book. By that time, Elvis was entirely dependent on pills, and Linda had to sit by and watch.
Elvis Nearly Died In Her Arms
Elvis was on various prescribed pills, explained Linda in her book: “He was taking Placidyl, which was a powerful sleeping pill and tranquilizer. I was gone just long enough to hurry through my bedtime routine,” she wrote, “but by the time I came back into the bedroom, he was face down in his big bowl of chicken noodle soup.” Linda had to act promptly if she wanted to save Elvis. She quickly drew his head back from the bowl and began cleaning him vigorously, but Elvis wasn’t breathing.
Saving His Life
Then, Linda noticed a shot of Ritalin that was left beside their bed. Presley’s doctor always left a shot around, “in case Elvis ever had too much of one of the sedatives,” wrote Linda. She had no time to second guess her decision. Linda grabbed the syringe containing Ritalin and administered it to him immediately. After that, Elvis gained consciousness again and his breathing stabilized. It was then Linda realized her relationship with the King became a burden, risk, and utterly intolerable.
Start of Something New
Linda began dating Bruce Jenner in 1980 when she was 30 years old. Still trying to overcome her recent heartbreak from her failed 4.5-year relationship with Elvis, Linda asserted she wanted to lead a normal life with a supporting partner who would provide her with a sense of security she needed so desperately. The former Olympic Gold Medal winner seemed to tick all the right boxes, so they married only one short year after that in Oahu, Hawaii on January 5, 1981. For a while at least, everything seemed to fall into place.
Bruce Unveiled Everything
But what started as a healthy, loving relationship turned out to be one that was much different than what Linda anticipated. She had hoped to stay clear of drama and tension at that point in her life, but fate had other plans. The decathlete Olympian went through a personal process that would change their lives forever. Bruce confessed his gender dysphoria by detailing back to the moment he stood with nothing but his gold medal on, faced a mirror and realized he felt trapped in his own body.
In her biography, Linda described the day her reality shifted 180 degrees: “My happiness was complete until that day when Brody was 18 months old and Brandon was just about three and a half, and my remarkable husband came to me one day and said, ‘I need to tell you something about myself. I identify as a woman… I am a woman. I would like to become female on the exterior, because I’ve always been female on the inside.”‘ Linda tried to keep her cool, but did not know how.
Couple Therapy Sessions
Although she wanted to support Bruce, who was obviously struggling, Linda said his news was “earth shattering and devastating.” It was a different time back then, and Linda was not sure what this meant in terms of their relationship. Although blind sighted, Linda knew that no matter what, she would do her best to put her marriage back on the right track. Bruce and Linda started seeing a therapist in New York, and Linda felt somewhat optimistic – but then Bruce invited her to his hotel room in the city.
Fell Down And Burst Into Tears
She had no way of predicting what would come next. If anything, Linda felt encouraged – could this be a changed Bruce, the one she fell for and no longer desired to be a woman? But as she made her way down the hall, she opened his door only to find Bruce dressed in women’s clothing. It was too much to bear: “I think I even fell down in the hall … I just went, ‘Oh, oh, no, no.’ And I just started crying,” Linda wrote.
The Moment She Understood
After that whole debacle that threw Linda off, Bruce apologized frantically and tried to explain his actions. He said, “I’m so sorry. I just thought it was very important that you see who I authentically am.” Linda thought back to that day, took a deep breath and revealed: “Not until that moment, I guess, did it sink into my psyche that that truly was who Caitlyn felt that she was. And I had to respect that and honor that and move on with my life.”
The Struggle Was Real
Linda was not one to reveal others’ secrets – especially not the people she considered close to her heart and would never want to see hurt. When Bruce started explaining his internal dilemma, she thought he was going to confess cheating on her, but then realized his crisis was an existential one. She understood the situation’s complex nature and tried to be there for him in whatever way she could, to guide him through this unfamiliar struggle in his life.
An Offer She Couldn’t Accept
Linda decided to pull herself out of the equation and think only of their shared kids from then onwards. Bruce suggested that he would travel out of the country and have his gender reassignment surgery anonymously there. Linda explained that Bruce was seriously considering going through with this plan, returning to the US as a female and move back in with Linda and their two sons – Brandon and Brody. That way, he could be reintroduced into their lives as the kids’ aunt and remain married to Linda.
Hearing this so-called quick fix solution, Linda had enough. She told Bruce to pack up his things and leave their home, admitting she did not want to be married to a woman. 1985 was the year Bruce moved out of their home and into a house in Malibu. After his departure, it somehow became harder to hide the truth from the kids. Now living on his own, Bruce was fully committed to following through with his transition, as nobody else stood in the way.
A Mysterious Tape
Cleaning up around her house, Linda found a VHS tape Bruce recorded a while back. She played the tape, only to discover a video of Bruce parading around in women’s wear: “He’d filmed himself having a fashion show for the camera. I guess he must have had his own wardrobe hidden somewhere in the house,” she wrote in her biography. This upset Linda, who respected Bruce’s wishes to keep his secret just that, but still managed to find a tape with such evidence laying around the house.
Fuming At His Irresponsibility
“As I watched, I felt such sadness for him. And then I got angry that he’d left such concrete evidence of his secret around the house, where the boys might have found it and required an explanation. But, mostly, I was just stunned,” wrote Linda. Despite understanding the significant way in which his internal battles are going to affect both her and their shared children, Linda couldn’t help but feel sorry for Bruce, who spent all this time living a lie.
“Daddy Has Breasts”
“He was 35 at the time, and he actually pulled off cross-dressing convincingly and looked quite pretty.” After their separation was formal, Linda still wanted Bruce to be a part of their boys’ lives, so they arranged a schedule in which he would see Brody and Brandon frequently. Since Bruce started injecting female hormones and he removed her through electrolysis, he began to look different. His boys noticed something was off and told their mom after one visit that “Daddy has breasts.”
Friends In High Places
Linda kept her ex-husband’s secret hidden from everyone – including their children. In fact, it wasn’t until Brandon and Brody turned 31 and 29, respectively, that she revealed the big news to them. However, she was not the only one who had to keep her mouth shut. Lionel Richie and his wife, Brenda, were best of friends with Linda and Bruce, and therefore knew from the start why the two were splitting up. When they were asked by the media for the reason, the two claimed distance caused the split.
A Sudden Change
When Bruce left his home with Linda and moved forward with his plans for transformation, Linda wanted to ensure this did not mean he would be leaving their sons behind. That is why when his relationship with Kris Kardashian began, she was through the roof with joy. She felt relieved, as though the fact Bruce was willing to “put aside” his gender dysphoria guaranteed he would stay in Brody and Brandon’s lives as the father figure they so desperately wanted.
“‘I was elated, I was so elated that Bruce was going to be happy,” said Linda in an interview she gave to Nightline. “In my inexperienced and naive and ignorant way of perceiving transgender, I thought, ‘Oh he’s going to put the lid on it again, and he’s going to stay a man and my kids we’ll have a father.'” The former beauty queen just wanted Bruce to be happy, whatever gender that might be, but felt more at ease knowing he would “stay the same.”
Linda said she was glad Bruce intended to stay “in a masculine image, and this all going to work out fine.” As for her romantic feelings for Bruce, she explained you cannot go through what she has with him and still expect to feel the same: “I’d moved on with my life, and I so wanted Bruce to move on with his life or her life. Whatever would bring happiness.” Linda thought a domesticated life was exactly what Bruce needed at that point in his life.
More Kids Into The Mix
After Bruce had married Kris, it was only a matter of time until they would expand their family. Kris Kardashian took her husband’s last name and gave birth to Kendal and Kylie Jenner, applying the same first name rule she had with her previous marriage’s children – she had their first names begin with the letter K’. Upon this new addition to Bruce’s life and having to act as a father again, Linda had hoped Bruce would feel the urge to reconnect with his boys.
Single Mother By Force
But Bruce was a goner. Linda had become a single mother – and not by choice. Linda had to learn how to take care of their two children by herself. No longer was the man she married there to turn to during hard times, no longer did she have someone by her side to guide her through the good times and the bad. The boys did not have a father figure anymore, so Linda had to learn how to be both parents by herself.
“No matter what you are going through… if you have a child, be a parent. There is really no excuse for that,” Linda said of Bruce’s failed attempt to come through as a father for their children when she needed him the most. However, being the kind-hearted individual she is, it is hard for her to stay resentful toward her ex-husband, particularly having known what he was going through on a personal level. “It is forgivable,” concluded Linda.
Her Sons Admire Her
As it turns out, the call Linda made to keep their father’s secret away from her children was one greatly appreciated by her sons to this day. They have spoken on the matter several times, claiming very openly that have they been told at a younger age, they would not have had the proper tools or maturity to handle the situation. And for that, Brandon and Brody said they were eternally grateful. As for their relationship as a family today, Linda has a word or two on the matter.
Damaged To This Day
What affects her relationship with Bruce – or as she’s known these days, Caitlyn – immensely even to this day is the fact that for a while, Linda felt as though she was living a lie. When Bruce came up to her back in the day and issued his inner turmoil, he had basically shattered what she perceived to be a perfect marriage up until then. Linda was convinced they were both happy, which is why it tore her apart to find out Bruce was feeling otherwise.
These days, Linda explains her relationship with Caitlyn could not be more different than the one she had with Bruce. The two openly confide in each other as good old friends. They even occasionally meet up as a whole family, although that happens mostly during festive seasons. Linda was quoted saying: “I think, more than anything, it’s been a relief for Caitlyn to be able to emerge as her true self.” But after the split with Jenner, Linda had another heartbreak coming.
Another Bites The Dust
After Linda and Bruce decided to part ways, although Linda was devastated about having to leave the love of her life behind along with all their fond memories and future plans, she kept a positive outlook on life and knew better things were headed her way. Many were quick to judge the next major decision she made, but Linda was always one to follow her heart first and foremost. That is why not long after separating from Bruce, Linda started dating David Foster.
Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Linda is now often referred to as a trooper by the media, now that the truth is out in her memoir A Little Thing Called Life. Having stuck by Jenner as she attempted to transition in the 1980’s, Linda is known as an individual that will over choose love over anything else. That is why she was not shy about spilling the beans about her most recent marriage and its termination to music producer David Foster, who, as it turns out, just divorced his fourth wife not too long ago.
Time To Say Goodbye
Bruce’s and Linda’s separation came through in 1986 and divorced shortly afterward. In June 1991, Linda married David Foster – a Canadian music producer and composer. Although the marriage lasted quite a while (up until 2005), Linda revealed David was a far less appreciative companion than her previous ones. Apparently, David was “jealous and controlling,” and has been particularly envious of the fact his wife at the time used to be the girlfriend of heartthrob Elvis Presley, an especially odd fact considering David came from the same industry as Presley.
Crazed With Jealousy
David could not stand the thought of Linda being in a serious relationship with anyone before him time and would often go into a fit whenever she would bring anything up that would hint toward her romantic past. “David was clearly threatened by Elvis’s ghost and never wanted me to mention him,” Linda wrote in her book. But that was not all. Evidently, David was so jealous of Linda’s interlink with the King of Rock and Roll, he projected his jealousy toward more recent past relationships of hers.
David did not like the fact that, every now and again, Bruce would pop by the Thompson-Foster residence, even if it was just to see his sons and say hello. While it remains unclear whether David knew about Bruce’s transition into Caitlyn prior to the media release, this was still a man who had two sons with Linda, so it made perfect sense everything was amicable, and the two stayed in touch. However, this was not the case in David’s point of view.
Bye Bye Bruce
“(David) simply didn’t like Bruce being at the house as much as he was, even though his visits were brief,” recalled Linda in her memoir. It was hard for her to have to deal with David’s constant feeling of being unworthy and suspect towards her ex-husband, but Linda loved David dearly, so she stuck through. After a while, she wrote, it became too hard to bear. She tried to bargain with herself, saying that perhaps David was acting that way he was because of personal reasons.
He Suffocated Her
After all, David did have daughters of his own from his previous marriage. Still, the jealousy became intolerable and suffocating, as though he had an unrealistic and antiquated view of how women should be and act. “At times, he had an expectation that I was there to serve and take care of him, to make beds and do housework,” Linda wrote, evidently still hurt from the way David treated her while they were married. This was strikingly apparent when David’s fourth wife went on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
Another Woman Complained
Yolanda Foster, David’s fourth wife, went on the TV reality series and said proudly: “I absolutely cater to my husband’s needs, and I love doing it.” Yolanda elaborated in a way that made a lot of people furious: “My husband is king in my house and I think that’s the way it should be. That’s what keeps two people together.” However, Yolanda and David also decided to separate eventually, after four years of marriage. Linda had stated her opinion on David’s treatment towards women later.
Treated Like A King
“He really and truly wanted to be treated like a king,” wrote Linda. “(He wanted to be treated) not like a husband or father, which speaks volumes about what he was like to live with, as lovable as he could be,” Linda elaborated on a personal note. The two are no longer in each other’s lives, nor does it appear like they are going to be anytime soon. They have been through too much to put it behind them as though nothing happened. But things are different now.
Moving On With Her Life
Having written and published her book, Linda Thompson learned how to put the past behind her and carry on with her life. Now that the truth is out there, she is able to focus on her career as a songwriter as well as spend time with her loving family, who she would give up her life for. Her two sons have found love too – Brandon married beautiful Leah Felder (who bears a striking resemblance to Linda) and Brody is engaged to his longtime girlfriend Kaitlynn Carter.