It’s the story the whole world’s talking about: Bruce Jenner confirmed that he's transgender in an emotional interview with Diane Sawyer on ABC’s “20/20” Friday night (April 24).
Jenner’s post-Olympic career as a motivational speaker has proven that he has a knack for inspirational storytelling, but it was his words last night that will be remembered as his most important ones to date. Here are 13 of the most compelling, revelatory and memorable quotes from the evening:
“For all intents and purposes, I am a woman.”ABC
Jenner appeared understandably nervous and teary-eyed before Sawyer asked him the big first question. Once it was out of the way, though, he triumphantly took out his ponytail and further explained, “People look at me differently. They see you as this macho male, but my heart and my soul and everything that I do in life -- it is part of me. That female side is part of me, it’s who I am.”
“I had the story… the one real true story in the family was the one I was hiding and nobody knew about.”Khloe Kardashian/Instagram
The Kardashians and Jenners make headlines every day -- all around the world. But even after watching them on our TVs for almost a decade, we had no idea Jenner was harboring a secret that was more impactful than any of those stories put together.
“I saw a sense of bravery that, for all your previous accomplishments, I think far exceeds all of them. I’m just honored and more proud than ever to be a part of the family.”
Brandon Jenner told this to his father, referencing Bruce’s Olympic past. It speaks volumes that winning an Olympic gold medal isn’t the thing we should admire Bruce for the most -- as Brandon said, it’s his courage that really deserves our respect.
“He says to Kim, ‘Look, I can be married to the most beautiful woman in the world, and I am. I can have the most beautiful little daughter in the world; I have that. But I’m nothing if I can’t be me.’”FOX/Getty Images
Bruce said Kanye West was the person who helped Kim understand and accept what was happening to her dad. Kanye has made it a point throughout his whole career to be fiercely and unapologetically himself -- no matter what anyone says -- and it sounds like Bruce is now doing the same.
“I was very proud of you when you stood at that podium in Montreal. I never thought I could be more proud of you, but I’m learning I can be.”Tony Duffy/Getty Images
Bruce’s mom Esther echoed Brandon’s sentiments by saying this transition is a more impressive feat than anything he accomplished as a decorated athlete. This was a particularly touching moment in the interview, especially after Sawyer pointed out that Esther is a 88-year-old woman with conservative values.
"[To] be able to have my nail polish on long enough that it actually chips off.”Marc Piasecki/Getty Images
Bruce said this was one of the things he was most looking forward to about publicly appearing as a woman. It’s something so small -- and something most girls would honestly never think of -- but so significant.
“Dad said... ‘It’s not that I’m trying to dress up like a woman. It’s that I’ve spent my whole life dressing as a man.’”JB Lacroix/Getty Images
Bruce’s eldest daughter, Cassandra, recalled that this is one of the things he told her after opening up about his transition.
“I couldn’t take the walls constantly closing in on me. If I die... I’d be so mad at myself that I didn’t explore that side of me.”Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images
Bruce admitted to having suicidal thoughts, but said he didn’t want to miss out on existing as himself and exploring the full range of who he really is.
“What I’m doing is going to do some good. And we’re going to change the world.”Noel Vasquez/Getty Images
After laughing off the suggestion that this was just a publicity stunt for “Keeping Up With The Kardashians,” Bruce asserted his intention to change lives and make things better for the transgender community.
"Girl, you gotta rock it and you gotta look good. If you're doing this thing, I'm helping you.”Gonzalo/Getty Images
Ever the fashionista, Kim’s advice to Bruce was adorably supportive (and predictably on-brand!). Bruce admitted Kim has been the easiest one of his children to talk to about the transition.
"I look at women all the time and think how lucky are they that they can wake in the morning and be themselves.”Axelle/Getty Images
This is a particularly heartbreaking thought, especially considering the fact that he’s the patriarch of a family full of gorgeous women who are admired every day for their beauty.
“I’m saying goodbye to people’s perception of me and who I am. I’m not saying goodbye to me, because this has always been me.”JB Lacroix/Getty Images
Clearly relieved to have finally come clean, Bruce said he’s not mourning the man we’ve all grown accustomed to seeing his whole life. Rather, he’s welcoming the opportunity to live life as his true self.
“Have an open mind, an open heart. I’m not this bad person; I’m just doing what I have to do.”Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Bruce said he hopes this is how people will treat him from now on -- with tolerance, acceptance, and a supportive sense of understanding.
Editors note: While Bruce Jenner has stated that he identifies as a woman, we have used the male pronoun throughout this article in keeping with his current stated pronoun preference.