NEW YORK — Caitlyn Jenner opened up Monday about her frank new memoir detailing her now 2-year-old transition and the bumps along the way, including her three failed marriages, thoughts of suicide while she was relentlessly pursued by paparazzi, and, finally, freedom to be her true self.
And, yes, contrary to the thoughts of many in the trans community, she uses her former name, Bruce, in the book, "The Secrets of My Life," out this week. And, yes, she describes her liberating, below-the-belt gender reassignment surgery — "The Final Surgery" as she calls it — on the very last page, insisting it's the last word for her about that.
And yes, she takes on, briefly, her conservative political views when it comes to President Donald Trump and issues like less government, but not so on issues important to the LGBTQ community as a whole, such as same-sex marriage.
"Yeah, I've gotten criticized because I come from a more conservative Republican side, but my loyalties are not with the Republican Party. My loyalties are not with Donald Trump. I'm not a one-issue voter. I believe in limited government. I like lower taxes. I like a thriving economy. I like everybody working, but my loyalties are with my community and to make it better," Jenner said. "The Republican Party has very disappointed me over the years."
Why go to any of these places to begin with months after her formal coming out interview with Diana Sawyer on ABC, watched by 17.1 million viewers, then on the cover of Vanity Fair, and finally her now-canceled reality show on E! Entertainment, "I Am Cait," where she went on the road with fellow members of the trans community.
"I needed to pour my heart out on everything," the 67-year-old Jenner told The Associated Press of the book. "What I was trying to accomplish is, one, get it all out for myself, so there was no other secrets left, but two, it was the way I dealt with my stuff."
The book, co-written by Buzz Bissinger (he wrote the Vanity Fair story), has already brought on bitter, hurt tears from Jenner's third wife, Kris Jenner, whose closet Caitlyn once regularly raided as she stole moments to cross dress while struggling with her gender identity. They are moments, Caitlyn said, that Kris was well aware of before "I made love to her" after the two met in 1990.
"To be honest with you I haven't even talked to her about it," Jenner said of Kris' reaction to the book.
There were many dark times for the Olympic gold-medal winning decathlete as he went about hiding his gender struggles, including a false start in transitioning in the 1980s.
Jenner took hormones, then balked at that time, but her enlarged breasts did not disappear after the treatments stopped, requiring liposuction as she continued living as a man.
There was one moment in particular, years later, that took Jenner to the ultimate dark place, suicide. The celebrity news site TMZ distributed a photo of a disheveled Jenner emerging from a doctor's office after a procedure to have her trachea shaved so she could appear more like a woman. This was before Diane Sawyer and her formal coming out, and it felt like a painful, forced outing.
"It got to the point where I thought, you know what, I know the easy way out," Jenner said. "I got a gun in the house. ... But then the next day I thought, wouldn't that be the stupidest thing you've ever done, to silence your voice? You have the opportunity here to really make a difference, to live your life honestly."