Linda Thompson is many things, but now people can add “great secret keeper” to the list. On the most recent episode of The Hills: New Beginnings, Thompson’s son, Brody Jenner, revealed that his mom knew about her ex-husband, Caitlyn Jenner’s, plans to transition to a woman “for decades” before the rest of the world found out. Thompson was married to the Olympic legend, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, from 1981 to 1986.
But before that, Linda Thompson was a pageant queen, the longtime girlfriend of Elvis Presley and cast member on the TV variety show Hee Haw. She would later marry Grammy-winning composer David Foster, and become an Oscar and Grammy nominee herself.
In 1972, Thompson was named Miss Tennessee Universe. That same year she began dating Elvis Presley, whom she was with until late 1976. In an interview with The New York Post, Thompson revealed she met “The King” at a private movie screening, where they made out during the double feature. Elvis invited her to Graceland the next day, and she soon moved into the legendary mansion.
“After I had the stardust cleared from my eyes, I saw all the problems,” Thompson said of her love affair with the troubled music legend.
After witnessing Elvis’ “dark side” and “mood swings,” caused by his prescription drug abuse, Thompson left Elvis in late 1977, just eight months before his death at age 42. Thompson has said that Elvis Presley was her first love, and that he will always be in her heart.
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Since I am attending an Elvis celebration this weekend in Vegas, this seemed an appropriate Throw Back Thursday. He & I spent about the equivalent of 15 years together in that 4 1/2 year span of time! I went everywhere with him, & I have such amazing & rarified memories of the man still idolized by millions around the world. #rockandrollhistory #elvispresley
In 1977, Thompson also logged her first appearance on Hee Haw as a Hee Haw “Honey,” a role she would continue on for 15 years, according to IMDB. The “Honeys” were a group of female cast members who wore skimpy farmer’s daughter’s outfits, as they spewed one-liners on the musical comedy series.
Hee Haw host Roy Clark later revealed that he thought Thompson was the most attractive woman among the bevy of beauties on the show.
“Linda Thompson, I was partial to,” Clark once said, per Tulsa World. “Her outlook was very down to earth. Beautiful girl.”
During her Hee Haw heyday, Thompson, who also logged 1970s acting credits on Starsky & Hutch, CHIPs and Vega$, met Bruce Jenner at a party at the Playboy Mansion in 1979. She married the Olympic legend two years later and had two sons with him, Brandon and Brody. But in 1985, Jenner shocked his wife with the bombshell confession: “I identify as a woman.”
While Thompson tried to fix their relationship with couples therapy, she later walked in on Jenner dressed in full makeup, heels and a wig. She divorced him in 1986.
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The Christmas season is a beautiful time for reflection, temperance, inclusion, tolerance, kindness, generosity, forgiveness & gratitude. Here’s to all those who have touched & reshaped our lives – for a season & a reason…God bless everyone. ????❤️????????????@brandonjenner @caitlynjenner @davidfoster @brodyjenner – in spirit ????❤️
In 1991, Thompson married songwriter David Foster. The couple penned the Oscar and Grammy-nominated Whitney Houston hit “I Have Nothing,” which appeared on the soundtrack for The Bodyguard. Thompson also collaborated with musicians such as Richard Marx and Carole Bayer Sager, and penned the 1991 Backstreet Boys hit “Drowning.”
In 2003, Thompson and Foster received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Music and Lyrics for the song “Aren’t They All Our Children,” from the 2002 TV special The Concert for World Children’s Day.
When Thompson was married to Foster, she also appeared on the reality show The Princes of Malibu with sons Brandon and Brody.
In her 2016 memoir, A Little Thing Called Life, Thompson revealed that Foster was “controlling” in their marriage and refused to allow her to mention Elvis. Thompson also claimed Foster was annoyed by visits with her ex-husband, Bruce, the father of her two sons.
“David was clearly threatened by Elvis’s ghost and never wanted me to mention him,” Thompson wrote, per The Hollywood Gossip. “He didn’t like Bruce being at the house as much as he was, even though his visits were brief.”
Although Thompson was an actress and songwriter, Foster reportedly wanted her to be in more of a housewife role.
“At times, he had an expectation that I was there to serve and take care of him, to make beds and do housework,” Thompson wrote.
Linda Thompson divorced David Foster in 2005. She remains cordial with her ex-husbands, but most importantly, Thompson is a hero in her sons’ eyes. On The Hills: New Beginnings, Brody Jenner had nothing but praise for his hardworking, strong mom, whom he describes as his “rock.”