For a while, people have been commenting on Bruce Jenner’s changing physical appearance. Since his split from most recent ex-wife, Kris Jenner, he has been spotted with longer hair, fuller lips and manicures. While speculation has definitely been rampant, PEOPLE magazine is confirming the rumors that he is transitioning into a woman.Bruce Jenner at the  'Keeping Up with the Kardashians/The Spin C

Jenner first rose to fame as an Olympian after he won the gold medal in the decathlon at the 1976 Summer Games in Montreal. He became a national hero and, among other things, appeared on boxes of Wheaties, went to the White House to meet President Gerald Ford and appeared in the films Can’t Stop the Music (1980) and Jack and Jill (2011), both of which won Golden Raspberry Awards for Worst Picture.

The first real speed bump Jenner faced was in the mid-1980s when he decided to have plastic surgery. On an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians (on which he starred with his then wife, Kris, and their daughters), he explained that the surgeon “botched” the procedure and the fallout took a toll on his self-esteem.  Afterwards, his popularity began to wane partially because people stopped recognizing him.

In 2009, he went through a corrective surgery but that was minimal compared to the changes we’ve seen recently. In addition to his longer hair and fuller lips, his Adam’s apple appears to be smaller than in the past. A source told PEOPLE that this is part of the process of Bruce “transitioning into a woman.” A different source stated that this journey is currently being filmed and will be shared as a docu-series later this year.

Jenner’s three marriages have produced six children ranging from 17 to 36 years old with the most well-known being teenagers, Kendall and Kylie Jenner. He is also stepfather to Kim, Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian. The sources claim that the transition is happening slowly to give everyone time to adjust and that his children have been supportive.

Kim Kardashian weighed in on the situation saying: “I think everyone goes through things in life and I think that story and what Bruce is going through, I think he’ll share whenever the time is right.”

It is a deeply personal process and, no doubt, one that is filled with incredibly intense emotions. Exact numbers have been difficult to determine but the DSM-IV (1994) estimated that 1 in 30,000 males and 1 in 100,000 females seek sex reassignment surgery in the United States. It is not an easy process and candidates undergo a great deal of emotional and physical discomfort during their transition. A recent study completed a 13 year review of the surgical outcomes and found that those who underwent the procedure faced “a great number of adverse events.”

Hopefully, Bruce Jenner will begin to find peace and acceptance in his life after almost four decades in the spotlight.