"One big happy family. For a day." How Caitlyn Jenner's relationships with her kids fell apart.

In a 17-year time frame, Brandon Jenner estimates he saw his father no more than half a dozen times.

Now they talk almost daily, but in To Me, He Was Just Dad, a collection of 40 stories shared by the children of famous fathers, the 38-year-old recalled his very distant relationship with dad Caitlyn Jenner growing up.

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“I didn’t see my father more than half a dozen times between the ages eight and 25,” Brandon wrote.

“Sadly the infrequent exchanges felt more like staged photo opportunities than real bonding. In fact, they were stage photo ops for ‘family’ Christmas cards: me, Brody, Burt and Casey alongside our father. We were one big happy family. For a day.”

Brandon is one of Caitlyn’s six children. She has two children, Burt Jenner, 41, and Cassandra Marino, 39, from her first marriage to Chrystie Scott, from 1972 to 1981.

In 1981, she married Linda Thompson, the mother of Brandon, 38, and brother Brody Jenner, 36.

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Brandon and Brody Jenner with Caitlyn. Image: Getty.

On April 21, 1991, Caitlyn married Kris Kardashian after five months of dating, and they have two daughters Kendall Jenner, 24, and Kylie Jenner, 22. Caitlyn was also the stepfather of Kris' four children with Robert Kardashian; Kourtney, Kim, Khloe and Rob.

When Caitlyn, then Bruce, married Kris in 1991, it had a major impact on the previously-friendly relationship between Brandon's mother Linda Thompson and his father, who had divorced in 1986.

Brandon said he kept his distance from the Kardashian-Jenner household.

"After Dad met and married Kris, family became a business for [her], and I stayed away for most of my teenage years. I didn't want to be a part of their dynamic.

"I know now, though, that Dad was pretty unhappy in that house and felt like [she] wasn't treated well."

(Middle row, L-R) Brody Jenner, Kourtney Kardashian, Bruce Jenner, Kris Jenner, Cassandra Jenner, Kim Kardashian, (top row, L-R) Brandon Jenner, Burton Jenner,(bottom row, L-R) Robert Kardashian, Jr., Khloe Kardashian. Image: Getty.

Brandon wrote since Caitlyn came out as transgender in 2015, their relationship has transformed and he said he regrets that Caitlyn did not begin her transition earlier, "not only because I think she would have been happier but because I think we could have built a stronger relationship earlier".

Brandon's younger brother Brody has also recalled his rocky relationship with Caitlyn, admitting he didn't grow up close to his dad on MTV reality show The Hills: New Beginnings.


"I didn’t really grow up with my dad," he said. "When I was really little, we got to spend a little bit of time. But when he started the family with the Kardashian family and all that, I didn't really see much of him."

Brody called their relationship "very surface", saying Caitlyn missed many milestones, including most of this birthdays and his graduation.


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They grew closer in later years, but the relationship struggled through Caitlyn's transition.

"I was just getting to know Bruce, and then Bruce became Caitlyn," he said.

"Caitlyn is a totally different person than Bruce. It's her true self, but Bruce was always holding a lot back and being somebody totally different.

"My dad, she's like a 15-year-old girl now. She's totally different - I mean, it's awesome. It's great. She's happy, she's running around. She's off living her life, so what I've learned is to just not expect too much from her."

caitlyn jenner kids
Cassandra Marino, Caitlyn Jenner, Brody Jenner, Linda Thompson and Brandon Jenner in 2019. Image: Getty.

Caitlyn's relationships with her eldest children, Burt and Cassandra, seems solid.

Like his half-brothers, Burt has spoken about how his relationship with his father was strained for many years, but they became closer in the years before Caitlyn came out.

After Caitlyn announced her intention to transition, Burt appeared on the Diane Sawyer special to say he had known about his father's gender identity for 25 years.

"Before I was allowed to tell anybody, or before my dad even knew that I knew, I went and marched on behalf of Prop 8 through the streets of Los Angeles. I've always tried to be an outspoken supporter of the LGBT community."

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(L-R) David Foster, guest, Burt Jenner, Caitlyn Jenner, Leah Jenner, Brandon Jenner, Eva James Jenner, Linda Thompson, Brody Jenner, Aaron Foster, Michael Marino, Cassandra Marino and Chrystie Scott. Image: Getty.

Caitlyn and Burt both regularly share photos of Caitlyn with Burt's children, William Behr and Bodi.

In 2016, Cassandra told People her relationship with Caitlyn was much better following her transition.

"We didn’t talk for years, and now we see each other every couple of weeks and talk on the phone, which I am grateful for."

She's happier and more appreciative of her family. She is trying harder and there is a softness to Caitlyn that is new to me. I think part of that is that when someone is happier, they are just nicer."


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In contrast, Caitlyn's youngest children Kendall and Kylie have spoken about how hands-on their dad was when they were young, and though it hasn't always been smooth (like after Caitlyn released her memoir The Secrets of My Life), both have maintained a tight relationship with her.

"My dad was the best growing up, never missed a sports game. Took us to school every day, and our school was, like, 45 minutes from our house," Kylie told Harper's Bazaar in February, saying they still talk "like, every day".