Gabbi Tuft is speaking from the heart.
While appearing virtually for a recent interview with Extra, the 42-year-old former WWE superstar opened up about her decision to come out publicly as transgender and what her transition process has been like.
Tuft said that she initially questioned her gender identity at a young age, telling host Billy Bush, "When I was 10 … when my parents weren't home, I would sneak into my mom's closet and try out her clothes and it just felt right."
But Tuft said she "suppressed" those feelings "just because of society, knowing that people didn't accept it. So I pushed it down as far as I could."
With her wife Priscilla by her side, Tuft spoke about the ups and downs of her transition to Bush, 49, including how the couple handles intimacy in their relationship.
Asked by Bush, "Priscilla came to you and said, 'Look, I'm not sexually attracted to women. So this is going to be tough.' How have you worked that out together?" Tuft replied, "It's been a very interesting … progression."
"Our intimate life has changed quite a bit," she continued. "We're not active in that way right now, and what we've discovered is a whole different part of our relationship."
Tuft added: "We actually don't have partners outside of the relationship at all. I was a virgin when we got married 18 and a half years ago — we had never kissed. Our first kiss was on our wedding day."
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Continuing the candid conversation about her new normal, Tuft also told Bush that transitioning has not always been easy.
"There was a lot of very difficult, traumatic emotion in trying to figure out how I was going to present myself to the world," she said. "Having Priscilla by my side as a huge support has changed that. And she has been such a rock for me."
Tuft, who previously wrestled under the ring moniker Tyler Reks, also revealed that the couple is taking it one day at a time when it comes to addressing her transition with their daughter Mia, 9.
"It's an ongoing conversation," she said. "… I told her, 'Sweetheart, I'm not going to go out in public right now and go outside,' and she goes, 'Why, daddy?' 'I'm afraid that people might make fun of me and it might affect you,' and she leans over gives me the biggest hug and she says, 'Daddy, I will never make fun of you.' "
Prior to her interview with Extra, Tuft came out as transgender in a lengthy statement shared on her social media accounts on Thursday.
Tuft, who retired from professional wrestling in 2014 following a six-year career with the WWE, opened up about "the side of me that has hidden in the shadows, afraid and fearful of what the world would think; afraid of what my family, friends, and followers would say or do."
The former wrestler knows that coming out as transgender and sharing her story so publicly is not only something she needed to do for herself, but something she hopes will also inspire others as well.
"With everything that I'm going through, that I have been through, and knowing how emotionally distressful it can be, because, like I said, there have been some dark nights … I know that there are thousands of transgender women, transgender men that are going through the same process I'm going through, and they don't have the support that I do," she said during her chat with Extra. "And so here's what I pledge: I promise that I will share my story and be 100% transparent, because knowing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel can just be that ray of hope that keeps somebody with us, that keeps him alive, and lets them know, 'Yes, I can do this, too.' "
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