Chaz Bono is a single man for the first time in his life and it’s taking some getting used to.
‘I’m not the most outgoing fella,’ he told CNN’s Piers Morgan in an interview Thursday (7 June). ‘I’m not one of those guys who can just walk up and start chatting up a girl that I find attractive.’
Bono split from fiance Jennifer Ella last December. They had been together since 1999, initially as a lesbian couple. Elia has described herself as a bisexual.
Their relationship had been far from private in recent years with Elia a major presence in the Emmy-nominated documentary Becoming Chaz which chronicled the transition of Cher and Sonny Bono’s only child from female to male.
‘I think it put some pressure on the relationship but, ultimately, the reasons why we split up had really nothing to do with [the transition],’ Bono said. ‘It was issues we were dealing with and just stark differences in the people that we are and what we ultimately wanted out of life.’
In a follow-up documentary, Being Chaz, which aired last November on the Oprah Winfrey Network, Bono proposed to Ella. But behind the scenes, there were problems.
‘It wasn’t a pleasant thing to do honestly,’ Bono said of shooting Being Chaz. ‘But it couldn’t have been predicted. When we made the documentary (Becoming Chaz) Jen was thrilled doing it and doing the follow-up special was something she said she wanted to do. And then once we were in the middle of it, she decided she hated the process but at that point there wasn’t really anything we could do about that.’
The changes Bono was experiencing were not just physical.
‘It’s really the internal changes that are the bigger changes,’ he said. ‘I went from being really uncomfortable and kind of damaged for my whole life to suddenly not being that way anymore. As I started to feel so much better and my confidence rose and everything, I wanted to live the best life that I could and I wanted my partner to be able to kind of do that with me. … We just wanted different things out of life.’
The split came months after Bono’s profile and popularity escalated as he became the first transgender contestant in the history of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars.
‘I think we both cared very deeply for each other,’ he said of Ella. ‘I want absolutely nothing but the best life for Jen. It was just I couldn’t do it with her anymore. But I really hope that she gets everything that she wants.’