U.S. soldier Bradley Manning, sentenced for leaking classified U.S. documents, said he is female and wants to live as a woman named Chelsea.

A statement from Manning was read on NBC News' "Today" program on Thursday (August 21).

'As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female,' Manning wrote in the statement entitled, 'The Next Stage of My Life'.

'Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition.'

On Thursday, Manning's lawyer David Coombs denied she was making this announcement for the attention or because she was a narcissist.

'Chelsea didn't want to have this be something that overshadowed the case,' Coombs explained.

Manning, 25, was sentenced on Wednesday (August 20) to 35 years in a military prison for turning over classified files to WikiLeaks in the biggest breach of secret data in the nation's history.

His lawyer, David Coombs, also told NBC said he expects Manning to get pardoned.

Presented by Adam Justice