Bruce Jenner announces transition into woman
Bruce Jenner's interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer aired on 24 April ABC/YouTube

After almost 50 years of "living a lie", Bruce Jenner is said to be happier than ever following his decision to come out publicly during his interview with Diane Sawyer.

Almost 17 million people tuned into the ABC two-hour special to watch the 65-year-old reality star confirm he is transitioning into a woman.

The emotional chat kicked off with a tearful Jenner declaring: "For all intents and purposes, I am a woman," while struggling to hold back the tears.

He later added: "My brain is much more female than it is male. That's what my soul is. Bruce lives a lie. She is not a lie. I can't do it anymore.

"We're going to make a difference in the world with what we're doing. And if the whole Kardashian show and reality television gave me that foothold into that world — to be able to go out there and really do something good, I'm all for it. I got no problem with that."

In the wake of the interview, fans and celebrities took to social media to express their support, with Lady Gaga tweeting: "I pray this Sawyer/Jenner interview will be met with compassion. This is an important world issue."

Demi Lovato also showed her support by dedicating a song to the reality star during her concert in Auckland, New Zealand, telling the crowd: "I just want to dedicate this song... It's so cheesy that I'm even doing this, but f**k it, whatever. I want to dedicate it to someone who became an even bigger hero last night: Bruce Jenner!"

A source close to the star has revealed he now feels like a huge weight has been lifted off his shoulders. "Bruce seems very relieved that the interview finally aired," the source told the publication. "He is overwhelmed by all the positive comments on social media following the interview."

According to TMZ, his children believe he won over the hearts and minds of the nation. More importantly, the insider added, Jenner hoped his interview had "helped other people in his shoes" and eradicated negative stereotypes surrounding transgender issues.

"He also seems very happy that he is moving forward with his transition," the source said, adding the former Olympian now "seems more comfortable with his new life. He leaves his house wearing lip gloss and nail polish. He seems more confident, relaxed and definitely more happy".