It’s no longer just gossip! Reality stars Kris and Bruce Jenner are separating after 22 years of marriage. One woman who isn’t too surprised — Pam Behan, their former nanny. Now living in Aberdeen, S.D., the teacher and single mother claims the couple has always led separate lives. I caught up with Pam (on vacation in Minnesota, out of all places) moments after their announcement.
Access Hollywood: When did you work for the Kardashians?
Pam Behan: Well, I actually started with Bruce and Kris on their wedding day, which was April 21, 1991. Kourtney was 12, Kim was 10, Khloe was 6, and Robert was 4, and I was there for 5 years and left in April of ‘96.
Access: Are you surprised Kris and Bruce are separating?
Pam: Well, 22 years ago I did have my doubts. I am surprised they made it 22 years and I do give them great credit. They tried, they didn’t just, ‘Boom,’ quit. However, I definitely, in the last few years, don’t think they’ve been happy, so I’m happy for them now.
Access: What’s Bruce and Kris’s relationship like?
Pam: Throughout the years that I was there, they seemed like they had a very good working relationship. You know, it’s as if they were best friends in the business of marriage and life. They were lovey-dovey at first, but otherwise they kind of both just did their own thing. They each had their role to play and they played it out.
Access: Who is the dominant one in the relationship?
Pam: I think it’s pretty obvious. Kris wears the pants in that family. Bruce is just a very casual, easy going, laid back person and so he kind of just goes with the flow usually… He’s the type of person that needs some direction, but I think, at times, it was probably too much.
Access: I understand that you and Bruce are still very close. Is that true?
Pam: That’s correct. We talk on our birthday which is… just around the corner — October 28th. So I guess anybody can send gifts or cards if they’d like (laughs).
Access: What sort of interests do you and Bruce share?
Pam: I took care of Brandon and Brody for three years before I went to work for Bruce and Kris, so I knew Bruce from those first three years of taking care of Brandon and Brody. So we had already kind of developed a relationship. He’s very outdoorsy, as I am. I grew up as kind of a tomboy. Bruce taught me how to Jet Ski, water ski, snow ski, golf — I’m not good at any of them — but we have that in common. He’s kind of like my best friend, and when I had first moved to California, 19 years old from small town Minnesota, I mean it was quite the culture shock to me, and he had just kind of took me in under his wing and was kind of like my big brother.
Access: What was it like working one-on-one with Kris?
Pam: Well, I wouldn’t say [she] pushed me away because I was there for five years, but it was challenging working for Kris. She’s a perfectionist. She knows what she wants, and the way she wants it… You know crystal clear what she wants you to be accomplishing and sometimes it wasn’t always so easy to accomplish everything on that list. But you know, we actually had a pretty good working relationship.
Access: Do you think Bruce and Kris will have an amicable divorce?
Pam: I think so and I hope so. I imagine that there’s a lot at stake in this marriage and I think it’s actually a great idea if it can be handled that way just to avoid a lot of hurt and you know, sticky stuff.
Access: If you had to use three adjectives to describe their relationship, what would they be?
Pam: Hmmm… Business-like (laughs). That’s a tough one. Three adjectives… workable and convenient.
Access: What type of woman do you think Bruce needs?
Pam: I think he needs somebody family oriented because Bruce is very family oriented. I think that’s ultimately what he wants. So I would say somebody more nurturing maybe.
Access: What type of man do you think Kris needs?
Pam: I can only speculate from what the show has told me, and it seems like she’s looking for a younger man (laughs). I don’t know. I really don’t.
Access: Is there a part of you that thinks that Kris and Bruce stayed together for as long as they did because of the kids?
Pam: Yeah. I would say that that’s probably a great reason as to why they did.
Access: Was there ever talk of infidelity in their marriage?
Pam: I never heard that. No. Whether it happened or not, I don’t know, but I never saw anything to that effect or heard anything.
Access: What is Bruce like as a husband?
Pam: I think he is a very caring person. I had heard once that love is not an emotion, it’s not a feeling, it’s an action, it’s how to treat somebody, and he always treated Kris and everybody he loves with the utmost respect and dignity. He showed his love towards her, for sure.
Access: What is Bruce like as a father?
Pam: Very loving, very caring, and you know he really stepped up to the plate with Kourtney, Kim, Khloe and Robert. I think there is a point that he actually let his own children kind of fall to the back burner, so to speak, and I know that he regrets that and he’s working on those relationships now. I give him great credit because it’s never too late.
Access: What is Kris like as a wife?
Pam: As far as I know she seemed like a good wife. … She’s caring, she always made sure that everything in the house was just so. All the groceries were always stocked and you know she did her best. I definitely think she did.
Access: How was Kris as a mother?
Pam: She was a good mother. In the years that I was there, she spent a lot of time in the office because she was promoting Bruce, as far as his speaking engagements and so on. And she traveled a lot with him too. There [were] a lot of times that she was away, but when she was there she was a very good mother. She loved her kids.
Access: Does it shock you to hear that Kris and Bruce have been living apart?
Pam: I’m not really surprised because I’m sure something like that is something very private, and I know that must be hard for them especially them being… in the spotlight like they are. But I guess it doesn’t really surprise me that they tried to hide it… until they figured things out.
Access: What do Kris and Bruce have in common?
Pam: Well, they went out to eat a lot. I know that. Other than that I don’t think they had a whole lot of interests in common. Bruce was more outdoorsy and loved to do camping and car racing and Jet Ski, snow ski, water ski. That kind of thing. And those things are definitely not Kris. She would rather be at Neiman Marcus or Chanel, but you know, that’s OK. Sometimes it doesn’t always have to be the exact same interests. They did make it work for 22 years.
Access: Why do you think Bruce chose to move to Malibu?
Pam: Malibu is so Bruce, and I was actually really happy to hear that he is moving back to Malibu. Malibu is just a laid back beach town. Much more casual, just very Bruce. I’m happy he’s there and his boys are there. It makes it easier for him to spend time with them and get to know them better. It’s a good move, I think.
Access: Do you have any advice for Bruce and Kris?
Pam: I am not one to promote divorce. As a matter of fact, I’m divorced myself, not necessarily proud of it. But you know, life is short and if you’re not happy… I just would encourage them to move on and I hope that both of them are happy.
Access: In what ways was their marriage like a typical Hollywood marriage?
Pam: In Hollywood, I think it’s very difficult for fame, money, power, success, material things, very difficult for those things to not eventually affect you and your life. I can’t help but think that that has definitely taken a toll on their marriage.
Access: Finally, let’s talk about your book. You’ve written a memoir about your time working as a nanny for the Kardashians and Jenners.
Pam: Yeah. It’s called ‘Malibu Nanny: The Adventures of the Former Kardashian Nanny,’ and it talks about my experiences as a nanny for them, but also my whole life. How I went from a small town in Minnesota to getting that job, which was totally a fluke. I meant to go out for one summer and it turned into eight years later. It talks about the struggles and trials that I had after leaving Beverly Hills, and how I’ve just kind of [come] full circle. I live back in the Midwest again and I have an adorable 7-year-old son, and life is good.
Access: Any teases for fans of the Kardashians?
Pam: Well, it does talk a lot about some of the dynamics within the family, so in particular between Bruce and Kris, and some of the things that I noticed during that timeframe. It talks about how I had to adjust to Kris’ personality. We are very different personalities and when I was not used to that it was kind of a shock at first. I go into some details and stories about some of our run-ins. And it talks about the kids, some of the fun, crazy things that we used to do together that I think that the audience would really love to hear from… before they were reality stars. Back when they were so-called ‘normal’ kids.