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Kristy McNichol comes out

Former US teen actress Kristy McNichol, best known for her roles in Family and Empty Nest, has come out as lesbian.

Former US teen actress Kristy McNichol, best known for her roles in Family and Empty Nest, has come out as lesbian.

McNichol, 49, hasn’t been in the public spotlight for two decades but is well-remembered for her 1970s roles as the tomboy in US drama Family for which she earned two Emmy Awards as Best Supporting Actress. She was one of the biggest teen idols of her era, with a string of guest roles and a performance alongside Christopher Atkins in the Australian-made musical parody The Pirate Movie (1982).

She had 4 years on Empty Nest but retired from acting when she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1992.

McNichol was also subject to Hollywood rumours about her sexuality, but now confirms she has been living with her partner Martie Allen, also 49, for the past two decades.

McNichol says she decided to make a statement about her sexuality because she is concerned about gay teenagers being bullied.

She told People magazine she is approaching 50 and wants to be open about who she is.

Her publicist added that, “She hopes that coming out can help kids who need support. She would like to help others who feel different.”

20 Responses

  1. Yes, we do *still* need celebrities to come out, it’s not ‘old hat’ or ‘yawn’, because the hatred/fear/abuse of gays is still widespread. Celebrities like Zach Quinto can make it ‘ok to be gay’ for young people – and their friends & parents & teachers – in a way that a thousand pieces of legislation or rational argument (unfortunately) cannot. Visibility is vital. Of course, growing up gay now in Australia is a lot easier than it used to be, but we still need these popular culture affirmations, in a world of predominantly hetero images.

  2. @ Allie….’coming out’ is just so last century….who cares about someones sexuality. This is so un newsworthy….. all I care about with actors, media etc….is whether they are any good at what they do.

    Also I don’t see how someone who has not been around for over 20 years is gonna help out gay teens….they aint gonna know who she is….. Not a relevany story for TVTonight IMO

  3. Yes, hardly a surprise. I was more surprised by Merideth Baxter though. Interesting that the show they both stared in ( Family) was the show that explained to me what being gay was all those years ago, and I realised what I was.

  4. @marius j, yes Meredith Baxter Birney “came out” as a lesbian couple of years ago, round about the same time film actress Kelly McGillis did.

    @Josh, many US celebrities are coming out publicly now because the issue of bullying of gay students in school has become such a critical problem in the US. There have been a number of gay teen suicides. They are doing it as a way to support younger gay people and make them feel they are not alone.

  5. congrats on stating what was alway blaringly obvious. even right back in the days iof “family”. i hope she is happy. always liiked her. m i correct david in thinking meredith baxter who played her sister in said show has also come out?

  6. And William Shatner came out and admitted he was straight.

    Why put out a press release? Who cares as long as she is happy?

    Don’t suppose she’s got a role in a celebrity reality show?

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