Child star Kristy McNichol was an immensely popular actress well known by the youngest Baby Boomers and the oldest of Gen X. Having pulled away from the show business lifestyle the last twenty years, people wondered what ever happened to her. Now, she’s using her star power wisely. Coming out of the closet and admitting she is a lesbian, the actress has been involved in a committed marriage-like relationship with another woman for two decades. Here’s more about her story and where the LGBT celebrity couple live.
Kristy McNichol, a famous Emmy winning child star and popular actress who was famous in the late 1970s and 1980s, has admitted to friends and family that she is a lesbian. The very private star celeb, who stepped away from her acting career in the late 80s to deal with issues related to her bipolar disorder, told People, that she wanted to come out of the closet now, in 2012, so she could help other gay and lesbian kids who are suffering from bullying.
According to the actress, she has been with her partner, Martie Allen, for 20 years, and the happy celebrity couple offered the magazine a picture of them together.
She “is very sad about kids being bullied,” her publicist Jeff Ballard tells PEOPLE. “She hopes that coming out can help kids who need support. She would like to help others who feel different.”
The Emmy winning Kristy McNichol is best known for her roles in the ABC hit drama Family, which aired from 1976 to 1980, and the NBC sitcom Empty Nest, a spin-off of Golden Girls, which aired from 1988 to 1995. In Family, a show that attempted to depict a regular family with all its ups and downs, McNichol played the youngest sibling, nicknamed “Buddy”. McNichol ultimately left Empty Nest, and left acting entirely, after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1992.
The L.A. Times reported:
Though rumors had swirled about drug abuse or bipolar disorder — then called manic depression — she said in 1989 that it was simply an emotional breakdown, a delayed reaction to life as a child star.
“From the time I was very young,” she said at the time, “I was a professional, making money and assuming responsibilities. I didn’t live the life of a child. I was living the life of a 30-year-old.”
No one at the time really considered that McNichol might have had other emotional issues, like hiding the fact that she was gay in a time when it was less understood and accepted, or having to deal with the responsibilities of being a professional actress at such a young age.
McNichol, who prefers living a very private life, has dedicated much of her life to giving to charity and helping children since leaving the acting profession. She has done work for charities like the H.E.L.P Group, supporting children with conditions like autism (as does Celebrity Wife Swap star Carnie Wilson), Asperger’s, and other disorders related to emotional problems and abuse. She also supports St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Currently the star celeb humanitarian is teaching acting at a private school in Los Angeles, California (the famous town where she still resides). She reports being very happy with her life partner and has come out as a lesbian primarily to continue to help children who are suffering the way she suffered as a child. It may have taken 20 years since she left acting to get to this point, but we here at GCN are happy to see her back in public again … at least a little bit.