Actress Kristy McNichol has announced
publicly that she is a lesbian.
According to People.com,
the 49-year-old McNichol is coming out now to help bullied LGBT young
McNichol said she has been in a
20-year-old relationship with her partner Martie Allen, who is also
She said she wanted to come out because
she is “approaching 50” and wants to “be open about who I am.”
McNichol is “very sad about kids
being bullied,” publicist Jeff Ballard told People.com. “She
hopes that coming out can help kids who need support. She would like
to help others who feel different.”
McNichol dropped out of Hollywood to
focus on her health after she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
She is best known for playing Buddy Lawrence on the ABC drama Family
and Barbara Weston on the NBC sitcom Empty Nest, a
spin-off of the long-running comedy hit The Golden Girls.
In the late 90s, she voiced
characters in the animated TV series Extreme Ghostbusters
and Invasion America.
After retiring from acting, McNichol,
who resides in Los Angeles, California, has devoted much of her time
to charity work.