Joanna Johnson, a co-star of CBS' daytime soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful, has come out gay.

The 50-year-old Johnson returns this week to reprise the role of Karen Spencer and viewers will find out Spencer, who was first introduced in 1991, has been secretly living with another woman [played by Crystal Chappell], with whom she raised a daughter.

Speaking to TV Guide, Johnson said she's married to L.A. club promoter Michelle Agnew and the couple is raising two adoptive children, 5-year-old Julian and 2-year-old Harlow.

“It feels weird and wrong to play this revelation about Karen's life and not talk about my own,” Johnson said. “I used to hang out with Ellen DeGeneres, k.d. lang and Melissa Etheridge back in the day and thought it was so beautiful they were out, even though I didn't have the nerve. When I realized I was gay in my early twenties we didn't have role models like Ellen. I'm not anywhere near as famous as those ladies, but I guess it's my turn to do my little part. It's time to live a fully authentic life.”

Johnson said she married Agnew in 2008 “during the two minutes when same-sex marriage was legal in California” and that her parents' response to her coming out at the age of 23 “broke my heart.”

“Unfortunately, my mom passed away before we were able to come to peace with it, but my father did come around,” she said.