Follow breaking news @lgbtqnation
Coming Out

Kristy McNichol comes out as lesbian ‘to be open about who I am’

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Kristy McNichol, the 1970′s child actress who won two Emmy Awards for her role as the tom-boyish Buddy Lawrence in the acclaimed ABC television drama “Family,” and who later starred in NBC’s “Empty Nest,” has come out as lesbian.

McNichol, 49, who has lived with her partner Martie Allen, also 49, for the past two decades, said she decided to reveal her sexual orientation because she is “approaching 50″ and wants to “be open about who I am,” reported People magazine.

Kristy McNichol.

McNichol said that by coming out, she hopes to inspire children who are dealing with bullies.

She “is very sad about kids being bullied,” her publicist, Jeff Ballard, told People. “She hopes that coming out can help kids who need support. She would like to help others who feel different.”

McNichol has also starred in several films, including “Little Darlings” in 1980 with Tatum O’Neal.

In 1992, McNichol was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and subsequently ended her television career.

“She is very happy and healthy,” Ballard said. “And she enjoys living a very private life.”

Archives: , , , , , , ,

Filed under: LGBTQ Life

82 more reader comments:

  1. Oh, goodie. I can rest better at night now.

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:14pm
  2. YAAAAAAAYYYYYY!!!!

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:16pm
  3. I <3 the #gaycommunity<3 I also <3 #gaymarriage<3

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:16pm
  4. i’m born this way, i came out of the closet at the age of two:-)

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:16pm
  5. Um, we knew this years ago…she’ s just now admitting it?!

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:16pm
  6. Well no shit! We always knew it apparently she didn’t.lol

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:16pm
  7. nope knew her on a show called family waaaaayyy back..knew then

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:16pm
  8. big surprise.

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:16pm
  9. I was afraid my gaydar had been off :-)

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:16pm
  10. She’s about four decades too late! LMFAO

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:18pm
  11. Really!! I knew that as a child watching Empty Nest

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:18pm
  12. Well, finally!!! :-{P} Congratulations, grrrl!

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:18pm
  13. it’s really no ones business what her sexual orientation is, as long as she’s happy and true to herself, that’s all that matters.

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:19pm
  14. lol

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:19pm
  15. wow, really…she JUST came out…damn, I thought she had been out for years…lol

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:20pm
  16. hahaha….she was my first crush….in the 70′s. What took her so long to finally come out. Saw this coming. Congrats!!!

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:20pm
  17. Ms McNichol Thank you for being an inspiration to so many. My Daughter Kristy now an adult and mother was named after you. :)

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:22pm
  18. i knew she was nd had a big crush on her! Proud of u Kristy!

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:22pm
  19. AND?

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:22pm
  20. Ummm, should I party like it’s 1999 now too???

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:22pm
  21. thats great and I think she looks awesome !!!!

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:23pm
  22. oh Buddy … we all knew … but thanks for making the statement. it IS important to show that it doesn’t need to be a secret, that kids can be proud of themselves no matter who they love, that they don’t have to hide and live in fear and shame.

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:24pm
  23. How come we already knew?

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:25pm
  24. I thought she came out years ago. Surely she didn’t think she was keeping a secret???

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:28pm
  25. no shock. congrats on coming out. Welcome to the family. All are loved!

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:29pm
  26. Ummmmmm this is old news…….

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:29pm
  27. even when people ‘can tell,’ I respect the personal decision and comfort levels. And for my money, ANY public figure coming out is a step forward, so I say BRAVA!!!! <3

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:29pm
  28. One of my 1st crushes.

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:30pm
  29. It’s about time! :) YAY KRISTY!

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:34pm
  30. Seriously?? She wasnt out????I always thought she was out .

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:34pm
  31. but seriously–we all knew yrs ago —-

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:34pm
  32. My partner Enriquez said in his best homosexual voice: “I always knew she was!”

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:35pm
  33. it’s about time. had a huge crush on her as a kid. xoxo

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:38pm
  34. loved watching her on empty nest….she was awesome.

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:39pm
  35. we all knew this years ago :P one of those “hollywood secrets”.. lol

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:40pm
  36. I always thought she was a great child actress and good for her to finally feel secure enough to tell who she is. It does not matter to anyone with any intelligence anyway. Be who you are~~celebrate who you are. We only go around once in life.

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:40pm
  37. DOH

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:41pm
  38. Welcome home honey!

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:42pm
  39. Didn’t she come out, like, 1,000 years ago?? I could’ve sworn she did.

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:42pm
  40. oh that’s SUCH a huge surprise!….hahaha!

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:42pm
  41. I have been in love with her since Little Darlings!!!

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:44pm
  42. I remember having a teenage crush on her. Now I like her even more.

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:45pm
  43. Its about time

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 5:50pm
  44. there’s a shocker hahaha. She should go out w Jodie Foster! they’ll make the cover of Tiger Beat together circa 1976

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 6:03pm
  45. Again, didn’t she come out sometime back?

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 6:16pm
  46. I knew it!! I used to have such a crush on her growing up…

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 6:19pm
  47. Let us please ratchet down the hate.

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 6:22pm
  48. Congrats on coming out!!

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 6:29pm
  49. I swear she came out 15 yrs. Ago.

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 6:36pm
  50. I have loved you for years good for you Welcome out of the closet and into the streets… Hugs…

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 6:40pm
  51. Its about freaking time…

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 6:48pm
  52. I had a crush on her when she was on Empty Nest….I always thought she was gay, but I also gaydar’d Ellen and Rosie O’Donnell too. However, it is nobody’s business if you are or not and I’m proud of her for finally feeling strong enough to admit it. The more out people we have, whether gay, trans, or whatever, the more power we have. I think that is the most important thing, the GLBTQ power in numbers.

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 6:49pm
  53. What a wonderful and diverse actress she really is. I’m glad she’s living her life the way she wants too.

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 7:05pm
  54. great she came out where was she when you had to hide and be in the closet when we needed her voice where was she

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 7:25pm
  55. About as surprising as Ricky Martin coming out….now, when the heck is ‘Little Darlings’ going to be released on DVD with the cool extras?!

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 7:30pm
  56. Now that its safe? Whatever

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 7:43pm
  57. its about time!

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 7:49pm
  58. what a shocker lol i found out in like the late 70 .it’s great tho she wont to be out now.

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 7:59pm
  59. Awww, I had such a crush on her when I was a kid. Oh well nothings changed. Str8 btw.

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 8:11pm
  60. I knew there was a reason i liked her so much as a kid!

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 8:13pm
  61. Once again my gaydar was right. Just a lil surprised you waited so long to come out.

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 8:23pm
  62. fucking fags , i hope you all die and burn in hell . -steve

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 8:41pm
  63. Yep will be fucking fags til I die Steve Hughes. Thanks for the hellacious wishes . May the flames help you to see the light.

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 8:55pm
  64. @Steve- You’ll be the one burning in hell, dude.

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 9:28pm
  65. Oh I thought it was already known she was a lesbian

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 9:41pm
  66. Happy Birthday Kristy, this is the first day of the rest of your life

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 11:28pm
  67. Angel, we knew….we all knew. But good for u. It takes courage.

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 11:51pm
  68. We all knew already, right? Now if Marcus Bachmann would just come out…

    Posted on Sunday, January 8, 2012 at 1:44am
  69. Whoa…it’s been a long long long long time since EMPTY NEST then she just disappeared after her show ended…Haven’t heard nothing about her until finally her face show up right here….Yea I already know she is….

    Posted on Sunday, January 8, 2012 at 1:45am
  70. Bravo, Kristy. It takes strength and a good sense of yourself to be true to your inner self.

    Posted on Sunday, January 8, 2012 at 2:16am
  71. when was she in the closet??

    Posted on Sunday, January 8, 2012 at 4:01am
  72. I am soo glad for her decision!!!

    Posted on Sunday, January 8, 2012 at 8:05am
  73. bout time!!

    Posted on Sunday, January 8, 2012 at 8:13am
  74. yay!!

    Posted on Sunday, January 8, 2012 at 8:27am
  75. I never buy the National Enquirer but in May 1992 there was an article referenced on the cover about Kristy and Marty, so I bought the mag. I was just sorting through my gay literature a couple of days ago and came across it. “Empty Nest star Kristy McNichol in a trial marriage – with a woman!”
    Yes, it wasn’t a huge secret but coming out in People is a bigger statement. Those of my era know it can take awhile to be completely out. Congratulations, Kristy!
    It would be nice if you felt interested in doing interviews because a 22-year loving lesbian relationship is one the public still needs to see clearly, unfortunately.

    Posted on Sunday, January 8, 2012 at 10:03am
  76. better late than never :)

    Posted on Sunday, January 8, 2012 at 12:01pm
  77. United: LGBTQS would like to welcome everyone to the Maryland Pride Festival 2012! The Festival is planned to take place on June 16, 2012 at Sailwinds Park in Cambridge, Maryland. United is welcoming all types of people, groups, and business, mostly those in the LBGTQ community. If you are interested in becoming a Vendor, sponsor, or wish to donate, please e-mail me at logan@marylandpridefestival.com. Also, check out our website http://www.marylandpridefestival.com

    Posted on Sunday, January 8, 2012 at 12:33pm
  78. OMG me too!! I always wished she was and later assumed she was. Thank you Kristi for giving us someone on screen that made us feel like we were not alone in the world.:) Congrats and thank you for for coming out!

    Posted on Sunday, January 8, 2012 at 5:03pm
  79. You sicko! How dare you put down gay people. Maybe you should kick the bucket instead and leave more space for the gays that don’t commit suicide because of you!! Idiot!

    Posted on Monday, January 9, 2012 at 3:59pm
  80. Better watch it dumb jerk. Gay people are everywhere whether you can handle it or not. How about all the straight people we all have to put up with? Why don’t you get the hell out of life and leave space for some gay kids that commit suicide because of ignorant fools like you. Get lost!!

    Posted on Monday, January 9, 2012 at 4:04pm
  81. The two above emails are for Steve who put down gays as fags that should burn in hell. I think he is a sick man.
    Kristy, I have always loved and knew she was gay as a teen myself. We used to go to some of the same gay clubs as young women. Not together, but I always wanted to meet her. She was an idol at the perfect time. Now, I love Ellen Degeneres!!

    Posted on Monday, January 9, 2012 at 4:14pm
  82. Had a crush on her since “Family”…back when there were great and honest story lines for families to watch together.
    Congrats and welcome to the “Family” Kris!

    Posted on Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 9:50pm