Actress Kristy McNichol Comes Out As Gay


Okay, so this post will prolly only really speak to those of you who grew up in the late 70s/early 80s but I used to be a BIG fan of Kristy McNichol and her coming out as gay is just really fantastic news to me. Some of you younger folks may know McNichol from her role as Barbara Weston in Empty Nest (a character that was originated on The Golden Girls) but those of you who remember the 80’s well may remember that Kristy was a fairly big teen star back in the day (she worked primarily on TV — The Bionic Woman, The Love Boat, Family — but she also starred in the film Little Darlings). It’s safe to say that Kristy was one of those young actresses that guys would pin posters of on their bedroom walls … particularly because of her cute tomboy look. To be honest, news of her coming out isn’t really a surprise to me … but I am very happy that she is finally comfortable being open about who she really is.

Kristy McNichol has been out of the public eye for 20 years. Now she’s chosen to come out – to try to help kids who are being bullied. McNichol, 49, who has lived with her partner Martie Allen, also 49, for the past two decades, decided to make a statement about her sexuality and share this photo because she is “approaching 50″ and wants to “be open about who I am.” 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.” Best known for her Emmy Award-winning role as Buddy Lawrence in the ’70s show Family and later as Barbara Weston in Empty Nest, McNichol left it all behind when she dropped out of Hollywood to focus on her health. Done with acting, McNichol spends her time focusing on tennis, yoga, travel and raising her beloved miniature dachshunds. “She is very happy and healthy,” says Ballard. “And she enjoys living a very private life.”

Some people may take issue with the fact that it took this long for Kristy McNichol to come out as gay but I say there is never the wrong time to come out. Let’s be real, if she had been open and honest about her sexuality back in the 80’s, she’d never have had career … at all. It may sound “easy” for someone to come out now that they are no longer working in Hollywood but I can tell you — there is nothing “easy” about coming out at all … ever. It sounds like Kristy and her partner of 20 years Martie Allen have lived a very happy life together and I couldn’t be more thrilled for the both of them. It is my hope that any closeted gay young stars out there today won’t wait 20 years to come out of the closet … because I hope, one day soon, our society will see sexuality as a completely non-issue. Until that day comes, young gays (famous or not) will continue to hide and live in fear … but hopefully, coming out stories like Kristy McNichol’s will serve as strength and inspiration to brave young gays looking for that extra encouragement to come out.


  • Sara

    The Pirate Movie is my favorite of all time. Good for her to come out in support of anyone afraid of being who they are. I wish all of Hollywood would be more honest.

    • Krissy

      One of mine too!!! I couldn’t remember where I knew her from, and those shows didn’t sound familiar to me. Wow, I had forgotten about that movie. I used to love it.

  • Sarah

    I may be a little on the young side, but I totally remember watching Empty Nest! I thought the best part of the show were the two daughters, and I remember seeing Kristy in an ep of Golden Girls. Good for her, though. I don’t think anyone she be down on her for coming out now. She grew up in a different time, where different view points or lifestyles were not as accepted. Even today it is often very hard for people to come out, because they are afraid of how people will react. It takes a lot of bravery to reveal something that has been secret for so long.

  • rOXy

    Bravo for her and bravo for your support! No one should ever be judged for being in the closet, and no one should ever be pushed to come out of it.

  • Debho

    Didn’t she come out years ago though? I already knew that she was gay. Little Darlings and The Pirate Movie are among my favourites to this day.

    • ChristineLA

      I don’t recall her ever coming out, but I also don’t ever remember thinking she was straight once I was old enough to understand sexuality, if that makes any sense. I totally agree with you, The Pirate Movie is still awesome!

    • Rhianon

      Yea, I was thinking the same thing…

  • Meh

    It’s great that she came out, but at the same time… who really cares! I am straight, but I don’t go screaming it out, and putting it on my facebook page. I support gays and lesbians, but I really don’t care about your sexual preferences… I just care about how of a person you are…

    • ella

      You don’t go around telling people what your sexuality is because everyone assumes you’re straight. Being straight is still the assumption. You don’t think that sexual preference is a big deal because you’re not discriminated against, mistreated, and abused because of your sexual preference.

      When someone can say “I’m gay” without fear of discrimination, without fear of family and friends cutting ties with them, without fear of violence, and without fear of harassment, then maybe coming out won’t be a big deal. When society stops assuming that everyone is straight until we find out otherwise, then coming out won’t be necessary. Until then, work on being an ally and fighting for equal rights for LGBTQQIA people instead of glossing over the huge struggles they still face.

    • @ella — Well said!!

    • Meh

      It’s fine to tell whoever you’re gay. Then honestly move on and live your life.

    • @Meh — Thanks for adding to the productive conversation.

    • Grace

      Straight people don’t have to come out! From the moment that we’re born people expect that you will be heterosexual.

      Gay people NEED to come out because we are never planned for. We are always an exception to the rule. Trust me, when I was a kid, I never knew another gay person. I thought I was a freak. That led to depression and attempted suicide because there was no one that I could share my true feelings with.

      It’s easy to be a part of the majority. It’s easy for you to say that gay people should just shut up and keep it to themselves. Just consider yourself lucky to never have been forced to go against your nature. How would you like to be shamed into having sex with people you don’t like? How would you like to fall in love with someone that would kill you if you ever told them? That is the life of a gay teen. We will not shut up about it!

    • ChristineLA

      Hugs to you, sincerely. I cannot imagine, and I am so glad you managed to find the strength to make it through the teen years that are so awkward for anyone, not to mention adding being gay and not feeling free to say so to anyone. The more people speak up, the more kids will not be so afraid, so that is always a good thing. It’s not just gay people that need to speak up, loudly, it’s straight people who know there is nothing inherently wrong with being gay.

  • Ellen

    I have always admired Kristy and am so glad she is in a good space. Kristy will always hold a special place in my heart!!!

  • Anno

    @ Debho – Didn’t she have a long-time girlfriend that passed away years ago? She was an actress/singer. So it’s hardly surprising “news”, but she must be in a good place in her life. Good for her.

    • Debho

      You could be right Anno, I don’t really remember. All I know is that I had read years ago that she was gay. Actually, maybe I saw it on TV because I remember my husband being a little disappointed because he had a “thing” for her. Not that he had a chance in hell anyway. lol

    • ChristineLA

      I feel like maybe she has always been tacked on at the end of conversations about actors that are assumed to be gay, and that is why we all vaguely remember thinking she had come out years ago.

  • lulu

    The Enquirer has been outing her for years and years so it is not like a big shock but good for her to want to help others out. I think she has dealt w/bi-polar or something too so it was courageous of her.

    • Debho

      Yes Lulu, she is bi-polar.She has had many obstacles to overcome in her life, but I”m glad she’s doing okay.

    • ChristineLA

      I absolutely remember her speaking out about being bi-polar years ago. Good for her that she has found lasting peace and happiness away from Hollywood.

  • Spitzi

    I too thought this was common knowledge. Weird.

  • Slederonnaire

    Cauta zboruri

  • VefGrookeMike