Former television actress Kristy McNichol has decided to come out in order to help and encourage bullied LGBT kids, People magazine reports.
McNichol, best known for her Emmy-award winning work on “Family,” has come forward to make a formal statement about her sexuality because she wants to “be open about who I am.”
Jeff Ballard, McNichol’s publicist, says she “is very sad about kids being bullied.”
“She hopes that coming out can help kids who need support. She would like to help others who feel different,” he added.
The actress, 49, has lived with her partner Martie Allen for more than 20 years. She included a photograph of the pair with her statement.
McNichol solidified her role as a 1970s icon alongside Tatum O’Neal and Matt Dillon in the movie “Little Darlings.”
Her final acting gig was as Barbara Weston on the sitcom “Empty Nest,” a spinoff of “The Golden Girls” on NBC.
In 1992 she left the show and Hollywood in order to take care of her health after being diagnosed with bipolar disease.
McNichol now spends her time playing sports, travelling and raising her miniature dachshunds.
“She is very happy and healthy,” her publicist added. “And she enjoys living a very private life.”
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