Kristy McNichol, a retired American actress, emerged in the spotlight in 2012 with a major disclosure following her abrupt exit from Hollywood. Taking use of her fame status and platform, the former child actor eventually confirmed her sexuality and came out as a lesbian, 14 years after leaving Hollywood.
Why did McNichol choose to come out of the closet at such a late age? Let’s have a look.
As she approached her fifties, Kristy McNichol came out of the closet
McNichol was best recognized for her role as “Buddy” in the Spelling/Goldberg blockbuster TV series Family (1976), and her sexuality was the subject of much debate. Being a tomboy in her early years, she was destined to be scrutinized.
In 2012, the former actress felt it was time to put the homosexual rumors to rest and came out of the closet to reveal her sexuality. In January 2012, she sent a photo of her partner Martie Allen to People’s magazine, along with a statement about her outed secret. As she approached her 50s in 2012, the actress’s publicist told the magazine that she openly revealed her sexuality so that she could be upfront about who she is. Kristy also stated that she made the announcement to assist other children who are bullied because they are lesbian.
Martie Allen, the retired actress’s companion, is currently in a long-term and loving relationship. For more than two decades, the pair has been together.
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Kristy Mcnichol left Hollywood after receiving a mental health diagnosis
Mcnichol has a long history of fame, beginning as a child actor in commercials and progressing to TV shows and films. All of her celebrity, however, came at a cost, the cost of her innocent adolescent years.
As the actress’s career took off at the tender age of 14, reports of her mental depression spread like wildfire. Being forced into the performing world at such a young age seemed to have taken its toll on the TV starlet, who eventually drowned in self-doubt and misery.
In a 1989 interview with People magazine, the actress discussed her previous battles with depression. She explained that it all started when she was 20 and shooting her seventh film, Just The Way You Are. During the filming of the film, the actress revealed that she became more aware of her anxiety and tension in 1982.
I was freaking out, crying, and unsure of what was going on. I was in such bad shape. Trying to get through that film was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.
She claimed in the interview that after discussing her mental health with her management proved futile, she sought help from a psychiatrist recommended by a friend. She quit the filming of Just The Way You Are on the doctor’s suggestion, but returned a year later to finish the film.
In the same interview with People, McNichol revealed that the high-pressure years of childhood celebrity played a role in her mental collapse. Some of it had to do with her tumultuous childhood and shouldering the burden of her broken home after her parents divorced.
She appeared in a few movies and TV shows after the break, but she became a somewhat dormant celebrity. She was eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1992, prompting her to leave Hollywood early for her own good.
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