According to TV Guide, "Bold and the Beautiful" star Joanna Johnson has become the daytime soap opera world's only "out" actor currently on a series, revealing in an exclusive interview that she's a lesbian.
The 50-year-old Johnson, whose longtime "The Bold and the Beautiful" character Karen has been living a secret life as a lesbian, told the TV magazine she's married to L.A. club promoter Michelle Agnew, with whom she has two children, fi-year-old Julian and Harlow, two.
Johnson told writer Michael Logan that she kept mum on her personal life for so long out of "fear of rejection" as an actress. "I was so worried I wouldn't be employable as an actress if people knew I was a lesbian," she said. "Or that I wouldn't be believable in romance stories. I had to deal with a lot of self-loathing."
On her personal life mirroring that of her "Beautiful" character Karen, who is both married to a woman (Crystal Chappell) and mother to Caroline (Lindsay Godfrey), Johnson proclaims, "I guess that's why I'm ready to open up. It feels weird and wrong to play this revelation about Karen's life and not talk about my own."
Though Johnson also notes she's been friends with Ellen DeGeneres, Melissa Etheridge and k.d. lang for years, she insists she "never felt any pressure" from her lesbian pals to come out. "When I realized I was gay in my early 20s we didn't have role models like Ellen," she said. "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."
She adds, "I think they understood my professional concerns because those concerns were very real. When Ellen came out she took a big hit. It certainly hurt her career as an actress...I really admire the courage of people who have been out and noisy. I had to struggle to become proud."
Last month, "Bold and the Beautiful" co-writer Brad Bell told TV Guide that he hoped Karen's storyline would "discuss the real issues" and "present some prejudices" of the gay community.
"I want to do this story because I listen to all the political debates on the subject of same-sex marriage and can't believe I share the same country with people who think so differently about human rights," he said. "I want to put my hat in the ring and, hopefully, help change some thoughts and opinions on the issue."
Take a look at other celebrities who've come out as LGBT below:
<em>New York Times </em>scribe Patrick Healy confirmed "The Big Bang Theory" star's sexuality<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/27/theater/jim-parsons-prepares-for-his-lead-role-in-harvey.html?_r=1" target="_hplink"> as part of a profile</a> of the 39-year-old actor. The revelation came late in the article, when Healy describes Parsons' role in the 2011 revival of Larry Kramer's HIV/AIDS crisis drama, "The Normal Heart." Wrote Healy: '"The Normal Heart" resonated with him on a few levels: Mr. Parsons is gay and in a 10-year relationship, and working with an ensemble again onstage was like nourishment, he said." Though the <em>Times </em>didn't identify Parsons' partner, he has been romantically liked with art director Todd Spiewak (pictured).
The 34-year-old "White Collar" hunk <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/13/matt-bomer-comes-out-gay-thanks-partner_n_1272997.html" target="_hplink">thanked his partner</a> Simon Halls and his three children during Saturday's Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards, where he received the New Generation Arts and Activism Award for his work in the fight against HIV/AIDS. "I'd really especially like to thank my beautiful family: Simon, Kit, Walker, Henry," he told the crowd. "Thank you for teaching me what unconditional love is. You will always be my proudest accomplishment."
The "X-Files" actress <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/13/gillian-anderson-lesbian-relationships-out-magazine_n_1342801.html" target="_hplink">revealed she's had numerous relationships</a> with women in a 2012 interview with <em>Out</em> magazine. The 43-year-old mother of three, who's long enjoyed a sizable lesbian fanbase, told <em>Out</em> that she first had a relationship with a woman while still in high school, after moving from her native England to suburban Michigan. "If I had thought I was 100 percent gay, would it have been a different experience for me?" Anderson, who was voted "Most Bizarre" and "Most Likely to Be Arrested" in high school, ponders. "Would it have been a bigger deal if shame had been attached to it and all those things that become huge life-altering issues for youngsters in that situation? It's possible that my attitude around it came, on some level, from knowing that I still liked boys."
The New Kids On The Block singer was out-ed by fellow '80s teen pop star Tiffany in January 2011 when she revealed she dated Knight before "he became gay later." In response, Knight posted a message on his website <a href="http://www.towleroad.com/2011/01/jonathan-knight.html#ixzz1azmexp8H" target="_hplink">stating in part</a>: <blockquote>"I have never been outed by anyone but myself! I did so almost twenty years ago. I never know that I would have to do it all over again publicly just because I reunited with NKOTB! I have lived my life very openly and have never hidden the fact that I am gay!"</blockquote>
DeGeneres came out in 1997, both in real life and on TV, on her sitcom "Ellen." "The Puppy Episode," which aired in April 1997, <a href="http://www.afterellen.com/column/2005/4/backintheday.html" target="_hplink">featured a who's who</a> of Hollywood, including Oprah Winfrey, Demi Moore, Billy Bob Thornton, and Laura Dern as Ellen's love interest. DeGeneres's character became the first openly gay prime time character on television.
Long rumored to be gay, the actor, most famous for his roles on "Heroes" and in the recent "Star Trek" film, came out in a October 2011 <em>New York</em> magazine profile, saying: <blockquote>"In light of Jamey's [Rodemeyer] death -- it became clear to me in an instant that living a gay life without publicly acknowledging it -- is simply not enough to make any significant contribution to the immense work that lies ahead on the road to complete equality. Our society needs to recognize the unstoppable momentum toward unequivocal civil equality for every gay lesbian bisexual and transgendered citizen of this country."</blockquote>
In <a href="http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/elton-john-lonely-at-the-top-rolling-stones-1976-cover-story-20110202" target="_hplink">an interview</a> with <em>Rolling Stone</em> in October 1976, the rock star came out by saying, "There's nothing wrong with going to bed with somebody of your own sex. I think everybody's bisexual to a certain degree. I don't think it's just me. It's not a bad thing to be. I think you're bisexual. I think everybody is."
After becoming a father in August of 2008, the "American Idol" runner up <a href="http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20228488,00.html" target="_hplink">came out on the cover</a> of <em>People</em> magazine in September 2008 saying, "[Coming out] was the first decision I made as a father... I cannot raise a child to lie or to hide things. I wasn't raised that way, and I'm not going to raise a child to do that."
The comedian and actress came out in November 2008 <a href="http://thestrippodcast.blogspot.com/2008/11/wanda-sykes-lv-gay-rally-im-proud-to-be.html" target="_hplink">while speaking at an anti-Prop 8 rally</a> in Las Vegas. Sykes said in part: <blockquote>"I got married Oct. 25, I don't really talk about my sexual orientation, I felt like I was living my life, I wasn't in the closet, but I was just living my life. Everybody who knows me personally, they know I'm gay. And that's the way people should be able to live our lives, really. We shouldn't have to be standing out here demanding something we automatically should have as citizens of this country."</blockquote>
In March 2009 pop star Ricky Martin <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/29/ricky-martin-comes-out-im_n_517625.html" target="_hplink">posted a message on his website</a> telling the world, "I am a fortunate homosexual man."
Country singer Chely Wright <a href="http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20365936,00.html" target="_hplink">came out in May 2010</a>. She told <em>People</em> magazine, "There had never, ever been a country music artist who had acknowledged his or her homosexuality... I wasn't going to be the first." But she changed her mind and said of her decision, "Nothing in my life has been more magical than the moment I decided to come out."
After being caught performing a "lewd act" in a public restroom, Michael came out to CNN in April 1998. <a href="http://www.cnn.com/SHOWBIZ/9804/11/george.michael/" target="_hplink">Michael said</a>, "This is as good of a time as any... I want to say that I have no problem with people knowing that I'm in a relationship with a man right now. I have not been in a relationship with a woman for almost 10 years." Later that year Michael spoofed the incident in the music video for his single "Outside."
The CNN news anchor came out to the <em>New York Times</em> in May 2011. Lemon <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/16/business/media/16anchor.html?_r=3" target="_hplink">told the paper</a>, "It's quite different for an African-American male... It's about the worst thing you can be in black culture. You're taught you have to be a man; you have to be masculine. In the black community they think you can pray the gay away."
The singer's sexuality was always a topic of discussion for viewers when he was performing on "American Idol," but Lambert didn't come out until after the competition had wrapped. In a June 2009 <em>Rolling Stone</em> cover story, Lambert said, "Right after the finale [of "AI"], I almost started talking about it to the reporters, but I thought, 'I'm going to wait for <em>Rolling Stone</em>, that will be cooler,'.. I didn't want the Clay Aiken thing and the celebrity-magazine bullshit. I need to be able to explain myself in context."
When <a href="http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20275794,00.html" target="_hplink">asked by an Internet talk show</a> who she was looking to date in April of 2009, "Top Gun" star Kelly McGillis answered "Definitely a woman," and added, "I'm done with the man thing. You need to move on in life."
The "Doogie Howser, MD" and "How I Met Your Mother Star" came out on the cover of <em>People</em> magazine in November of 2006. <a href="http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,1554852,00.html" target="_hplink">Harris told the magazine</a>: <blockquote>"The public eye has always been kind to me, and until recently I have been able to live a pretty normal life. Now it seems there is speculation and interest in my private life and relationships. So, rather than ignore those who choose to publish their opinions without actually talking to me, I am happy to dispel any rumors or misconceptions and am quite proud to say that I am a very content gay man living my life to the fullest and feel most fortunate to be working with wonderful people in the business I love." </blockquote>
Chaz Bono revealed his plan to transition in May 2009. TMZ.com broke the story <a href="http://www.tmz.com/2009/06/11/chastity-bono-becoming-a-man/#.TptSZ2VPkqU" target="_hplink">via a prepared statement</a> from Bono's publicist that read, in part: <blockquote>"Yes, it's true -- Chaz, after many years of consideration, has made the courageous decision to honor his true identity... He is proud of his decision and grateful for the support and respect that has already been shown by his loved ones. It is Chaz's hope that his choice to transition will open the hearts and minds of the public regarding this issue, just as his 'coming out' did nearly 20 years ago."</blockquote>
The "Glee" actor came out on the "Chelsea Lately Show" in December 2009: Chelsea Handler: "Your character on the show's gay. We know that you're gay. That's good for you. Congratulations. Don't be shy about that. Seriously. You shouldn't be shy about that because every time...an actor like you is helping a zillion other people that are scared to talk about their sexuality so good for you." Chris Colfer: "Thank you. You know what my answer to that question was prior to coming out -- was that I was straight as every other actor in Hollywood."
In December 2009 Baxter, most famous for playing Elyse Keaton on '80s sitcom "Family Ties," went on the "Today Show" and told Matt Lauer that she was a lesbian. Baxter said, "Some people would say, well, you're living a lie and, you know, the truth is -- not at all. This has only been for the past seven years."
The 'N Sync pop star came out on the cover of <em>People</em> magazine in July 2006. When asked why he decided to come out then, <a href="http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,1219142,00.html" target="_hplink">Bass said</a>, "The main reason I wanted to speak my mind was that (the rumors) really were starting to affect my daily life. Now it feels like it's on my terms. I'm at peace with my family, my friends, myself and God so there's really nothing else that I worry about."
The actress, perhaps best known for her role as tormented teen Dawn Wiener in the film "Welcome To The Dollhouse," <a href="http://www.afterellen.com/archive/ellen/People/82004/heathermatarazzo.html" target="_hplink">came out in August 2004</a> by telling the <em>NY Daily News</em> about falling in love with Caroline Murphy: <blockquote>"I met the person I'm so madly crazy in love with...She's not famous yet. She will be. She wants to do musical theater and stage, which is not as demoralizing as the movie business is."</blockquote>
The rock star came out in January 1993 during the Triangle ball, the first ever ball thrown for the LGBT community during a president's inauguration, in this case Clinton's. <a href="http://www.afterellen.com/archive/ellen/column/2005/2/backintheday.html" target="_hplink">Etheridge recalls</a>: <blockquote>"I didn't even think, Oh, I'm going to come out here...It was, 'Gee, I'm really excited to be here, and I'm really proud to have been a lesbian all my life.' And a big cheer went up through the whole hall, and k.d. [lang] came out and hugged me. I remember walking back, and my friend said, 'I think you came out!'"</blockquote>
The former Savage Garden front man came out by marrying Richard Cullen in June 2006. He announced the civil union on his website <a href="http://chartrigger.blogspot.com/2006/07/darren-hayes-comes-out.html" target="_hplink">saying in part</a>: "As so many of you have given me your heart and soul over the past 10 years I thought it only fitting that I too return the respect and inform you of the most significant event in my life... On June 19th 2006 I married my boyfriend of two years, Richard, in a Civil Partnership ceremony in London."
In May 2010 the British rapper came out in <em>Diva</em> magazine. <a href="http://perezhilton.com/2010-05-12-lady-sov-comes-out#.Tpt-2WVPkqU" target="_hplink">Sovereign said</a>: <blockquote>"Magazines would always ask about it but [questions about my sexuality] would get stopped by my publicists. It was my choice, too, because I was a bit worried about it but now I don't really give a shit. You can't hide away forever. It's just stupid and now I've come out I feel a lot more comfortable with myself. But it was a bit scary back then because some people do have horrible opinions."</blockquote>
The comedian and talk show host <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/life/television/2002/2002-02-27-rosie.htm" target="_hplink">came out by revealing</a> "I'm a dyke!" during her stand up act at the Ovarian Cancer Research benefit at Carolines Comedy Club in February 2002.
The actress had been out to friends for quite some time, but she told the entire world in the fall of 2005 in interviews with <em>Details</em> magazine and <em>The Advocate</em>. "I've had my years of being not open, many years of it... It's an honor for me to do this; it's just nice to be asked," de Rossi said in her September 2005 <em>Advocate</em> <a href="http://crispie764.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=Urgent&action=display&thread=35" target="_hplink">cover story</a>, her first with the gay press.
Long dogged by rumors about his sexuality, the "Will and Grace" actor <a href="http://www.advocate.com/Arts_and_Entertainment/People/Sean_Hayes_I_Am_Who_I_Am/" target="_hplink">finally came out</a> in <em>The Advocate</em> in April 2010: "I am who I am. I was never in, as they say. Never," he said.
The "Sex And The City" star was out-ed in 2004 when the <em>NY Daily News</em> and the <em>New York Post</em> <a href="http://www.afterellen.com/People/92004/cynthianixon.html" target="_hplink">reported she was living</a> with another woman in September 2004. Nixon half-heartedly confirmed the rumors when she told the <em>Daily News</em>, "My private life is private... But at the same time, I have nothing to hide. So what I will say is that I am very happy."