'Bold and the Beautiful' Star Comes Out as a Lesbian

In Celebs by Kim Muraro , on Monday, May 14, 2012, 7:16 PM (PDT)
gay soap star


And Her Character on the CBS Soap Is Gay, Too

Brooke Logan? Stephanie Forrester? Dr. Taylor? Nope, nope and nope. The Bold and he Beautiful star who has come out as a lesbian -- as her character also comes out to her family -- is original B&B star Joanna Johnson.

Johnson, who currently plays Karen Spencer on the CBS soap, was part of the show's cast when the soap debuted in 1987. Then, she played heroine Caroline Spencer, first wife of Ridge Forrester, who's still one of the show's main leading men.

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Johnson began to play Caroline's twin, Karen, after Caroline's death, and in a current storyline on the show, Karen is revealing to her family that she's a lesbian, and has been living secretly as a lesbian for years.

And as for the 50-year-old Johnson -- who also has off-camera success as the creator of the Kelly Ripa sitcom Hope & Faith and executive producer on ABC Family's Make It or Break It and USA's Fairly Legal -- real life is mirroring reel life, as she's taking the opportunity to announce that she, too, is gay.

"After I started playing Karen, I remember doing a fantasy scene that showed what life would have been like if Caroline had not died of cancer," Johnson tells TV Guide. "She was married to Ridge and had two kids and a wonderful life. When we finished shooting, I ran to my dressing room and just cried and cried, because I knew I was never going to have that kind of life."

Read: Pastor Apologizes for Telling Parents to Beat the Gay Out of Their Kids [VIDEO] [POLL]

But Johnson does have that kind of life, and, as she shared with TV Guide, that made her especially happy to be a part of the B&B storyline.

"I'm married to (club promoter) Michelle Agnew, and we have two beautiful children, Julian, who is five, and Harlow, who is two," Johnson says. "And now we're finding out that Karen is married to this great lady Dani (Crystal Chappell), and together they have raised her daughter. So times have certainly changed. 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.

"I used to hang out with Ellen Degeneres, k.d. lang and Melissa Etheridge back in the day and thought it was so beautiful they were out, even though I didn't have the nerve. When I realized I was gay in my early twenties we didn't have role models like Ellen. 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."

Read: Will Smith Gay Rumors Surface -- Again

Sadly, Johnson also shared with TV Guide that the first people she came out to -- her parents -- weren't at all accepting of her sexuality initially. Her mom died before the two could make up, but she and her father are forging a better relationship.

"(My dad) and I didn't speak for three years because of this. But, to his credit, he struggled through his beliefs and prejudices and came to realize I didn't do this to hurt him," Johnson says. "He loves me and wants to be in my life. He loves Michelle and our children. It would be nice to say I didn't need that approval in order to love myself. But I did and that's my story. I'm here. I'm queer. (Laughs) And I'm just getting used to it!"

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