Child star Kristy McNichol, who is now 49, has officially come out of the closet to try to help kids who are being bullied, according to People.
She "is very sad about kids being bullied," her publicist Jeff Ballard told People. "She hopes that coming out can help kids who need support. She would like to help others who feel different."
McNichol rose to fame in the 1970’s as the adorable tomboy Buddy in the television drama Family, in which Meredith Baxter, who came out as a lesbian in 2009, played her older sister.
According to People, McNichol has been with her partner Martie Allen for a close to two decades. McNichol sent a photo of her and Allen sidled up next to each other and looking happy to People with a note that read that she is “approaching 50” and wanted to “be open about who I am.”
McNichol also starred in the 1980 movie Little Darlings with Tatum O’Neal and in the television series Empty Nest in the late 1980’s.
In a vintage interview with People McNichol discussed what she called an “emotional breakdown,” that she attributed to a late reaction to child stardom.
She has been out of the public eye, with nothing showing up on her IMDB page since 1998, but she is happily living a private life, her publicist told People.
"She is very happy and healthy," says Ballard. "And she enjoys living a very private life."
View the picture of McNichol and her partner here.