(LOS ANGELES) -- Kristy McNichol, famous for her roles on the TV series “Family” and “Empty Nest,” has come out of the closet in an effort to help children being bullied.
McNichol, 49, has lived with her partner Martie Allen, for the past two decades.
She decided to make a statement about her sexuality and share a photo because she is “approaching 50″ and wants to “be open about who I am,” People Magazine reported.
She “is very sad about kids being bullied,” her publicist Jeff Ballard told People Magazine. “She hopes that coming out can help kids who need support. She would like to help others who feel different.”
McNichol was best known for her roles on the drama “Family,” for which she won two Emmy Awards, and later “Empty Nest.” She has also starred in several films, including “Little Darlings” in 1980 with Tatum O’Neal.
McNichol was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1992, and subsequently ended her television career. She currently lives in Los Angeles.
“She is very happy and healthy,” says Ballard, according to People Magazine. “And she enjoys living a very private life.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio