Joanna Johnson comes out as a lesbian alongside her “Bold and the Beautiful” character


The sudsy world of daytime drama isn’t always benevolent to its lady-loving fans. We’ll wait ages for a lesbian story to unfold, wringing our hands and shouting at the TV for a pining couple to kiss already, and when they finally do makeout (or hold hands), they’re always getting carted off to Europe or gunned down in the middle of the road or losing their lives to network cancellation. But we’ve got a lot of reasons to be thankful for The Bold and the Beautiful. Not only are they introducing Crystal Chappell‘s Danielle as a love interest for longtime fan favorite Karen Spencer this week, but the actress who plays Karen Spencer — the gorgeous Joanna Johnson — has decided to publicly come out alongside her character.

In an interview with TV Guide Magazine, Johnson, who just turned 50, reveals that although she came out to her parents when she was 23 and married the mother of her children back in 2008, she has always been afraid to let her fans and co-stars know that she’s a gay lady. But not anymore! In fact, her real-life story is the inspiration for her character’s soon-to-be fictional-life story!

Photo by Sean Smith/JPIStudios

You should definitely click through and read the whole interview, but these are a few of my favorite tidbits:

Johnson on why there are more openly gay characters on daytime TV than openly gay actors on daytime TV:

Daytime is a whole different world than primetime or theater or film. There’s a greater intimacy between the viewers and the characters. They think you are your character. And that creates a lot of fear. Fear of rejection. I was so worried I wouldn’t be employable as an actress if people knew I was a lesbian. Or that I wouldn’t be believable in romance stories. I had to deal with a lot of self-loathing.

Johnson on hanging out with Ellen, Melissa Etheridge, and k.d. lang back in the day:

I never felt any pressure from them [to come out]. 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. When Angelina Jolie said she was bi, it was sexy. The industry wanted her even more. It’s quite another thing to say you’re a lesbian. Back then anyway. I really admire the courage of people who have been out and noisy. I had to struggle to become proud.

Johnson on learning that her character is going to come out as a lesbian who has struggled to accept her sexuality for her whole life:

When [exec producer-head writer] Brad Bell called and pitched the story I was kind of thrown. I just said, “Oh.” And there was this very long pause. Then I said, “Where’d you get that idea?” He laughed. I laughed. And I said, “Just make sure you get me a hot wife.” And he did!

Yeah, he did! Chappel and Johnson’s story-arc reportedly starts this Wednesday (May 16) when Karen returns to the show. Join us in welcoming Joanna Johnson to the out-and-proud world and lesbian celebrities. Also, join us in holding hands and praying to Sappho that Danielle and Karen avoid the Bubonic Plague, falling meteors, speeding bullets, and every other daytime lesbian death-trap!