LOS ANGELES — Former child star Kristy McNichol, star of 1970s TV shows “Family” and “Empty Nest”, came out as a lesbian on Monday, in a public gesture to support kids who are bullied over their sexuality.

McNichol, 49, has been out of the public eye for 20 years. But she decided to share a photo of herself and her partner Martie Allen with People magazine.

She “is very sad about kids being bullied,” her publicist Jeff Ballard told the celebrity magazine. “She hopes that coming out can help kids who need support. She would like to help others who feel different.”

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