Joanna Johnson, the long-time star of the CBS soap The Bold and the Beautiful, told TV Guide she’s been keeping a secret since she started on the show in 1987: She’s gay. Johnson played Caroline Spencer and her identical twin Karen, but some of her biggest success was as a co-executive producer of Make it or Break It and as the creator of Hope & Faith, a show that starred Kelly Ripa and Faith Ford as sisters.
Though daytime soaps are rife with gay and bisexual actors, this announcement makes Johnson — who is actually returning to The Bold and the Beautiful in a queer storyline in which Karen is married to Dani, played by Crystal Chappell, and has a daughter — the only “out” star on daytime soaps.
“Daytime is a whole different world than primetime or theater or film,” Johnson told TV Guide. “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.”
Though she once cried in her dressing room because she’d never have a happy married life with kids, Johnson tells TV Guide she did just that. In fact, Johnson is married to actress Michelle Agnew, an L.A. club promoter who (geek alert!) some lesbians might remember her one role as Scharn on Star Trek: Voyager(whom Seven of Nine — the hot Borg Jeri Ryan played — thought had extracted her nanoprobes). The couple have two kids.
Johnson, who tells the Guide that she used to pal around with out lesbian stars including Melissa Etheridge and Ellen Degeneres before she was out. “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,” she said.