As The Bold and the Beautiful prepares to tell its first ever storyline involving lesbian characters, Joanna Johnson (Karen Spencer), one of the actresses involved in the storyline, has come out as lesbian.
In an interview with TVGuide's Michael Logan, Johnson admitted to having "cried and cried" when she realized that she might never have the chance to live out the type of life her on-screen persona was living.
"Daytime is a whole different world than prime-time or theater or film.... I was so worried I wouldn't be employable as an actress if people knew I was a lesbian," Johnson revealed. "Or that I wouldn't be believable in romance stories. I had to deal with a lot of self-loathing."
Johnson's fears of not having a fulfilling person life, however, were unfounded. Johnson also shared that she is married to L.A. club promoter Michelle Agnew, and the couple has two children, Julian and Harlow.
In B&B's upcoming storyline, Caroline Spencer will reveal that she has too mothers -- Johnson's Karen and Danielle, played by Emmy winner Crystal Chappell. Chappell played a lesbian on Guiding Light, and also in her Emmy-winning web series, Venice.
"She's straight and she's more comfortable playing gay than I am," Johnson mused of her co-star.
Aside from the uncertainty about how The Bold and the Beautiful's fans will react to her on-screen, fictional story, Johnson confessed that she hopes fans don't feel that she's been dishonest with them.
"I would be very sad and hurt if the B&B fans were disappointed I'm a lesbian, or somehow feel betrayed that I kept it secret," Johnson explained. "There is already a backlash from some unhappy people on Facebook about Karen being gay. They don't understand how she could have dated guys but then ended up with a woman. I certainly don't think it's unrealistic. I tried dating guys. [Laughs] I lived this story! It used to be that daytime was so much racier and progressive -- soaps used to lead the way -- and then all of a sudden things shifted, maybe because they feel the audience is more conservative than it used to be. So, yeah, I'm nervous. I hope the viewers will give this a chance."
Johnson returns to B&B on May 16. Chappell will debut as Danielle the following day.