Here, for the first time, Johnson is ready to admit that she went years harboring the same secret. TV Guide Magazine: With this announcement you seem to be the only officially "out" star currently in daytime soaps, even though the shows are loaded with gay actors. Joanna Johnson: Daytime is a whole different world than primetime or theater or film. Or that I wouldn't be believable in romance stories. She was married to Ridge [Ronn Moss] and had two kids and a wonderful life. I'm not anywhere near as famous as those ladies, but I guess it's my turn to do my little part. TV Guide Magazine: Did you feel any pressure to come out when you were around all those open women? I think they understood my professional concerns because those concerns were very real. I think the gay community would love to see us portrayed just like any straight couple, flaws and faults and all. When we first met up at the show we had to shoot some photos — vacation-type snapshots of Karen and Dani to put on the mantel — and I felt kind of nervous and awkward.
There's a greater intimacy between the viewers and the characters. When we finished shooting, I ran to my dressing room and just cried and cried because I knew I was never going to have that kind of life. I think Crystal thought I was a little crazy but when I explained that I hadn't yet come out publicly, she got it and has been very lovely and supportive. It was my screen test with Ronn Moss where I turned bright red and was just smitten! TV Guide Magazine: Did the rest of the cast eventually learn the truth about you?
debuted in 1987 and she quickly emerged as one of the show's brightest and most romantic stars, first as doomed heroine Caroline Spencer, then as her identical twin Karen. club promoter] Michelle Agnew and we have two beautiful children, Julian, who is five, and Harlow, who is two. It feels weird and wrong to play this revelation about Karen's life and not talk about my own. lang and Melissa Etheridge back in the day and thought it was so beautiful they were out, even though I didn't have the nerve. Or would that be a PC nightmare, considering this is the first gay storyline in 's entire 25-year history?
Johnson later had big success behind the camera — she created the Kelly Ripa-Faith Ford sitcom in a startling story about how Karen has been living a secret life as a lesbian. I was so worried I wouldn't be employable as an actress if people knew I was a lesbian. Johnson: After I started playing Karen, I remember doing a fantasy scene that showed what life would have been like if Caroline had not died of cancer. And now we're finding out that Karen is married to this great lady Dani [Crystal Chappell] and together they have raised her daughter Caroline [Linsey Godfrey]. When I realized I was gay in my early twenties we didn't have role models like Ellen. Johnson: We shouldn't feel pressure to make Karen and Dani some paragon of virtue. Brad should look at that movie ] She's straight and she's more comfortable playing gay than I am!
I just said, "Oh." And there was this very long pause. Knowing Bill, it's probably all in his mind, but would the show have the nerve to make Dani bi?
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