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The Bold and the Beautiful: Joanna Johnson, like Karen Spencer, Comes Out!

Updated on September 25, 2013

This week the Bold and the Beautiful begins airing its first gay storyline in the 25 year history of the show. Caroline Spencer invites Thoman Forrester to dinner with her “parents” who turn out to be Karen Spencer (Joanna Johnson) and Crystal Chappell (Dani). Thomas is let in on the family secret – Caroline has two mothers!

The family secret remains a family secret because Karen’s brother, Bill Spencer, Jr. is unaware that his sister is gay, but does wonder why his sister can’t get a man. During the storyline Karen Spencer, portrayed by Joanna Johnson, will come out to her brother.

Joanna Johnson Comes Out

In a case of life imitating art, Joanna Johnson, this week made a surprise announcement. She too is gay and in real-life has been privately living precisely the life that Karen Spencer and her wife Danielle (Crystall Chappell) have been leading in New York.

In an Interview with TVGuide Joanna Johnson admitted that though she hasn’t been out to her fans and the general public, she did tell some of the original cast members.

When Bill Bell floated the idea of making Karen gay, Johnson admits to being taken aback and asking where he got the idea from, then quickly asking for a hot wife! Bell delivered casting Crystal Chappell in the role.

Chappell is known for her roles on other soaps: Carly Manning on Days of our Lives, Olivia on Guiding Light and Gina on Chappells web soap Venice, that she produces with real life husband, Michael Sabatino (ex-Lawrence, Days of our Lives).

Joanna Johnson noted that Chappell, who is straight, was more comfortable playing gay than she is. Of course Chappells character Olivia in Guiding Light was one half of Guiding Light’s Otalia lesbian couple, and her Venic character, Gina Brogno is also openly gay.

Joanna Johnson's Children have two Mommies too!

Joanna Johnson and her partner of nine years, Michelle, like Karen and Dani on the Bold and Beautiful are raising a family. They have adopted two children. Their family is interracial and Johnson notes that children don’t see color or make distinctions between families with a two mommy’s or two daddy’s vs. the more traditional (until now?) mommy and daddy families.

What do you think?

Will the news that Joanna Johnson is gay affect whether you watch her on the Bold and the Beautiful

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How are Bold and the Beautiful fans taking it?

Johnson’s reasons for not coming out sooner are much the same as any soap stars. Fans tend to identify closely with characters they watch daily for years on end and the lines between the character and the actor can become blurred.

The news has generated some spirited conversation over on the Bold and the Beautiful Facebook fan page, but at the end of the day Joanna Johnson shouldn’t be judged by fans on how she lives her life but by the performance she delivers.

Kudos to Joanna Johnson for being the first publicly “out” daytime performer.

Karen Spencer to be recast on The Bold and the Beautiful

Update! September 2013!

The part of Karen Spencer, on The Bold and the Beautiful is being recast. Joanna Johnson has appeared sparodically in the part over the past year due to her commitments behind the scenes on her new prime time series, The Fosters.

Stay tuned for news of who will be replacing Joanna Johnson as Karen Spencer.


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    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      It depends on the outlook of the society.

      Whereas, here in the Philippines, same sex marriage or relationship is still taboo. Unlike in the US, people are more open with that kind of family setup.

      Joanna Johnson is brave enough to admit it. Thanks for sharing this info and it will just vanish into thin air, like what happened to other 'hot celebrity news' years ago, involving such kind of topic.