Christy McNichol was a famous young star in the ’70s and ’80s, but she first became famous in the television drama “Family,” playing the youngest daughter of Letitia Lawrence, nicknamed Buddy. The series premiered in 1976, starring such celebrities as James Broderick and Sada Thompson, a suburban California couple with three children, and ran for five seasons. The series “Family” depicted the life of the American middle class at the time, including touching on such complex topics as sexuality and death. McNichol was only fourteen when the show began, but she won two Emmy Awards for her work on the series. 

Although her popularity grew for several years after “Family” aired, McNichol also dealt with some personal problems and has been virtually out of the spotlight for the past twenty-five years.  

After her role in the acclaimed film “Family,” McNichol’s career took off. In 1980, she played her first starring role in the beloved coming-of-age film Little Darlings and was nominated for a Golden Globe for the comedy Only When I Laugh. She also starred in television, playing episodic roles in acclaimed TV series. 

But her fame had a downside. Filming the 1984 film “As You Are” was put on hold because McNichol, the lead actress, was experiencing mental health problems. She said she slept very little, had strange dreams, and dangerously lost weight while working on the project in France. With the help of a therapist, McNichol determined that one of the reasons for her breakdown was the pressure of her childhood stardom. 

The girl retired from acting in the late ’90s. 

Although McNichols continued to work as an actress for several years after this highly publicized incident, her last role in 1998 was voicing the animated series Invasion of America. Then, she decided to leave the industry, which she said was a very positive decision for her. 

Fortunately, McNichol’s life has only gotten better since she departed from the profession. 

McNichol confessed her homosexuality to her fans in 2012, making a statement that her publicist Jeff Ballard shared with People. He explained that she chose to do so, even while retired, for a fundamental reason. 

At the time, McNichol also revealed that she had lived with her partner Marty Allen for twenty years, loved playing tennis, doing yoga, and spending time with her mini dachshund. 

She said that she felt like an adult on the set of “Family.” 

In her 1989 interview, McNichol said that even at a young age, she took the role of Buddy very seriously. 

But eventually, while maturity helped her professionally, she found that living in the spotlight did not take the best of her mental and physical health. 

Her brother was also a famous child. 

McNichol has always been close to her brother, Jimmy McNichol, who was also a star child. (They released an album together in 1978, and Jimmy even moved in with his sister to support her when she had mental health problems. 

Today, the brother and sister share a Facebook page. Most of the page consists of photos, but from time to time, they share their recent photos and what they are doing. 

Kristy also interacts with fans by attending conventions where she talks about her work and signs autographs.