The actress plays Karen Spencer in the CBS soap opera – but originally played Caroline Spencer before the character was killed off and her twin sister introduced. Johnson has recently returned to The Bold and the Beautiful as part of the storyline introducing Karen’s on-screen daughter – previously unseen and unmentioned.
Johnson’s return to the Los Angeles soap also ties in to its very first same-sex relationship storyline. The character of Karen is revealed to be involved in a same-sex relationship with Danielle played by Emmy winner Crystal Chappell. Ahead of the storyline kicking off on the soap opera actress Joanna Johnson gave an interview to the TVGuide magazine in which she came out as a lesbian.
“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,….Or that I wouldn’t be believable in romance stories. I had to deal with a lot of self-loathing.” – Joanna Johnson speaking to TV Guide
In the interview with TV Guide’s Michael Logan the actress states she hopes B&B fans don’t feel disappointed that she hasn’t revealed her sexuality in the past. “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” The actress also touched upon some of the backlash, already, over the storyline.
“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……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.” – Joanna Johnson speaking to TV Guide
Same-sex romances and gay/lesbian characters have had something of a rocky road on daytime soap operas in America. While All My Children, One Life to Live and As The World Turns have all been praised for featuring gay storylines they have also faced backlash from conservative viewers. However, characters such as Luke Synder (Van Hansis), Noah Mayer (Jake Silbermann) and Bianca Montgomery (Eden Rigel/Christine Bennett Lind) became firm fan favourites and central to storylines in their respective soaps.
[Written by Edward De Ritter]