It’s easy to think that if you ask the average person under 40 today about Kristy McNichol they might look at you funny and say “who?”, since she was a big teen star back in the 70s and into the 80s. The life she lived back then was pretty big and glamorous in many ways but it was also strenuous since being a kid and being a big star don’t always mesh as well with each other as people might think. The idea that everything’s great to be young and rich and popular is something that many people take for granted when they don’t see the stress and expectations that are foisted upon these actors. Even now being a child in show business carries a lot of stress with it, but people are at least trying to let the kids be kids in many ways as they continue to grow and develop throughout their careers. Some people don’t stick with it after childhood while others go on to make great careers for themselves as they take breaks now and again to keep themselves sane and to make sure that they don’t miss out on being young and as carefree as they can be. Kristy had her time in the sun and made a hefty amount of money, she pulled in a six-figure income when she was still a teenager and attained a $7 million dollar net worth, so it’s fair to state that she was a success.
She also went on to win several awards and gain a good number of nominations in her time, so stating that she’s a has-been isn’t accurate at all, as she was tearing it up before a lot of those that think they’re so great were even born or could do more than drool and crawl across the floor. But after a while the stress did kind of get to her and she did get tired of hiding her sexuality so in 1998 she retired from show business and in 2012 she came out to the public about being a lesbian and admitted that she’d been living with her partner for years at that point. Given the social landscape of only seven years ago it’s easy to think that she was far more accepted for this than she might have been back when she was still a younger woman, as the attitudes towards such thing weren’t as accepting as they can be now. Some might argue with this of course but the idea of a man or a woman preferring a same-sex relationship is much more acceptable now than it’s ever been in the history of the US.
Apart from that however her retirement has allowed Kristy to be herself and to slow down with life thankfully as she did come out of retirement for a short while but went back after her last project in 2012 and has been engaged in various social projects ever since. She did teach at a private school for a while, instructing students on acting as you might have guessed, but otherwise her life has been pretty quiet for the last seven years and she’s been under the radar for a good long while. One could definitely say that she’s earned her respite from the spotlight at this time since she was a teen sensation in her day and she did turn a lot of heads decades ago when she was at the height of her career.
But the pressure and the stress did get to her after a while and it’s not hard to think about how she must have been wanting to step away from it for a time, especially when it came to living her life the way she wanted. How she kept her private life a secret for so long isn’t too hard to figure since once a star begins to drop off the map people don’t tend to follow them that much and only become interested again when something is seen to happen that is shocking or extremely impressive. In a way it almost feels tragic that a person who makes so many people happy can just disappear from the headlines, but it’s also likely that it might be a boon as well since being popular day in and day out and having expectations laid on your shoulders so readily does tend to grind on some people.
At this point in her life Kristy looks and sounds rather happy with what she’s accomplished and what she’s been through. The fact that she’s living a quieter life at this time is kind of nice since it means she got out when she wanted to and didn’t stick around to watch her legacy be trashed and dragged along the ground as is happening to too many actors these days. Some might offer a different opinion, but she did this on her terms, and that’s always nice to see.