Kristy McNichol has thanked fans for their support since she 'came out' as a lesbian, insisting, "I'm overwhelmed with the love."
The retired actress made a return to the spotlight earlier this month to announce she's been living with her partner Martie Allen for two decades.
The former Empty Nest star admits she decided to 'come out' to help bullied teens feel more comfortable with their sexuality, but she's been stunned by the positive response.
She tells People.com, "I'm overwhelmed with the love and support of my family, friends and fans."
Her publicist Jeff Ballard adds, "Kristy feels strongly about fighting bullying and intolerance. She realizes that kids don't always have the coping skills to manage their fear and pain when they feel 'different'. And in her own way, she wants to help others by telling people who she is. She hopes that all these small steps together can make a difference."