Amanda Bearse was one of the first prime-time celebrities to come out of the closet. She came out as a lesbian even before Ellen.

However, she disappeared into relative obscurity after a few years in Hollywood. Married... with Children was her launching pad, but that also ended up becoming her most-known work.

After going into a semi-hiatus, she also kept her personal life with her partner a secret.

When Did Amanda Bearse Come Out?

Bearse was never shy of her sexuality and never hid it from anyone close to her. She had been keeping her personal life going alongside her acting career right out of college.

Her first same-sex relationship of public knowledge was with bisexual actress and comic Sandra Bernhard.

This was in 1991, a few years before she officially outed herself as a lesbian.

Amanda Bearse lives with her partner Carrie Schenken and their two children.

Amanda Bearse lives with her partner Carrie Schenken and their two children. (Photo: Twitter)

But, the relationship's details reached the tabloids, and they began writing about her sexual orientation.

She did not mind being talked about for that, but the gossip made her think about coming out on her own terms.

Bearse had been a cast member of Married ... with Children since 1987. Everyone on the set knew she was a lesbian and they were supportive of her.

As 1993 approached, she had started about coming out on her own terms.

So, On September 21, 1993 — right before National Coming Out Day on October 11 — she gave an interview to the Advocate officially revealing herself as a lesbian.

She had taken a colossal risk with her decision to come out. It would be years before any other mainstream celebrity would come out like this — Ellen DeGeneres in 1997.

However, she considered herself to be lucky.

"I've been very fortunate. I'm supported by the people I work with. I'm on a hit show. I just renegotiated my contract: It was completely up, and this was a time when they could have easily cut me loose," she said in the Advocate interview.

"Fortunately I'm valued there as a person, as an actor, and as a director. Being lesbian is a nonissue on the show," she continued about her position.

Amanda Bearse’s Life with Partner and Children

It was not just Bearse's wish to be seen for what she was that motivated her to come out. Her personal life, too, had a big role in it.

Earlier the year she came out, she had adopted a little girl named Zoe with her then partner Amy Shomer.

After this, she was not just a show business personality but also a mother. This added responsibility gave her more reasons to open up about her personal life and sexuality.

"I decided that this was too sacred an event in my life, being given the gift to raise this child, so that’s why I made the choice to do it then," Bearse said about her coming-out time.

But, as the end of Married ... with Children's end approached, near came the end of her acting career, mostly. After it ended, Bearse vanished into relative anonymity, only focusing on behind the camera work.

She has done steady work in movies, TV, and theater, often directing projects rather than being in them. And she also started a family a while later.

In 2010, she married her partner, Seattle businesswoman Carrie Schenken, in Vermont, although details of their wedding are hard to come by. Schenken, too, prefers avoiding the limelight, so not much is known about her.

They and their children split their time between Atlanta and Seattle, where Schenken lived with her daughter from her previous relationship with her partner.

After becoming a parent, Bearse started talking openly about gay parenting issues and gay rights.

She has also contributed her time and effort towards queer visibility and making National Coming Out Day a bigger thing.