'Guiding Light' Actress Maureen Garrett Comes Out Publicly
By Stella Cadente
Anyone who tuned into Guiding Light over the last 35 years knows the name of actress Maureen Garrett. Viewers remember her as Holly Lindsey, one of daytime’s most conflicted and complex characters, and half of the Holly/Roger power-couple that took GL by storm.
Much to her fans’ dismay, Garrett was one of daytime’s most private actresses, remaining decidedly out of the limelight. When she did grant the occasional interview, it was always related to the show. Unlike many of her former costars, she has no memoir, no fan page, and no Facebook or Twitter. Internet searches reveal little more about her than was available in print 20 years ago: She speaks German and French and enjoys swimming and yoga.
With the end of Guiding Light in 2009, the elusive actress, now 64, seemed to disappear altogether. In the 60 Minutes episode profiling Guiding Light’s cancellation (which included several interviews with GL veterans) Garrett was notably absent. It was intentional. When the GL lighthouse went dark for good, she no longer felt the desire to pursue acting. She left New York and quietly disappeared from television.
But now she's back, ready to let her fans know more about her personal life. And she’s starting by revealing her 20-year relationship with her partner, Janet Morgan (pictured second from left).
Together the couple has raised three sons who are now happy and worldly young adults. Their eldest son is living in Stockholm and working on environmental issues. Their second son is an agro-forester in Costa Rica, where he’s working on using breadfruit for poverty alleviation. Their youngest recently graduated from college and is currently leading wilderness treks in the U.S. and Canada.
Garrett and Morgan also opened their home to one of Garrett’s nieces, which the actress says gave her the opportunity to raise a "fine young woman."
As for the contrast of having a relationship with a woman while playing one of the straightest super-couples that ever graced daytime TV, Garrett simply says, “It was acting.”
Garrett admits she didn’t have a whole lot in common with Holly. While she says she shared
some traits with the character, namely “the chase” and various forms of escape, their similarities ended there.
“She wore far too much makeup,” Garrett says, noting that her friends and family were entertained by her glamorous appearance on television: she’d arrive on the GL set straight from her cabin, clad in jeans and boots, and was completely made over. The daily transformation remained temporary, of course. “At the end of the day I almost always washed off the make-up, and with it, Holly’s brand of crazy.”
So why let fans get to know details of her life now? Garrett says, quite simply, that she’s no longer concerned with what people know about her.
While Garrett’s Guiding Light costars knew of her relationship with Morgan, fans of the Holly/Roger saga never had a clue. For several reasons the actress never shared her family story publicly. The first was Garrett’s predilection for privacy. The other reason is even more obvious: when she was center stage on GL, it was simply a different time in history. In the early '90s—often considered by viewers to be the Holly/Roger heyday—very few celebrities publicly deviated from the socially prescribed norms. Ellen was on TV, but she didn’t reveal her sexuality until 1997; the result was a deluge of negative publicity that resulted in her show’s cancellation. Rosie O’Donnell’s popular talk show was on in the same years that Holly and Roger were creating storms on Guiding Light, but O’Donnell didn’t come out until 2002.