exclusive penny marshall gay lover revealed
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IN a gay bombshell, a source says former “Laverne & Shirley” star Penny Marshall plans to come out of the clos­et and declare she’s a lesbian!

What’s more, the beloved 70-year-old actress-turned-director will be supported in her announcement by her longtime girlfriend – actress Carrie Fisher, 57, of “Star Wars” fame, the source adds.

Penny apparently made the decision to reveal her sexu­ality when she got the news that she’d beaten cancer after a courageous life-or-death battle that lasted four long years.

“Penny says that with her medical problems finally be­hind her, she’s going to live life to the fullest, and she doesn’t give a rat’s a** if people have a problem with it,” a family in­sider told The ENQUIRER.

As a result, twice-divorced Marshall – who has a daugh­ter, Tracy, 39, by her first husband, Mike Henry – is ready to announce her rela­tionship with Carrie, said the source.

“Penny and Carrie have been close friends for a long time,” noted the source. “There have been rumors in the gay community that they were a lesbian couple, but they never confirmed or denied it.

“Penny now wants to live the rest of her life without hiding anything. She’s going to come out of the closet.

“Carrie is thrilled, and she’s supporting Penny completely.”

As The ENQUIRER was first to report in November 2009, Penny’s health woes began when the legendary funnylady fell ill after flying to New York to watch her beloved Yankees in the Major League Baseball playoffs. Doctors discovered a brain tumor and removed it during life-threatening surgery in October 2009. Tragically, a week later, the “Big” director was diagnosed with liver cancer.

“At the time, Penny’s prog­nosis looked really grim,” said the family insider. “She was actually getting her affairs inorder because she didn’t think she’d live another year.” After months of grueling radiation and chemotherapy treatments, Penny went into remis­sion, as we reported in January 2011.

Miraculously, by the time she turned 70 this past October, Penny’s doctors announced she was cancer-free!

And that’s inspired Penny – who was once married to actor/director Rob Reiner – to proclaim her love for Carrie, who was married in the early ’80s to singer/songwriter Paul Simon and has a 21-year-old daughter with high-powered Hollywood agent Bryan Lourd. The daughter of Hollywood legends Debbie Reynolds and the late Eddie Fisher, Carrie has battled drugs and manic depression. Although she previously admitted trying lesbian sex, she denied that she is gay.

“Penny and Carrie love one another and are very happy together,” added the source. “They plan to in­troduce themselves as a couple in a romantic comedy, and they promise it’s going to be just as outrageous as they are!”