For seven years, actress Meredith Baxter has been hiding a secret.
Now Baxter, who played the devoted hippie mom constantly butting heads with her conservative kids on “Family Ties,” is making a public admission.
“I am a lesbian and it was a later-in-life recognition,” she told Matt Lauer on the TODAY show.
“Some people would say, well, you’re living a lie and, you know, the truth is — not at all. This has only been for the past seven years.”
Baxter, 62, though anxious, decided to come out on national television after her sexuality became tabloid fodder.
“I’ve always lived a very private life,” said the actress, who’s never even had a publicist. “To come out and disclose stuff is very antithetical to who I am.”
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Baxter says that her relationship with men was complicated, and it took her decades to understand why.
She says she has been with her current girlfriend, Nancy Locke, a contractor she met through mutual friends, for the past four years. Because Locke is openly lesbian, their relationship has not been kept a closely guarded secret.
Now that she is coming out, she also sees herself as an advocate for gay rights.
“This is a political act, even though that’s not what it feels like to me,” she said. “If anyone knows someone who’s gay or lesbian … they’re less likely to vote against them to take away their rights. I can be that lesbian you know now …”