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'Family Ties' Mom Meredith Baxter Says: "I'm Gay"

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Dec. 2 2009, Published 2:59 p.m. ET

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Meredith Baxter, famous for playing the laid back mom in the '80s sitcom Family Ties, has revealed she's a lesbian, a secret she's kept from the public for many years.

The Elyse Keaton actress made the admission on the Today show this morning. "I am a lesbian and it was a later-in-life recognition," she told Matt Lauer.

"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."

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Meredith, 62, said she decided to come out on network television over speculation about her sexuality.

"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."

A taboid reported that Meredith was spotted in November aboard a Caribbean cruise sponsored by lesbian travel company, reports RadarOnline.com.

She admitted that she took the vacation with her girlfriend, despite the possibility that the couple would be outed.

"I don't want to be worried all the time," she said. "I knew I was pushing it."

Meredith's admission may be surprising to her fans who have watched her marry and divorce three times.

She wed Robert Lewis Bush in 1966 only to divorce five years later. In 1974 she married her second husband David Birney. The pair starred in a TV show called Bridget Loves Birney, before divorcing in 1989.

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Meredith then married her third husband, Michael Blodgett, in 1995, and they divorced in 2000.

She explained that she deliberately chose to be with men with whom she clashed, so that she could blame them for the end of the relationship. "It never occurred to me to think, oh, the problem is me," she said.

Everything changed seven years ago, however, when she entered into a relationship with a woman.

"I got involved with someone I never expected to get involved with, and it was that kind of awakening," she said.

"I never fought it because it was like, oh, I understand why I had the issues I had early in life. I had a great deal of difficulty connecting with men in relationships."

Meredith is in a four-year relationship with and her contractor girlfriend, Nancy.

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