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Meredith Baxter comes out

Posted by Matthew Gilbert  December 2, 2009 01:01 PM

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"I am a lesbian and it was a later-in-life recognition," Meredith Baxter told Matt Lauer this morning on "Today." “Some people would say, well, you’re living a lie and, you know, the truth is — [but] not at all. This has only been for the past seven years.”

Recently, the tabloid media has been hinting at Baxter's orientation, with Perez Hilton posting photos of Baxter with her girlfriend, contractor Nancy Locke. Probably best known for playing the liberal mother of Michael J. Fox's young Republican on "Family Ties," Baxter told Lauer, "I don't want to be worried all the time." Locke, she said, is openly gay: “I had to reach a level of comfort because it wasn’t fair to push her back into secrecy.”

Baxter, 62, has been married three times, and she told Lauer she was consistently drawn to men with whom she clashed. “It never occurred to me to think, oh, [the problem is] me,” she said. Then, seven years ago, she met a woman. “I got involved with someone I never expected to get involved with, and it was that kind of awakening,” she said. The mother of five, Baxter recalled telling her kids. “I said, ‘I think I’m gay,’ and my oldest boy said, ‘I knew.'"

"The support from my family and anyone close to me has been so immediate and unqualified. I’ve really been blessed.” Baxter goes into much more detail about her process -- including a lesbian affair 13 years ago, before her third marriage to a man -- in a long Advocate interview that was posted today. For those who are interested, here's the link.

I think we can assume Baxter will get a lot more attention now than she had been getting in recent years. And most of it will be positive. Now what's this?! Coming out as a career move?!

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