Lunch Break Video: See Meredith Baxter on Oprah!
UNTIED: It was a very powerful hour of television on The Oprah Winfrey Show yesterday with guest Meredith Baxter.
The actress, out promoting her new memoir, is still very emotionally raw when talking about the abuse she says she suffered during her marriage to actor David Birney.
It was a deeply unhappy time that led to her drinking too much while playing the role of the mom on the popular sitcom Family Ties. Michael Gross, who played her husband on the show, was a surprise guest and emotionally recalled when she once broke down on the set over her desperate unhappiness after hiding it for years.
“I felt a fraud in my own life…There was an intense desire for secrecy. ‘Don’t tell anyone that this goes on in the house’…I [didn't] want anyone to know the man I’m married to treats me this way.”
Three of Meredith’s five kids were also on hand as was her partner since 2005, Nancy Locke, and former TV son Michael J. Fox appeared via video with warm and supportive words.
Baxter says she was so emotionally shut down her entire life she did not even realize she was gay until after her third divorce. She added, however, that she never felt all that thrilled about men.
“I was a very conventional girl,” she said. “I was raised in a household where my mother got married and I thought that was what you did.”
But in 2002, she realized she was a lesbian: “It didn’t scare me and I don’t know why I wasn’t confused about it. I felt alive in way I had not experienced, and life was rife with possibilities. OK, I’m ready.”
Here is the first part of the Oprah appearance: