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'Family Ties' mom Meredith Baxter is a lesbian: 'It was a later-in-life recognition'

December 2, 2009 | 10:14 am


"Family Ties" mom Meredith Baxter has done an end run around those who would have outed her, revealing to the world that she's a lesbian.

Baxter This is shaping up to be private-people, public-revelations day here at the Ministry.

"I did not want some tabloid to take a story and make it up," she tells Matt Lauer on the "Today" show. "So I wanted it to be in my own words." She approaches it all with a quiet, no-big-deal manner.

The interview starts out a bit surreal (Are we post-"Ellen" yet?) but finally the nerves are banished, and she's charmingly funny at the end.

"How do you feel now that we've talked about it?" Matt asks. "I'm gonna die!" Meredith blurts. And when Lauer points out that she did indeed survive, she says, softly, "Yeah, ha, are we done? Thanks, Matt. Thanks for being the guy."

And though the interviews with "Today" and People magazine are what will blanket the nation, Meredith's chat with the Advocate, where she talks about being "America's mom" and also a gay mom is pretty rockin' too. 

Interview In her first interview with the gay media, she describes to the Advocate the moment when she realized the truth:

"The analogy I’ve used is a story [from] when I was a kid. I never could see very well .... When I was 12 I tried on a [friend’s] pair of glasses and I was stunned with how clearly I could see. In truth, I used to think trees looked like lollipops because there was a solid stake and this solid ball. I didn’t know most people could see leaves. Oh, this is how the world is perceived?

"That’s kind of what having that second relationship [with a woman] made me realize — that this is where I want to be because I was dead to the world in many other ways. I’ve been married three times, and I have a slew of children, but I’ve never felt that kind of connection before in that kind of awakening.

"It was very profound for me"

Baxter also makes the Ministry chuckle when she touches on her realization that hey, nobody was really rushing to out her until now, despite the pretty open lifestyle she has been leading here in L.A.:

Advocate: Have you been hiding in plain sight this whole time?

Baxter: Yes, I have. You know, I did reach a point where I thought, Am I invisible?

Now that sounds like an actress.

-- Christie D'Zurilla

Photos: Meredith Baxter in 2008, above right, and talking to Matt Lauer on the "Today" show on Dec. 2, 2009. Credits: Richard Drew / Associated Press, right; Peter Kramer / NBC / Associated Press, left.

More LGBT dispatches from the Ministry of Gossip:

Chaz Bono speaks out -- happily, and in a much lower voice

Adam Lambert performs 'Whataya Want From Me' on Letterman's show. World does not end.

Bea Arthur wills $300K to help homeless LGBT youth

Follow the Ministry of Gossip on Facebook and Twitter (we're @LATcelebs).

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