What would Alex Keaton say? Meredith Baxter, famous for her role as Elyse Keaton on “Family Ties,” has come out of the closet and declared that she is a lesbian.
The TV mom told Matt Lauer on the Today Show: “I am a lesbian and it was a later-in-life recognition. 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.”
She is a very private person and apparently wasn’t planning on disclosing this personal part of her life. But that pesky National Enquirer caught wind that Baxter was spotted on a lesbian cruise last month. Then Perez Hilton posted photos of Baxter and her girlfriend, the proof was out there so Baxter opted to go public.
“I did not want some tabloid to take the story and make it up — I wanted it to be in my own words,” she told Matt Lauer.
She has been with her current girlfriend for the past four years and they live “out” in Los Angeles. Baxter said that both her on-screen family and her real life family – including her five children – have known about her sexuality but originally she said she was nervous to tell her kids.
“I said, ‘I think I’m gay,’ and my oldest boy said, ‘I knew,’ ” Baxter said. “The support from my family and anyone close to me has been so immediate and unqualified. I’ve really been blessed.”
Now that she has gone public she 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 …”