'Family Ties' actress to reveal she's lesbian, source says
December 2, 2009
BY BILL ZWECKER Sun-Times Columnist
It's just a coincidence Meredith Baxter recently appeared in the Hallmark Channel's ''Bound By a Secret,'' but ironically the actress revealed a very personal secret on ''Today'' this morning.
Baxter, perhaps best known for her seven years playing TV mom Elyse Keaton on ''Family Ties'' in the 1980s, will be the latest star to come out of the closet, revealing she is a lesbian.
Meredith Baxter took a Caribbean cruise catered to lesbians, according to the National Enquirer.
Baxter's TV career
While Baxter's spokesman, Howard Bragman, declined to comment on the story Tuesday, a solid source confirmed the actress will talk about her decision to go public on the NBC morning show.
Married three times and the mother of five children, Baxter is the focus of a current National Enquirer story revealing that the former Emmy nominee had been on a ''Sweet Caribbean Cruise'' specifically targeted to lesbians -- a cruise also taken by openly gay actress Kelly McGillis. According to the Enquirer report, Baxter was ''traveling with a female friend, and seemed very relaxed and comfortable.''
In another intriguing twist, the official Web site of the Meredith Baxter Fan Club states the actress is ''noted for her accessible portrayals of intelligent, independent women who struggle with the challenges before them.''
• Following in the footsteps of her aunt, ''All About Eve'' star Anne Baxter, Meredith first found fame in the 1970s, co-starring on TV's "Bridget Loves Bernie" with David Birney, who would later become her second husband. She went on to receive two Emmy nominations for playing Nancy Lawrence Maitland on the esteemed TV drama ''Family.''
After her long '80s run with ''Family Ties,'' Baxter directed and starred in a long list of TV movies, including the CBS after-school special ''Other Mothers,'' in which she played a lesbian mother raising a young son -- a performance that garnered a Daytime Emmy nomination in 1993.
• The appearance on ''Today'' is something of a mini-reunion for Baxter, who temporarily co-hosted with Matt Lauer in 2006.
• Baxter's five-year marriage to Robert Lewis Bush ended in 1971, a union that produced two children. The actress and Birney are the parents of three children. After 15 years of marriage, the couple divorced in 1989.