Meredith Baxter To Oprah Winfrey: 'Family Ties' Actress Felt Like 'A Fraud In My Own Life'

03/02/2011 07:22 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Family Ties actress Meredith Baxter sat down with Oprah Winfrey Wednesday to talk about the revelations about coming out as a lesbian and her "abusive" 15-year marriage to actor David Birney--both of which she details in her new memoir, Untied.

The actress, who spoke to Matt Lauer on the Today show Tuesday--the same TV show she came out on in 2009.

"Going to work [as mom Elyse Keaton on the set of Family Ties] was an oasis for me. It was a haven, because going home was so painful," she tells Winfrey.

"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."

Baxter says the abuse was mostly emotional, and included "being belittled, denigrated in front of the children, second-guessed...I had no voice for so long." (Birney denies her claims; the two split in 1989).

As to why she stayed, Baxter says it was partly because she blamed herself for Birney's behavior: "I didn't know that he had a part to play."


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