Meredith Baxter has given an interview to the Advocate coming out as a lesbian, followed by an appearance on Wednesday's "Today" show (scroll down for full video). Baxter has been married three times and has five grown kids, but the sitcom mom says she came out to herself and family about seven years ago. Baxter, 62, has been dating Nancy Locke, a 54-year-old contractor, for four years. She is also an alcoholic, and she's been sober for 19 years.
Recently the National Enquirer reported she was on a lesbian cruise.
A few choice questions from the Advocate, scroll down for "Today" quotes:
When did you realize you were gay?
Thirteen years ago I had a short-term affair with somebody -- a woman -- who I just cared for tremendously as a person, [I] was not really attracted to her, but the best way to describe it, [a romance] seemed like the next natural step in our relationship just because I cared about her a lot. Not once -- it's probably hard to imagine -- but not once did it occur to me that I was a lesbian. Not once. I just thought, OK, I don't think so, and went off and got married again for a short period of time. And a couple years after that, I entered my next foray into being with a woman, and the penny dropped at that point...
In your personal life with the people you've told, has it been a cakewalk?
Maybe a cakewalk on their side. It was absolute fucking agony for me, only in the respect that I was so fearful.
Fearful of what?
Fearful of reaction, of judgment, of whatever I was sure was going to come....
When Prop. 8 was happening, did you consider coming out then?
No, no, that would have seemed opportunistic. I didn't see the point in that. I may be wrong, but that's where I was at that point. It was certainly just heartbreaking to see that go down -- I didn't expect that at all. I really thought we were going to be OK.
Meanwhile, on "Today," Baxter told Matt Lauer "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 went on, "I've always lived a very private life. To come out and disclose stuff is very antithetical to who I am."WATCH: