Meredith Baxter has been hiding a seven-year secret.
The actress, who is most recognized as Elyse Keaton, the free-spirited mom on the hit ‘80s sitcom "Family Ties," has revealed she is a lesbian.
"I am a lesbian, and it was a later-in-life recognition," Baxter told Matt Lauer on "Today." "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."
Having been in three failed marriages to men, Baxter explained she intentionally chose to be with male partners with whom she clashed as a reason to place blame for the end of the relationship.
It wasn't until the actress, 62, began a relationship with a woman seven years ago that she realized she was gay.
"I got involved with someone I never expected to get involved with, and it was that kind of awakening," she said. "I never fought it because it was like, oh, I understand why I had the issues I had early in life. I had a great deal of difficulty connecting with men in relationships."
Baxter is currently in a four-year relationship with Nancy Locke, a building contractor whom she met through mutual friends.
Because Locke is openly gay, Baxter said she had to reach a level of comfort so that her partner wouldn't be pushed "back into secrecy," adding that they "live very out lives in Los Angeles."
Though Baxter wasn't hiding her relationship, her sexuality became tabloid talk when the National Enquirer reported that she and a female friend appeared "very relaxed and comfortable" aboard a Caribbean cruise sponsored by lesbian travel company Sweet last month.
Celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, known for bullying stars to out themselves, posted photos on Tuesday of Baxter looking cozy with Locke.
To avoid public scrutiny, Baxter decided to share her story on national television.
"I feel like I'm being honest for the first time."