Meredith Baxter, Family Ties mom, comes out on Today Show

Following pressure from gossip blogs after Meredith Baxter was spotted on a gay cruise with a woman since identified as her girlfriend, the Family Ties mom and TV movie queen has come out of the closet as a lesbian.

Baxter disclosed her sexuality on this morning’s Today Show, telling Matt Lauer that the realization had come to her later in life after three failed marriages. Baxter headed off the criticism of being closeted at the pass, saying that she’d only realized her sexual orientation in the past few years, denying she’d been living a lie. The actress also says the admission was “antithetical” to who she is but wanted the story to be heard on her own terms. According to MSNBC, Baxter has never even retained the services of a publicist.

Meredith Baxter spoke to Lauer about the difficulties she had in discovering her true sexuality, and the reasoning she had in selecting spouses with whom her relationships would later dissolve:

She explained that she deliberately chose to be with men with whom she clashed, so that she could blame them for the end of the relationship. “It never occurred to me to think, oh, [the problem is] me,” she said.

Then, seven years ago, she had a relationship with a woman and concluded that she was homosexual. Suddenly, things seemed to make sense.

“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.”