Meredith Baxter has revealed that her breasts caused her stress in her early career.
In a new interview, Baxter, best known for her role as matriarch Elyse Keaton in the 1980s TV sitcom Family Ties, revealed that her “enormous” breasts were “the plague” of her life when she first set out to make a career for herself as a working actress. The 73-year-old added that television executives would stare at her chest and make lewd comments about her buxom body when she met with them.
“People go, ‘Oh to have someone wanting you, lusting after you,'” the Emmy-nominated star told Page Six.
“That’s not lust, that’s aggression. ‘Let me take your power away by turning you into a sexual object.’ You can’t even open your mouth then.”
Baxter later had a breast reduction after being diagnosed with breast cancer in the late 1990s.
Despite her issues with inappropriate executives back in the day, Baxter has a long and impressive acting resume. Her early career kicked off with her breakthrough role in the 1972 sitcom Bridget Loves Bernie, where she co-starred with her real-life future husband David Birney. After logging guest parts on a variety of popular shows of the era, she later played Nancy Lawrence on the ABC drama Family before landing her long-running role on Family Ties in 1982.
Baxter has admitted that she had an edge in the business. Her mother was actress Whitney Blake (Hazel) and her stepfather was sitcom writer and producer Allan Manings (One Day at a Time). In a previous interview with The Post-Gazette, Baxter said she may have had it “easier” because her stepfather sent her out on jobs and called in favors.
But she noted that her good looks also helped her get her foot in the door once she no longer had her stepdad’s help.
“I was blond and I was cute and I had big breasts. I think that was all that was required,” she said.
Baxter’s buxom physique came into play during a crucial point in one of her four marriages as well. The actress once revealed that she told almost no one about her cancer battle in 1998, then added that her then-husband, Michale Blodgett, allegedly offered her little support and instead focused on how her cancer treatment might affect him.
“I was married to someone who said… he didn’t want to lose my breasts,” she told The Missoulian.
“That made things very clear for me. But I’m not my breasts.”