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Old 03-01-2011, 03:48 PM   #1
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Exclamation Meredith Baxter Reveals Abusive Marriage to Former Costar

Meredith Baxter is 2-2 when it comes to Today show appearances and massive personal revelations.

Last time she sat down with Matt Lauer, she revealed she was a lesbian. This time? She shared her battle with being in an allegedly abusive marriage with former costar David Birney.

The 63-year-old former Family Ties star was married to Birney, her Bridget Loves Birney costar and father of three of her children, for 15 years, ending in divorce in 1989. But she revealed on the Today show this morning, and indeed in her new memoir Untied, that their marriage was one of emotional and physical abuse.

The 71-year-old Birney, Lauer noted during the interview, denies all the allegations.

"What I got out of it eventually was I had to change my thinking," Baxter said. "I had to look, if I did not want to be a victimóand I'd been committed to being a victim for a long time because it felt really warm and comfortable and familiaróbut it was a disastrous position to be in. So I had to change my thinking. I had to look at, what was my part? What was in my thinking that told me it was okay to be in this relationship?"

The question, as always, is why would she stay in a 17-year relationship (they were together for two years before swapping vows) if it was abusive?

"That's what everyone would want to know," she said. "I didn't know I had a choice. I didn't know I could go."

"It wasn't an accident that we were together," the actress added. "He's not going to pick someone who's on top of themselves and confident and aggressive, no, he needs to pick someone for him to be who he needed to be, it needed to be someone who was mousy and quiet and retiring, and that's what I was."

Her work helped a bit, providing relief, but Baxter said she didn't open up to her famous costars about her plight.

"You learn to compartmentalize. When I got to the studio, my home life was not happening. Nobody knew anything. I didn't have a social life. I did my work, I went home."

Still, Baxter has now put the past behind her, while taking care to be informed by her past mistakes.

"I was so un-self-examined as a child. I was always trying to keep my head above water. I had no sense of who I was, I was just trying to save my life on a daily basis," she said, going on to explain that her head-in-the-sand style of living was responsible for her remaining closeted (albeit unbeknownst to her) for so many years.

"People say, 'You had to have known know you were gay.' I realized, I was so un-self-examined, I could have been a Republican, but no, I'm just gay. That's much better, don't you think?"

Read more: http://www.eonline.com/uberblog/b228...#ixzz1FNZDoqt5
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Old 03-01-2011, 04:07 PM   #2
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I'm just glad she got herself out of there and she has learned to be happy with who she is.
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Old 03-01-2011, 08:47 PM   #3
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I wonder if she felt pressured to share this. Perhaps a tabloid got wind of it like when she came out.

Picture of Meredith's family (1980's).
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Old 03-01-2011, 09:58 PM   #4
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Ehh, I hope it isn't true but there's no reason for her to lie. I remember watching Bridget Loves Bernie way back when; they seemed like a great couple but then again that's TV and really bears no relation to reality.

Kind of wish she hadn't thrown in the unnecessary political jab at the end. Again, lifetime Dem here but tired, oh so tired of the hatred.
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Old 03-01-2011, 10:38 PM   #5
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Such a shame. I remember that the end of their marriage coincided with the end of Family Ties in 1989, and that the divorce was not amicable, but I never thought that abuse had played a part (if it is indeed true - but who knows? Her star went on the rise in the 80s with Family Ties while his career seemed stagnant. Maybe he DID let out anger on her, who knows?). Here are some photos of them in happier days, as well as a 1985 joint interview.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vv7U8yxX6EU
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Old 03-01-2011, 10:46 PM   #6
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Yeah honestly he never did much beyond BLB. I remember him showing up on some Love Boat and Fantasy Island episodes, but I can't even remember if he ever had a regular series again. And just as an aside, I always used to get him confused with Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea's David Hedison!

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Old 03-01-2011, 11:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retro4Life
Yeah honestly he never did much beyond BLB. I remember him showing up on some Love Boat and Fantasy Island episodes, but I can't even remember if he ever had a regular series again. And just as an aside, I always used to get him confused with Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea's David Hedison!

He was on St. Elsewhere during the first season but he left with no explanation of what happened to his character. He also had a starring role on the short lived NBC series Serpico in the 1970's which was based on the Al Pacino movie.
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Old 03-01-2011, 11:09 PM   #8
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He was on a Deep Space Nine episode, which I've included here. He's done guest spots and plays, but nothing really major.
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Old 03-01-2011, 11:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retro4Life
Yeah honestly he never did much beyond BLB. I remember him showing up on some Love Boat and Fantasy Island episodes, but I can't even remember if he ever had a regular series again. And just as an aside, I always used to get him confused with Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea's David Hedison!

David Birney was a regular for one season of St. Elsewhere (1982-83). He was also a regular on a short lived series called Live Shot in 1995.
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Old 03-01-2011, 11:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stuck In The '70's
He was on St. Elsewhere during the first season but he left with no explanation of what happened to his character. He also had a starring role on the short lived NBC series Serpico in the 1970's which was based on the Al Pacino movie.
That's too bad. He was an appealing leading man, if I recall correctly. (hitting myself for not recalling his DS9 appearance, too; that's one of my favorite sci fi shows!)
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Old 03-02-2011, 04:13 AM   #11
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In DS9, he actually looks quite like Leonard Nimoy!!
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Old 03-02-2011, 07:03 AM   #12
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I think this lady is a bit of a nutcase.

She's now a lesbian after being married to three men with five children? Either this person was in denial about her sexuality or this is a great example of sexual choice. Maybe she's a bisexual who is now trying her gay side in her senior years. Who knows. Maybe she could of married Michael Gross since he already had a beard and knew how a beard should act.

Her divorce from Birney happened in 1989. If he was a wife hitting jerkwad, she could of made that known then. Maybe it was. But after 21 years, and her being married to yet another man, she should not call him names without some proof.

I would hate to be her child, jumping from husband to husband before deciding that she was a homosexual. Gay is now so in vogue that she probably said she was one to get publicity, because no one really cared about her anymore, at least in the business. I never understood her success in the first place, she wasn't pretty at all and had a man's voice.
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Old 03-02-2011, 06:19 PM   #13
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I'm dumbfounded by what she claims, as far as not knowing she could have gotten out of the marriage. Her own mother was a successful actress -- she must have been familiar with the many Hollywood divorces over the earlier decades...! And we know she was intelligent, yet now she claims she couldn't see that option? Pretty strange.
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Old 03-02-2011, 06:24 PM   #14
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I'd love it if David Birney came on some show to give his side of the story. I don't know if the story is true or not (I hope MB wouldn't make it up just to sell her book - after all, he still is the father of three of her five kids.) - but I still think it's only fair that both sides of the story are told.
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Old 03-02-2011, 06:39 PM   #15
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The problem is that we really don't know these people. We think we do because we've invited them into our homes for years but we don't know what they're really like. I've always Liked Meredith. I've been a fan of hers since she starred on Family. She was very instrumental in the success of Family Ties, one of my favorite sitcoms of all time. I've also always Liked David Birney. I thought they had a great marriage, I guess I was wrong. I do agree that it's unfair to come out with this after all these many years after the divorce with no proof. I don't see what's to gain by it all. If she has proof, then she should show it. She does come off as a very mixed up individual.
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