Former Family Ties actress MEREDITH BAXTER has 'come out' as gay after living as a lesbian for the past seven years.
The veteran TV star, 62, has been married three times, including a failed union to actor David Birney - but Baxter confesses she's found love with another woman, building contractor Nancy Locke.
The couple has been dating for four years and has been living together since 2007.
Rumours of her sexuality first surfaced last month (Nov09) when Baxter was snapped on a gay cruise holiday in the Caribbean.
The mother-of-five is relieved to finally share her secret life with her fans, claiming she was never comfortable as a married woman.
She tells People magazine, "I had been so profoundly unhappy, and I never knew that was why. I'm happy for the first time in my life."
Baxter was relieved to find her kids, now all grown up, supported her choice to become a lesbian, but admits she delayed announcing her sexuality to the world because she feared she would lose out on acting work after years portraying supermum Elyse Keaton on the hit 1980s show.
She says, "I reluctantly held this position as America's mum for seven years... You don't know what kind of information is going to go into the decision to cast or not to cast you. It's hard enough to get a job. Why make it harder?"
But Baxter has no plans to wed Locke because her previous failed marriages has left her wary of exchanging vows again: "It has nothing to do with Nancy or how much I love her. Being a wife was not a great experience for me."