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Meredith Baxter, best known for her role as Elyse Keaton on the ‘80s sitcom “Family Ties,” revealed Wednesday night that she used to drink at least a tumbler full of wine driving home from the studio every day because of her unhappy marriage.
“I would drink all the way home from the Family Ties studio,” Baxter said at the Barnes & Noble in Union Square. “I didn’t stop drinking until the marriage [to actor David Birney] was over. Drinking had started to serve a purpose for me because I was so unhappy and had no place to put it.”
In her new book, “Untied: A Memoir of Family, Fame, and Floundering,” Baxter discusses her family life, battles with alcoholism and breast cancer, as well as coming out as a lesbian on the “Today” show in 2009.
“I knew that it was with a woman that I would find myself,” Baxter said. “I felt a safety and a music in a way that I hadn’t before.”
Baxter was married three times before coming out and meeting her current partner, Nancy Locke, and compares discovering her true sexual orientation to finding the right religion.
“I can only relate it to people who have been looking for a kind of religion in their life,” Baxter said. “They try out Presbyterianism and then they check out the Methodists and they go to a couple temples and they listen to a few rabbis and then they find Buddhism and they say, ‘Okay, I like their tenets here … and this is where I want to be.’ That’s pretty much how it was for me.”
When asked how it compared to beating breast cancer, Baxter said there was no contest.
“Breast cancer was a piece of cake,” Baxter said. “I never really was present for the breast cancer because other stuff was going on, but coming out was more important. It was a choice.”