Having come out as a lesbian in December 2009 on Today, Meredith Baxter returned to the NBC program to make another announcement Tuesday:
She was a victim of domestic violence.
Baxter, best known as the mom on Family Ties, alleged her ex-husband and Bridget Loves Birney co-star, David Birney, abused her in their marriage.
When asked why she stayed with Birney, who denies the allegations, Baxter replied, "I didn't know I had a choice. I didn't know I could go."
She adds that Birney purposefully set his sights on her.
"He's not going to pick someone who's on top of themselves and who's confident and aggressive," she said. "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."The 63-year-old Baxter said she was able to keep this and other personal problems a secret from the stars she worked with over the years.
"You learn to compartmentalize. As soon as I got to the studio, my home life was not happening," she recalled. "I never talked about it."
"No one knew anything."
Baxter, who has three kids with Birney, said she eventually "had to change my thinking" because "I didn't want to be a victim" anymore.