Joy Behar talks with Meredith Baxter about her book "Untied".
Family Ties star Michael Gross was relieved when his TV wife 'came out' as a lesbian in 2009 - because he was tired of keeping his pal's sexuality a secret.
Meredith Baxter shocked fans when she revealed all about her sexuality on a TV news show - but Gross already knew the truth.
Joining the actress for a candid Oprah Winfrey Show special, which aired in America on Wednesday (02Mar11), he said, "My wife and I said, 'Thank God we don't have to keep that secret anymore' - because I'm not that good at keeping secrets.
"I hated having to lie when people would say, 'Do you think Meredith will get married again...? Is she dating anybody?'
"I think it was healthier for everybody."
The three-times-married Baxter used her Oprah show appearance to reveal all about her sexual awakening, which came after her judgemental mother died and her youngest kids had left home.
She said, "I was no longer directly responsible for two little children and it was at that time in my life that a young woman, who was a lesbian, had rented out the garage behind my house... and I just started to notice where she was all the time.
"We started spending time together, going on walks and to the movies and things."
The young tenant, Paula, who was 25 years younger than the actress, became the TV star's life partner.
Baxter told Winfrey she'd never had strong feelings about women before.
She added, "I've had crushes on girls... in school, but that's not out of the ordinary. I was a very conventional girl... I was the most shut down person you would ever be around. I was totally self-obsessed, no self-awareness."