Meredith Baxter Joins Other Stars Who Came Out Later in Life
On Wednesday, 'Family Ties' mom Meredith Baxter dropped a bomb on the TV world when she announced that she now identifies herself as a lesbian. This may have come as a surprise to fans since she's been married three times and has five kids. Her announcement was an attempt to preempt a tabloid report revealing her relationship with building contractor Nancy Locke. But Baxter joins other celebrities who came out relatively late in life. PopEater decided to take a look at some more memorable surprises.
The comedian had been tossing off rumors for years, and her questionable roles as the lead in romantic comedies always seemed a little suspect. So, DeGeneres stuck her neck out in 1997 on behalf of all gay and lesbian public figures in one of TV's momentous occasions, an all-star tongue-in-cheek "coming out" episode that featured Oprah Winfrey as her shrink, Laura Dern as her love interest, and cameos from K.D. Lang, Demi Moore, Gina Gershon, and Melissa Etheridge. Of course, after Ellen came out, she stepped out with her first high-profile romantic partner, Anne Heche, who had not previously identified herself as gay. Their whirlwind romance ended when Heche left her for a man. After that, Ellen took up with Portia De Rossi -- another high-profile actress who came out in her thirties -- who she later married.
Cynthia NIxon's character on 'Sex and The City,' Miranda, was always the tough, no-nonsense girl on the show. Indeed, the writers picked up on her butch qualities and even wrote an episode where Miranda was mistaken as a lesbian by her boss at the law firm, and she faked it to help her make partner, but decided she wasn't really a lesbian. In real life, it turned out exactly the opposite; she had been married with two kids for 15 years, when she met Christine Marinoni and fell in love at the age of 38, causing a scandalous tabloid to-do.
Back in the 60s and 70s, during the heyday of 'Star Trek,' stars didn't come out. George Takei's place as an Asian character on a major television show had already put him in the annals of TV history; later he made history for another reason, when he come out to Frontiers magazine in 2005 when he was 68. But Takei told Frontiers, that after being essentially open with his life and in a relationship for 18 year years, "It's not really coming out, which suggests opening a door and stepping through. It's more like a long, long walk through what began as a narrow corridor that starts to widen."
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Rosie was one of those celebs who lived in a so-called "glass closet" for the duration of her career. It was an open secret in Hollywood and the gossip mags, but the issue was never directly addressed (or deflected for that matter). After her colleague Ellen paved a path for her, Rosie made it official in 2002 when she was 40. In 2004, she married Kelli Carpenter in San Francisco. They have three adopted children and one born to Carpenter. However, O'Donnell recently disclosed that the pair had split up.
Best remembered for her September-May romance in 'Top Gun' with Tom Cruise, McGillis was married twice, and had two children before she came out in April 2009 ... at 51. Like Rosie, after her marriages, McGillis had been the subject of rumors in the showbiz world, and had even toyed with the idea of playing a closeted Army colonel on the 'L Word' before telling the truth.
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