'Family Ties' star Meredith Baxter (known in her heyday as Meredith Baxter-Birney) visited Oprah Winfrey's show this week to plug her new memoir and talk about coming out of the closet. The actress, 63, publicly confirmed she was gay in 2009.

In 'Untied,' which went on sale March 1, Baxter opens up about another surprising side of her private life, writing that she suffered physical and psychological abuse at the hands of actor David Birney during their 1974-'89 marriage. The two first met as co-stars on TV's 'Bridget Loves Bernie.'

"It was so sudden and unexpected, I couldn't tell you which hand hit me, or even how hard," she writes in her new book. "I do recall thinking, 'I'd better not get up because he's going to hit me again."

In reaction, Birney, 71, is vehemently denying his ex-wife's allegations, calling her book "an appalling abuse of the truth."