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Baxter, Meredith (b. 1947)  
 
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Baxter won another Emmy nomination for the CBS television movie A Woman Scorned: The Betty Broderick Story (1989), in which she played a woman who had murdered her ex-husband and his younger and prettier new wife. The film was based on an actual case. Baxter also starred in a sequel, Her Final Fury: Betty Broderick, The Last Chapter (1992), about Broderick's second trial—the first having ended in a hung jury—and eventual sentence to an extensive term in prison.

In 1993 Baxter starred in the CBS Schoolbreak Special program Other Mothers, playing one of the lesbian parents of a teen-age son.

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"This has to be considered bold programming," wrote Matt Roush of USA Today, "for even daring to tackle the subject at a time when a Virginia judge can separate a child from his biological mother for the sole reason of her lesbianism." He further declared it "especially canny to cast Baxter" as one of the lesbian mothers since she was so firmly identified in viewers' minds with the ideal American mother, Elyse Keaton.

In 1993 Baxter also had her first love affair with a woman, although, as she told Blaine Zuckerman of People Weekly, "no lights went off for me" regarding her sexual identity, and the romance was brief.

In a 1994 television movie, My Breast, Baxter played a survivor of breast cancer, and some five years later she became one herself. Thanks to early detection she was successfully treated. Soon thereafter, she founded a company making skincare products, Meredith Baxter Simple Works, a portion of the profits from which she donates to breast cancer research.

Baxter married for the third time in 1995, but her union with screenwriter Michael Blodgett ended in divorce in 2000.

Some two years later, Baxter began a significant relationship with a woman and at last came to terms with her lesbianism. In the interview with Zuckerman she compared the moment of recognition to the first time that she put on eyeglasses: "I almost started to cry. . . . I just didn't know that that was the way things looked."

Baxter came out to her family and friends, who were all supportive. Among those she told was her mother's widower, screenwriter Allan Manings, who, when she revealed that she was "dating women," merely replied, "Huh. So am I."

After his death in 2010 Baxter discovered that he had obtained an online ministry certificate in hopes that he might some day serve as the officiant at her wedding.

In 2005 Baxter entered into a committed relationship with Nancy Locke, a building contractor, whom she introduced not only to her own family but also to some people in the entertainment industry, notably the cast members from Family Ties, who held a reunion dinner in 2008. All of them responded favorably, but Baxter remained reluctant to acknowledge her lesbianism publicly, fearful that it might cost her opportunities to work.

In April 2009 Baxter and Locke attended the Dinah Shore women's golf tournament, an annual event that attracts massive numbers of lesbian fans. Baxter told Tracy E. Gilchrist of The Advocate that friends helped them "slide in" essentially unnoticed because her "goal was to stay under the radar" since she "wasn't prepared for anything at the time."

Later that year the couple took a Caribbean cruise on the lesbian-centered Sweet line. Baxter was moved by a call from stand-up comedian Suzanne Westenhoefer, who was on the voyage as an entertainer, for everyone who was not out to come out, both for the good of the community and for their own peace of mind.

Although inspired to take action, Baxter also found her hand somewhat forced: before the ship even returned to New Orleans, word of the couple's presence on the cruise was spreading.

She did not want to be outed by the tabloid press and was, with the help of her business manager and a publicist, able to come out on her own terms in a dignified manner through an article in People Weekly and an interview with Matt Lauer of the Today show in December 2009.

Baxter admitted to some trepidation about coming out, but that was quickly succeeded by a feeling of relief. "If somebody's gonna say something, I don't care," she declared to Zuckerman. "For the first time, I'm where I want to be."

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