Author Spotlight: Meredith Baxter

The Family Ties actress opens up about her long struggle to find happiness

She’s an icon of sunny motherhood from her years on Family Ties, but with three failed marriages and a descent into alcoholism, life behind the scenes was an endless series of storms for Meredith Baxter. In Untied: A Memoir of Family, Fame, and Floundering, Baxter writes of her personal disasters (both self-inflicted and imposed on her by others) with humor, an engaging sense of perspective, and fluid, intelligent prose. Baxter’s story is ultimately uplifting, as she relates her success with a 12-step program for alcoholics and her decision to come out on national television in 2009 as a lesbian at age 62. Baxter says she’s living in a much happier place these days, and she told us about her long struggle to get there.

“I didn’t know another way to be. For me, I had to hit a bottom, an emotional bottom, where I was saying, ‘I cannot live like this one more day.’ That’s kind of what happened when I had a breakdown when the [third] marriage broke up. I just sat and howled, because I thought, ‘How am I in this place yet again?’ I had learned nothing about myself. I was a total stranger to myself. So, I guess the message I would want to pass on is that there’s another way to be, but you have to change your thinking.”

Photograph by Mark Husmann