Meredith Baxter Alleges Ex-Husband David Birney Abused Her

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Baxter said that her work helped her cope and she did not share her personal story with others.

"You learn to compartmentalize," she said on NBC. "When I got to the studio, my home life was not happening. Nobody knew anything. I didn't have a social life. I did my work, I went home."

The actress said she also kept her sexuality close to the vest.

Baxter was "outed" in 2009 when the National Enquirer reported she was spotted "traveling with a female friend" on a Caribbean cruise sponsored by lesbian travel company Sweet.

"People say, 'You had to have known know you were gay.' I realized I was so un-self-examined, I could have been a Republican, but no, I'm just gay," she said. "That's much better, don't you think?"

The actress said that after many failed relationships with men, she started her first relationship with a woman seven years ago, and her entire world view changed.

"I got involved with someone I never expected to get involved with, and it was that kind of awakening," she said. "I never fought it because it was like, 'Oh, I understand why I had the issues I had early in life.' I had a great deal of difficulty connecting with men in relationships."

For more information about sexual violence or to reach their hotline for help, contact the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.

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