Yep, Elyse Keaton is gay. Meredith Baxter (I will always and forever want to add the Birney) came out yesterday on “Today.” Never in my wildest wishful thinking would I have imagined that the “Family Ties” mom was actually a lesbian. Hoped? Sure. Dreamed? The naughty kind.
Her interview on “Today” was direct, honest and thoughtful. At 62, it’s definitely better late than never. A late-in-life coming out is no easier than an early-in-life coming out. In fact, it might be harder given decades of expectations and self-identifying that must be overcome. But I think Meredith handled herself with style and poise, sensitivity and candor. This is all we can ask hope for from our celebrities after all, that they share their essential truth – whatever that is – with us.
Watch her segment here. (Sorry if it won’t play internationally – Here’s a recap: She’s gay. She’s in a relationship. She’s still hot.)
I like how Matt almost said “Congratulations!” at the end of the interview. Really, they are in order. But the best part about that whole thing? Her saying: “I am extraordinarily happy.” Because, in the end, that’s what it’s all about: Being happy. Being who we are makes us happy. Being accepted for who we are makes us happy. Being in love makes us happy. Being accepted for who we love makes us happy.
This gay thing is so simple yet so complicated. It wraps around so many of the cornerstones of basic human existence like love, sex and faith yet in the end it boils down to just this: being happy.
As an enormous, enormous, enormous (yes, a third enormous – that enormous) fan of “Family Ties” growing up, this news is momentous on so many levels. Initially I watched because I had a ridiculously acute crush on Michael J. Fox. I justify said crush now by saying that if you tilt your head and squint, Alex P. Keaton looks like a petite, preppy butch girl. But I also harbored a deep and secret mom crush on Meredith. She was everything I though was great: Smart. Compassionate. Spunky. Liberal. Beautiful. And she’s got a mean right hook.
Now add “Gay” and “In a tank top” and I’ve just found heaven.
To this day impassioned speech making coupled with blue-eyed, blonde-haired All-American attractiveness is a weakness of mine. But none did it better than Meredith as she battled with her Reagan-worshiping, Brooks Brother-wearing TV son. In fact, her revelation today settles it: Elyse Keaton made me gay.
Look, America. The Brady Bunch dad was gay. The Family Ties mom is gay. These are the people you already love and trust and admire. That they’re gay doesn’t change that one bit. Plus, it’s another argument for gay marriage: End fictitious TV divorces.
Meredith also did an interview with The Advocate, which features a great, “You are glasses” moment. Gosh, do you think she is a Callica fan?
Q: And was that a revelation or just a slow aha! moment?
A: No, it was pretty much a revelation. The analogy I’ve used is a story [from] when I was a kid. I never could see very well and I said something to my parents and it kind of went unnoticed, or no one really responded to it. I guess I didn’t make enough noise. When I was 12 I tried on a [friend’s] pair of glasses and I was stunned with how clearly I could see. In truth, I used to think trees looked like lollipops because there was a solid stake and this solid ball. I didn’t know most people could see leaves. Oh, this is how the world is perceived? That’s kind of what having that second relationship made me realize — that this is where I want to be because I was dead to the world in many other ways. I’ve been married three times, and I have a slew of children, but I’ve never felt that kind of connection before in that kind of awakening. It was very profound for me.
Awww. Don’t you just want to hug her – or something more? So welcome, Mama Keaton. You will always be a tender, wonderful, influential part of my childhood. And now I couldn’t be prouder or happier to get to call you a member of the family. Sha la la la.