A year ago, Meredith Baxter came out on The Today Show. And this week she sat down with The Windy City Times to talk about the whys and hows and whos of her decision to open up to Matt Lauer (and the world) about her personal life.
But she didn’t have much time to decide what to do, because as soon as she got off the ship, Perez Hilton, The Star, The Globe and The Enquirer had acquired photos of Baxter and her girlfriend. And every publication was beating down her manager’s door looking for a statement. (And by “statement” I mean they were looking for a few sentences to spin into a factually errant story, as they do.)
Baxter teared up when telling The Windy City Times that she didn’t want to deny anything, but that she just wanted to live a quiet life. Because she was afraid the tabloids would turn her story into something tawdry, her manager convinced her to go on The Today Show and scoop them. Baxter told her manager, “No, no, no — this is not right. I shouldn’t have to do this.”
“You were forced into coming out, which is not fair,” the Times reporter clarified.
“Yes,” Baxter replied. “Well life isn’t fair, but it was baptism by fire … [but] I have a freedom now that I never expected.
Baxter’s Times interview raises some interesting questions — all of which we’ve been grappling with here at AfterEllen.com for quite some time. Is it ever OK to “out” a celebrity? What does it even mean to “out” someone these days when many celebrities are obviously in relationships with a same-sex partner but have not labeled themselves as gay?
Former AfterEllen.com editor-in-chief Sarah Warn examined this conundrum — the new definition of “out” — two years ago when considering Lindsay Lohan‘s relationship with Samantha Ronson.