The Stars That Came Out

For years, America applied the "don't ask, don't tell" rule when it came to a celebrity's sexuality-particularly a female's. Times, they are a-changin', though. Today, it's anything but shocking for women stars not only to come out, but to share their experiences and struggles in finding their most comfortable identity. And it all started with Ellen…

Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen DeGeneres is often credited with paving the way for lesbians in Hollywood. After announcing she was gay to Oprah Winfrey during a 1997 episode of her sitcom, lesbians had a face in the media, one that the world already was familiar with and loved. Unfortunately though, Ellen's show was dropped from TV shortly after and she was nowhere to be found in the media for the few years following. As time went on though, DeGeneres made her way back onto TV and now enjoys not only the most success of her life, but one of the most stable marriages in Hollywood, to fellow actress Portia de Rossi. In earlier generations, women did not have a role model like Ellen, nor did society encourage them to explore their sexuality and break free from gender stereotypes. And as with all love, sometimes it takes a lot of hits and misses before finding "the one" - and that person isn't always who you expected they would be.

Meredith Baxter

Last year, at the age of 62, Family Ties star Meredith Baxter announced that she now identifies as a lesbian. The admission came as a surprise, considering the former Mrs. Keaton has been married three times and has five children.

She explained to Matt Lauer, "I am a lesbian and it was a later-in-life recognition. Some people would say, well, you're living a lie and, you know, the truth is -- not at all. This has only been for the past seven years."

Meredith believes she previously chose men with whom she clashed, so that the eventual demise of the relationships could be pinned on them, instead of thinking the problem might lie with her. Life started to make sense, however, when she met Nancy Locke. "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."

Now out and proud, Meredith said, "The support from my family and anyone close to me has been so immediate and unqualified. I've really been blessed.

See the rest here.


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