Actress Meredith Baxter was so terrified of going home to ex-husband David Birney during their allegedly abusive marriage, she would sip on wine as she drove back from the set of her 1980s show Family Ties.
The beloved TV mum, 63, shocked fans last week (begs28Feb11) when she detailed the troubles that blighted her union to actor Birney in her new memoir, Untied. She accused her Bridget Loves Birney co-star of being violent towards her during their 15-year marriage - claims Birney has vehemently denied.
However, the veteran star insists her home life had deteriorated so much, she turned to alcohol to drown her sorrows - and even indulged while she was behind the wheel.
During an appearance on The Talk on Monday (07Mar11), she said, "For a long time I didn't drink as I was working on Family Ties.
"Most of those were sober shows, you saw. Certainly when I started driving home, I had a glass of wine between my legs, driving home from Paramount (studios), because it was going home, it was so hard. I'd be a wonderful, contributing, excited, appreciated person at work and I'd go in that door and I was someone who was held with contempt and derided."
Birney broke his silence over his ex-wife's allegations at the weekend (05Mar11), calling her claims "mean spirited" and absurd", and insisting Baxter concocted tales of marital woes to aid her in the custody battle over the former couple's three children.
But Baxter is standing by her account and is refusing to be drawn into a public dispute with Birney.
She added: "You'd think he hadn't read the book, and I know he has. There was a time when I felt I had to defend myself against him all the time, and I don't have to do that anymore, so I really don't have a response for that."