Pop Culture

'Family Ties' star Meredith Baxter weds partner Nancy Locke

Meredith Baxter and Nancy Locke in 2011 on TODAY.

Meredith Baxter, who played mom Elyse Keaton on 1980s hit "Family Ties," has created a new family tie — by marrying longtime partner Nancy Locke, her publicist confirms to TODAY.

The couple exchanged handwritten vows on Sunday afternoon in an "intimate ceremony" in Los Angeles before friends and family, including Baxter's five children, the publicist said.

"Now I understand why marriage caught on!" the actress told People magazine.

A friend played guitar and sang for the ceremony and at the reception, then Locke's band played on stage. The magazine said the couple took lessons to be able to share their first dance as newlyweds.

They had dated for seven years.

Baxter, 66, has been married three times before: to Robert Lewis Bush (1966 to 1969); actor/director David Birney (1974 to 1989); and actor/novelist Michael Blodgett (1995 to 2000). She came out as lesbian on Dec. 2, 2009, during an interview with TODAY's Matt Lauer.