David Birney wants us to hear his side of the story. After being called out as an abusive spouse by ex-wife Meredith Baxter on Oprah last week, he is firing back with a statement in People magazine. The 71-year-old actor called her accusation "an appalling abuse of the truth" and slammed her new memoir, Untied, as "a kind of fairy tale."
Hmm ... who in their right mind would describe a story about a marriage filled with verbal and physical abuse as a "fairy tale"? Maybe "work of fiction" would have been a fitting choice of words, but hey! Perhaps his preferred description is very telling. Sounds to me like Birney is just doing his own, poor version of damage control here ...
Birney tells People that this "fairy tale" Baxter is trotting around town is the same made-up story she used to attempt to gain sole custody during their nasty, eight-year battle for their kids. He says:
During that time she arrived in court repeatedly with various lawyers and several therapists, "recovered memories," accusations of abuse—a common charge in custody disputes—and tales of our life together that bore little resemblance to truth – a mean spirited process that battered us all, especially the children.The court denied her suit on every occasion. This current recycled version of our family story is no more credible now than it was then.
But what I don't get is ... why now, Birney? Why now would she write a book with a "recycled version" of false "recovered memories"? Since moving onto the "healthiest relationship" she's ever been in with lesbian partner Nancy Locke, Baxter seems to be at peace. I just don't see why she would have any motivation to make things up. It makes more sense that she wrote Untied to help other women get out of and speak up about their own abusive relationships.
I also believe Baxter over Birney, thanks to her her co-stars, like Michael J. Fox (love him), who are now coming out and vouching for her, saying they could tell something was seriously amiss in her marriage.
The other red flag ... Birney goes into a whole epistle about how mind-boggling it is that Baxter couldn't come up with "a single instance of joy or pleasure in all that time" that they were married. Uhm ... if you felt like you had to hide everything about your marriage and "felt like a fraud" in your own life, as Baxter put it, you probably wouldn't be able to come up with much in the way of happy lollipop and sunshine memories either.
Birney's response just seems straight-up defensive. He's coming off like an egomaniac who just had to put his two cents in. He's probably also terrified by what Baxter's book could do to his "reputation." (Who cares? The last time he had even just a measly role was 2007.) Hopefully, though, the masses tune him out and focus on Baxter's tough-to-bear, tragic -- but now thankfully public -- truth.
Whose story do you believe?
Image via DavidBirney.com