Today, Meredith is living a very open life with Nancy, her partner of five years, but it's taken her a long time to get to this point. For the first years of their relationship, Meredith had not come out while Nancy had been out for years. "I never knew when it was okay, when we were out in public, to hold her hand or to put my arm around her," Nancy says. "We would be holding hands and perhaps someone would be walking up the street and she would need to drop my hand. It would hurt my feelings."

Watch Nancy and Meredith's life together

Meredith later came out to friends and family, but not her fans. "I never really saw the need to make any kind of announcement because, like, what do you announce?" she says. "I'm dating somebody? I mean, who cares? It's not what defined me."

As she grew more open about her sexuality, Nancy says she knew Meredith's change was complete when she suggested they go on a lesbian cruise together. "I was like, 'Really? You want to do this?'" Nancy says. "I did say to her, 'People are going to see you and people are going to know that you are a lesbian woman. You can't hide on a lesbian cruise.'"

After learning a national tabloid was going to publish a story about about the vacation, Meredith realized it was time to go public. She told her story on the Today show before the story hit newsstands. "It was the only way to control the story and make it my own instead of some fiction that was going to be sleazy," Meredith says. "I didn't want that."

"You can't keep secrets too long, you know," Meredith says. "It's corrosive."


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