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Charlotte Rae: My ex-husband was gay

Geri Jewell, Cloris Leachman, Nancy McKeon, Charlotte Rae

Geri Jewell, Cloris Leachman, Nancy McKeon, Charlotte Rae and Lisa Whelchel attend the 9th Annual TV Land Awards at the Javits Center. (April 10, 2011) Photo Credit: Getty Larry Busacca

In a new memoir for which she's seeking a publisher, actress Charlotte Rae discusses her reaction to learning in the 1970s that her then-husband, composer and music editor John Strauss, was gay.

"First came the shock of what he had done behind my back, then the sting of being deceived for years," writes Rae, 86, in "The Facts of My Life." "All I could feel was the betrayal and, worse than that, my shame."

Rae -- whose Edna Garrett character on the sitcom "Diff'rent Strokes" led to her Emmy-nominated role as a girls-school housemother in the spinoff "The Facts of Life" -- added that, "John's secret confirmed my feelings of inferiority. That I was less than a woman . . . That I didn't deserve to be loved and valued."

The couple, who married in 1951, had two sons and divorced sometime after Strauss, who co-wrote the theme song of the sitcom "Car 54, Where Are You?," revealed he was gay. He died in 2011.

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