Nancy Locke (left) and Meredith Baxter
12/15/2013 AT 03:00 PM EST
If it wasn't love at first sight for newlyweds Meredith Baxter and Nancy Locke
, perhaps they just knew when they heard each other's voices. They met, after all, on the phone.
Eight years before they wed
earlier this month, the couple connected through a mutual friend who put them in touch when Locke "thought it would be a good idea to look at being sober," she tells The New York Times
Locke didn't know much about the woman on the other end of the line, except that her name was Meredith. And so she talked to this Meredith about her troubles for the next five months. Long after those conversations ended, they decided to meet over coffee in Santa Monica.
When Locke saw the actress from Family Ties
waiting for her at Starbucks, she figured it out. "Wait. You're Meredith?"
By 2006 – many cups of coffee and dinner dates later – they realized they both had feelings for each other. "We decided that the time we spent together we'd call dating instead of seeing each other," Locke says.
Although their relationship wasn't always a picture-perfect Hollywood romance – especially as Baxter navigated her feelings about coming out
in the spotlight – their wedding day proved to be the ultimate happy ending.
"I'm amazed to find you at this late stage of my life," Locke told Baxter during the ceremony. Baxter, 66, responded, "I'm so grateful you didn't show up in my life until I was able to be as open and honest as you are."