Melissa Gilbert is a film and television actress best known for her nearly decade-long tenure; playing the character of Lauran Ingalls on the classic Western television drama Little House on the Prairie. Following Melissa’s role on the seminal program, she has continued to work consistently in the entertainment industry. Although Melissa didn’t have any experience when she hired onto Little House on the Prairie when she only a child.
Today she lives in a cabin with her third husband; and become passionate about gardening and taking care of animals. According to Melissa, it was her role on the classic series so many years ago that planted the seeds of her new passion. At the age of 57, Melissa looks nearly as great as ever and seems to be taking care of herself. Despite suffering some health concerns in recent years that she has thankfully recovered from. Join Facts Verse as we take a look at how Melissa Gilbert from Little House on the Prairie is all grown up!
When Melissa Gilbert received the role of Laura Ingalls on the classic Western television drama Little House on the Prairie; she was a child actress with very little acting experience. Melissa had ushered into the industry by her adopted parents after being born in 1964. Her adopted parents both had ties to the entertainment industry. With her adopted father being a notable vaudeville performer who had starred in a series on NBC. And her adopted mother being the daughter of the creator of the sitcom, The Honeymooners.
Melissa Gilbert was only a toddler when her adopted parents first started having her appear in commercials. Before long, the young girl being given roles in notable television series. One of Melissa’s earliest appearances on a television series came in 1972, when she appeared on the show Gunsmoke. It only a few years later, that the young girl given her iconic role on Little House on the Prairie. Besides Melissa, the series also featured Melissa’s adopted brother, Jonathan Gilbert, as well as stars Michael Landon and Karen Grassle. According to Melissa, her time on the series was a memorable and formative experience that was mostly positive. Despite one traumatic incident where she accidentally drank from a crewmember’s spit cup because she thought it was her root beer float.
One of Melissa’s favorite aspects of performing on Little House on the Prairie was getting to wear the series’ iconic period costumes. According to the actress; the costume designers on the series went out of their way to make them as authentic as possible. Which made working on the show feel like playing a giant game of dress-up for the young girl. By the time that Little House on the Prairie came to an end; Melissa was 19 years old and had portrayed the character of Laura Ingalls for all of the show’s nine seasons.
Following her tenure as Laura Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie. Melissa Gilbert hasn’t had that hard of a time finding continued work in the entertainment industry. However, her star status gradually dropped off to the point where she was taking voice-acting roles; in cartoons by the 1990s. Some of Melissa’s most notable work immediately following Little House on the Prairie; in made-for-television features such as Family Secrets and Choices; which released in 1984 and 1986, respectively. Her most prominent voice-acting role on 1992’s Batman: The Animated Series, where she could be heard portraying Batgirl.
Many have often wondered if Melissa Gilbert would be game to return for a Little House on the Prairie reboot in some capacity. Though the actress has continually denied that she has any interest in such a prospect. According to her, the original series is in such steady syndication that there would be no reason to reboot it. Despite these sentiments, Melissa has notably returned to the intellectual property by portraying the character of Ma Ingalls. Her former on-screen mother, in the musical adaptation of Little House on the Prairie. The show began running in 2008; and Melissa gave so much of herself to the role that it nearly killed her!
According to Melissa, she began suffering from some back pain; during her tenure portraying the character Ma Ingalls in the memorable Little House on the Prairie musical. When this began happening, the actress’s immediate reaction was to ignore the pain and hope that it went away. However, the pain kept getting worse. Melissa made a pact with herself that she would go to the hospital if the pain became too much to bear. If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the like button to show your support! Also, subscribe to the channel; if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!
When Melissa Gilbert finally decided to go to the hospital; after the back pain that she experiencing while performing in the Little House on the Prairie musical became too much to bear. She confronted with a startling revelation. Her back pain had been a good deal more serious than she had realized. And she had been performing for a significant period of time with a broken back! Melissa was in her 40s when she was playing the role of Ma Ingalls in the musical. And she had been performing with a broken back for several months. When her peers found out what the actress had been going through in silence for those many months; they heaped praise upon her for her perseverance.
When the Little House on the Prairie musical ended it’s original run; Melissa Gilbert free to undergo surgery to fix her broken back. The actress able to make a full recovery thanks to a plastic implant. But has claimed that her height was affected by the incident. Sadly, this hasn’t been Melissa Gilbert’s last struggle with her health in recent years. Thankfully, as with her broken back, she’s been able to recover fully from all of them.
After recovering from her broken back, Melissa Gilbert decided that she wanted to compete on Dancing with the Stars. Melissa began appearing on the series in 2012, competing alongside a skilled Ukrainian-American dance partner. While Melissa and her partner performed fairly well on the series; the actress sadly had to bow out of the competition early after suffering a minor head injury during one of her dance numbers. While Melissa’s previously broken back hadn’t been an issue; she ended up deciding she couldn’t compete further after the head injury.
In addition to all of her acting work; Melissa also served as the president of the Screen Actor’s Guild for several years starting in the early 2000s. Melissa has even previously expressed interest in getting into politics. Though doctors advised her that her numerous health concerns around the time would prevent her from doing a good job in office.
Besides the previously discussed health concerns that Melissa has experienced in her life; there was also an incident where the balcony of a house she was renting collapsed on her; and caused numerous injuries. Which required her to undergo further back surgery. This incident occurred only several months after the head injury on Dancing with the Stars.
Despite all of the health concerns that Melissa Gilbert has had to deal with in recent years. It seems that the 57-year-old star is currently doing as good as ever. Today, Melissa is living in a cabin in upstate New York with her third husband. And she has apparently found a new passion in the kind of farm life that she mimicked so many years ago on Little House on the Prairie. According to Melissa; it was her time on that series during her coming of age that planted the seeds that would blossom into her new passion.
Before marrying her first husband, Melissa briefly engaged to actor Rob Lowe. Melissa’s first husband was a man by the name of Bo Brinkman; whom she married in 1988 and divorced in 1994. Over the course of their marriage, Melissa and Bo had a son by the name of Dakota Paul Brinkman. Who was born in 1989. Following Melissa’s divorce from her first husband; she went on to remarry the following year to a man by the name of Bruce Boxleitner. Melissa and Bruce were married from 1995 until 2011. Although Melissa didn’t have any biological kids with Bruce over the course of their nearly two-decade-long marriage. Melissa acted as a stepmother to Bruce’s two children that he had carried over from a previous relationship.
It was only a few years later, in 2013, that Melissa Gilbert went on to marry her third and current husband; who is a man by the name of Timothy Busfield. As with her previous marriage, Melissa and Timothy haven’t had any biological kids together. But Timothy came into the marriage with several kids from a previous relationship. Besides her two failed marriages and numerous struggles with her physical health; Melissa has also struggled with substance abuse and depression sporadically over the course of her life.
After all that she has been through, it seems that Melissa Gilbert is doing better than ever nowadays. While she can still be found working in the entertainment industry once in a while; her true passion nowadays is planting vegetables and taking care of animals on her and her husband’s cabin in upstate New York.
Although Melissa Gilbert had no experience farming when she was first given her role on the classic Western television drama Little House on the Prairie; the actress claimed that she has since developed a passion for it. Now it’s time to hear from you: did you know that Little House on the Prairie’s Melissa Gilbert is still just as beautiful as ever at the age of 57. And that she’s doing fairly well for herself despite a few health concerns over the past few decades? As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell; if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!