Melissa Gilbert played the beloved character Laura Ingalls on NBC’s Little House on the Prairie for years.
Melissa Gilbert was just a child when she landed her defining role.
Filming the show between the ages of 8 and 18, she literally grew up on set, and the experience changed her life, including finding a father figure in her on-screen dad Michael Landon.
Now that she’s all grown up, we get to admire how she raises all of her children with love and support.
Gilbert is now 58 and became a grandmother for the first time last summer — and in recent years has left Hollywood for rural life in the Catskills.
These days, the 58-year-old actress has left the glitz and glam behind in favor of a quieter, more peaceful life with her husband, Tim Busfield.
Gilbert has plenty of work to do each morning straight out of a Little House rerun: she keeps chickens, plants crops, and continues to do home renovation projects on the house.
But she also makes time for her children and grandchildren.
In Melissa Gilbert’s blended family, she loves all of her children. With a mixture of biological and stepchildren, she sees no difference.
Gilbert’s first brush with motherhood came in 1989, a year after she married Bo Brinkman, her first husband. Together they gave birth to their first son, Dakota.
Dakota quickly followed in his parent’s footsteps when he made his acting debut at the tender age of 8 in 1997’s Laws of Deception.
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Later, he would proceed to star in 2007’s Safe Harbour and 2016’s Shay.
A few years after having Dakota, Gilbert spoke about how it feels to raise a child. She spoke to the Los Angeles Times via Closer Weekly, saying:
“I am no longer an ingenue. Every day I get a little wiser. That is the only thing I am interested in — a little smarter in the choices I make and the decisions I make regarding my life and my own destiny.”
The actress divorced her first husband in 1994, but remarried after being set up with actor Bruce Boxleitner. Their son, Michael, was born a year later.
Michael was not the only child that Gilbert gained in her marriage to Boxleitner. The actor already had two children, Sam and Lee, who were now her stepchildren.
Sixteen years later, Gilbert’s second divorce did not mean separating from her biological or stepchildren. She still maintains a close relationship with Sam and Lee, even years after her divorce from their father.
After her 2011 divorce, Gilbert began to date and eventually marry Timothy Busfield. With this marriage came three new stepchildren: Samuel, Wilson, and Daisy.
Gilbert’s maternal instincts don’t just start and end with her biological and stepchildren, however. In June of 2021, she became a grandmother to Ripley, her first son Dakota’s first child with his wife.
If the actress takes care of her granddaughter with as much unconditional love and support as she has shown her seven children, we are sure they will be just as close.
It’s clear that Melissa Gilbert still has that pioneer spirit, and we’re so glad she’s living her best life in the mountains and has a wonderful family.
We think she deserves to take a break and enjoy her new life after such a busy and successful career in Hollywood.