Melissa Gilbert was once married to fellow actor Bruce Boxleitner, but their bond sadly ended in divorce. She ended up getting remarried and seems happy with her third husband.
Melissa Gilbert’s first marriage was to Bo Brinkman, and it lasted for four years until it ended in 1992. A few years later, the actress thought she’d found love again with her second husband, Bruce Boxleitner.
Before breaking up, the couple had dated on and off for over a year and got engaged twice. They eventually tied the knot on January 1, 1995, and together they welcomed one child, a son named Michael.
Melissa Gilbert on episode 17 of “Little House on the Prairie” as Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder, her performance of “The Cocktail Hour” on April 19, 1990, and at the Screen Actors Guild’s Special Award of Excellence Star on Hollywood Boulevard on October 25, 2007 | Photos: NBCU Photo Bank & Frank Trapper/Corbis & Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images
Their son was named after Mellisa’s onscreen father Charles “Pa” Ingalls, played by Michael Landon. Gilbert was well-known for the role of Laura Ingalls in “Little House on the Prairie” alongside co-star and creator Landon.
Sadly, after 16 years together with her second husband, the actress called it quits in August 2011. Part of the settlement Melissa and her husband had was to share joint custody of Michael.
Melissa Gilbert and Bruce Boxleitner during the 56th Annual DGA Awards reception on February 7, 2004, in Beverly Hills, California | Photo: Vince Bucci/Getty Images
Besides Michael, Boxleitner and Melissa also share another son, Dakota. He is the actress’s son from her marriage to Brinkman, and they also have two more sons, Sam and Lee, from Boxleitner’s first marriage to actress Kathryn Ogilvy.
Melissa landed her role on “Little House on the Prairie” after starring in dozens of television adverts. She was 8 when she landed the gig and Landon later became her surrogate father when her own one died.
Melissa Gilbert visits the New York Stock Exchange on September 25, 2012, in New York City | Photo: Cindy Ord/Getty Images
The Sacramento Bee revealed that Melissa was the one who filed divorce papers in a Los Angeles court. She cited “irreconcilable differences” as the main reason for the divorce.
According to The Associated Press, the couple had separated and announced it five months before their divorce. The petition also showed that Melissa and Boxleitner had been separated since January 2011, the month of their 16th anniversary.
Timothy Busfield and Melissa Gilbert at the opening night after-party for “The Seafarer” on April 18, 2018, in New York City | Photo: Bruce Glikas/Getty Images
In March 2011, Melissa addressed her separation from her husband. She confessed that they’d loved each other for quite some time and shared four amazing sons together.
SARA GILBERT’S RELATIONSHIP
The star and Boxleitner were 47 and 61 respectively during the time of the divorce. Ironically, the actress’s sister, Sara Gilbert, then-36, also announced that same week that she was ending her own relationship.
The former “The Talk” co-host was in a 10-year-long relationship with Allison Adler, then-44. The couple had two children Levi and Sawyer; during their relationship, they agreed to share joint custody of them.
GILBERT’S PAST RELATIONSHIPS
Melissa has had a very healthy dating life and was once engaged to fellow celebrity Rob Lowe after dating on-and-off for six years. In her past, she’s also dated other big names like Billy Idol, John Cusack, Scott Baio, and Tom Cruise.
She was only 17 when she started dating Lowe before he proposed in 1986, even though they’d both been dishonest in the relationship. Lowe didn’t take Melissa’s pregnancy with his child well, and she later suffered a miscarriage.
Just when her fans thought Melissa was done getting married, she walked down the aisle with another actor Timothy Busfield. The “Thirtysomething” actor and Melissa got married in 2013.
Busfield confessed to Page Six that he’d waited for the actress for years before he could be with her. The star joked that he had to wait his turn because he couldn’t compete with Lowe and Boxleitner because they had chins!
Busfield described himself as “the luckiest man on earth” because he was married to “Little House on the Prairie” star. According to Page Six, the happy couple lives together in Manhattan.
For his part, the actor had also been married twice before. In July 2020, Busfield opened up about what it was like to live with his wife during the coronavirus quarantine period.
QUARANTINING WITH MELISSA
Instead of being scared, Melissa kept saying the bear looked sweet and tried to greet it. Her husband joked how the bear was sweet until it ate her carotid artery!
Even though Busfield and Melissa have been married for more than seven years, in November 2020, he confessed that she was “an idiot” for being with him! He joked that the actress was gullible for choosing him!
GILBERT’S PERSONAL STRUGGLES
Besides undergoing spinal surgery late last year, Melissa has battled several personal struggles. In 2009, she told Today that by the time she was 15, she was heavily involved in drugs, alcohol, and sex.
Her battle with alcoholism continued while she was married to Brinkman, whom she divorced for having numerous affairs. The addiction was sparked by a miscarriage she had while dating Lowe.
The losses left her with grief she couldn’t overcome and confessed that she went through a dark and difficult time. Even during her marriage to Boxleitner, Melissa drank heavily to relieve stress.
Melissa only realized she had a problem after she passed out drunk in the dog bed. The incident happened while she had a friend over for dinner, and later the actress sought help from a therapist.
The star then attended AA meetings to get sober. One of her most recent appearances was in the 2007 Hallmark Channel movie, “Sacrifices of the Heart,” and from 2001 – 2005, she served two terms as president of the Screen Actor’s Guild.
A LITTLE ABOUT BOXLEITNER
The “Babylon 5” star made his big break into the industry when he was cast in the pilot for the series “How the West Was Won.” He also starred in the 1983 series “Scarecrow and Mrs. King.”
The “Tron” movie franchise actor has also had roles in movies like “The Matchmaker Mysteries: A Killer Engagement” and “Holiday Date.” His current wife is Verena King-Boxleitner.
He was born in Elgin, Illinois, on May 12, 1950, before attending Prospect High School in Mount Prospect, Illinois. The star later studied at the Goodman Theater School of Drama of the Art Institute of Chicago.