Melissa Sue Anderson, known for playing Mary Ingalls in the “Little House on the Prairie,” for many reasons wanted a big family and a nice lovable husband when she was a teen. Although she did not have as many kids, she took drastic measures to ensure they had her full attention.
Former child star Melissa Sue Anderson once revealed she would like to have a big family, saying: “I’d like to have four to six kids – I like big families.”
When it came to what she looked for in a man, she kept it general while pointing out the possible characteristics she would go for to find one.
“What do I look for in a man? What everybody else wants, I guess – someone nice and lovable,” said the Canadian American actress.
Here are further details of Anderson’s husband and children whom she did not want to raise, similar to how Michael Landon raised his kids.
Pictured: Former child star Melissa Sue Anderson during her appearance on NBC News' "Today Show." / Source: Getty Images
HOW MELISSA MARRIED HER OLDER HUSBAND
Before she met her now-husband Michael Sloan, Anderson was dating Frank Sinatra Jr., whom she met while appearing on “The Love Boat” in 1979 (he was 37 and she, 17). The California native described their relationship:
“It was exciting. But it was never really wild. That’s just not me.”
Melissa Sue Anderson and Frank Sinatra Jr. on the "Love Boat" on October 27, 1979. / Source: Getty Images
Following her stint on “Little House,” Anderson got cast in “umpteen Movies of the Week,” including T.V. programs such as 1987’s “Alfred Hitchcock Presents," on which she met her future spouse, Sloan.
He was the show’s executive producer during that period, and the couple was married three years later. Anderson began turning down roles after that.
Born in October 1946 in New York City, 75-year-old Sloan wed the lovely Anderson, his wife of over three decades, on March 17, 1990.
Apart from “Hitchock,” he also produced and wrote, “The Equalizer” (2014) and “The Equalizer 2” (2018), including “Quincy M.E.” (1976).
He also created the “The Equalizer,” T.V. series starring actor Edward Woodward, where Anderson played a role as Woodward’s daughter.
Melissa Sue Anderson attending Variety International Humanitarian Awards at Century City on April 24, 1980 in California. / Source: Getty Images
She later described her fellow co-star, saying he was a good friend and that after her wedding with Sloan, the following Saturday, they had a blessing in England, and Edward walked her down the aisle.
Anderson retired from showbiz at age 35, happily married; she lived contentedly in Southern California’s quiet Topanga Canyon with her then-51-year-old spouse and their family.
Pictured: Melissa Sue Anderson as Toby King, the babysitter on the "First Affair" broadcast on October 25, 1983. / Source: Getty Images
The couple welcomed two children, Griffin and Piper, within their marriage. Their eldest child, daughter Piper, 31, arrived in February 1991, and their second child, son Griffin in June 1996.
Speaking about her retirement at the time, Anderson said she enjoyed living an everyday life away from the prying eyes of Hollywood and that it felt good to get to know herself without the acting as part of her life:
“It’s nice just being a regular person. It’s good to get to know what I’m like without the acting.”
SHE RAISED HER KIDS DIFFERENTLY FROM LANDON
After a twelve-year hiatus from Hollywood, Anderson, 59, shared that long before she had kids, she instinctively knew she would not be able to juggle her career and raising her children:
“I didn’t want my kids to grow up around a parent who’s being stopped and asked for photographs all the time. They’ve been able to grow up being the stars of the household.”
In an interview once, the mom of two used Landon as an example when it came to his kids living in the spotlight and how he gave people more attention than them:
“I remember Michael Landon as a kid with being around his kids and him. And him being stopped signing autographs all the time at his daughter’s birthday party and things like that.”
“I think that takes so much of the attention that should be on the child away from them and is on the parent, and it’s so wrong,” Anderson explained. “You know the children should be the stars of their little lives.”
“So, I feel like I did the right thing. I feel like they’ve grown up to be their own people, and they’re secure in themselves, to the point where even they would like to see me work a little,” she continued.
Now that the children are adults and independent, Anderson came back to acting after intentionally keeping a low profile and being a stay-at-home mom.
The “Bless All the Dear Children” actress mentioned that both her kids had no desire to follow in her acting footsteps and steered away by pursuing different professions.
MEET ANDERSON’S CHILDREN
Her oldest child, Piper, is now a Training and Evaluation Programs Specialist at the American Society of Hematology and speaks four languages: English, French, Italian, and Spanish.
The 31-year-old has a Master of Arts (M.A.) in International Communication from American University. Piper previously worked as a Senior Manager at Lymphoma Research Foundation.
Her younger brother, Griffin, is currently a Law Clerk at Haworth Barber & Gerstman, LLC. His previous work experience includes the role of Legal Intern at Charles M. Mirotznik, Esq.
After that, the 25-year-old became a Staff Editor at Cardozo Moot Court Honor Society and later a Legal Intern at the Nilson Law Group, PLLC.
Griffin has a French Bachelors in Economics and Social Science from College International Marie de France. He also studied at New York University and obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. His last qualification was a Doctor of Law – J.D. from Cardozo School of Law.
He also speaks two more languages than English, French and Italian, like his sister. Griffin won the August 2018 David Berg Public Interest Fellow award. He also became the Runner-Up for Best Oralist in the Monrad G. Paulson Moot Court Competition.
INSIDE ANDERSON’S LIFE NOW
When the children were fifteen and nine years old, they pushed their mother back into acting. “It’s funny how it has turned around on me like that, said Anderson, who co-starred in “10.5: Apocalypse,” NBC’s May disaster-movie miniseries at the time.
“You devote your life to raising your kids, and then they start saying, ‘Oh, mom, you should spend more of your time acting again,’ and they start pushing you to do it.”
Pictured: Melissa Sue Anderson as Toby King, the babysitter on the "First Affair broadcasted on October 25, 1983. / Source: Getty Images
She was 43 years old at the time, living with her family in Montreal, and playing the President’s wife on “10.5,” which eventually got her out of the house.
However, Anderson was not that far away from her family as the show was filmed in Montreal. The role became one of her most recognizable stints following a break from show business, playing the First Lady in 2006.
A few years down the line, she took on more roles and appeared in “Marker 18,” The Con is On,” and “Veronica Mars,” all the while she and her spouse took care of their brood. Judging from her Twitter account, Anderson supports her children and is proud of them.
The family had relocated to Canada in 2002, and she and Sloan became Canadian citizens in 2007. While balancing her career and raising a family, “The Brady Bunch” alum also had another project.
She penned an autobiography called “The Way I See It: A Look Back At My Life on Little House,” published in 2012, and participated in a “Little House" cast reunion on the “Today Show” in 2014.