Melissa Gilbert began her Hollywood career as a child actress playing Laura Ingalls on America's popular drama series "Little House on the Prairie." Now in her fifties, Gilbert still has props from the set that she cherishes as childhood memories.
Actress Melissa Gilbert first rose to fame as a child star, having played Laura Ingalls on "Little House on the Prairie" from 1974 to 1982.
Born on May 8, 1964, in Los Angeles, California, Gilbert went on to act in several more TV roles as a child and a teenager. The red-haired beauty also has siblings who are actors.
Her sister, Sara, played Darlene in the television series "Roseanne" while their brother, Jonathan, played Willie Olson on "Little House on the Prairie."
Interestingly, Gilbert was reportedly one of nearly 500 girls to audition for the role of Laura. Her portrayal of the character was so memorable that she became the youngest person to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1985. The talented starlet has continued to grace the TV screens as an adult.
Timothy Busfield and his wife Melissa Gilbert during the opening night party for "Medea" at the BAM Harvey Theater on January 30, 2020 in New York City. / Source: Getty Images
In 2001, the 57-year-old television director was voted in as president of the Screen Actors Guild and won a second two-year term back in 2003.
Gilbert was married three times and only found her soulmate at age 47. Her life partner made an ultimatum for their relationship to work – to move to Michigan, which she did.
Here are the details about the Hollywood star's relationship with her third husband and their beautiful Michigan home, an 1890 Victorian house.
GILBERT'S FASCINATING LOVE STORY WITH HER THIRD HUSBAND
Melissa Gilbert and her husband Tim Busfield speaking to "OWN" at their Michigan home. / Source: YouTube/@OWN
Before walking down the aisle for the third time around, Gilbert married her first spouse Bo Brinkman in 1988. They welcomed their one and only son, Dakota Brinkman, in 1989. However, the pair divorced five years later, in 1994.
The producer then wed her second husband, Bruce Boxleitner, in 1995. However, the duo, who became parents of son Michael Boxleitner in 1995 – called it quits after 16 years of marriage in 2011.
Gilbert met her third spouse, Tim Busfield, in a bar in 2012. Recalling the story to Mlive.com in November 2014, Busfield shared he went out to get something to eat and a beer and watch sports on TV.
Melissa Gilbert and Tim Busfield captured with both their hands behind their backs. / Source: YouTube/@OWN
He usually had a spot there, and when he walked into the bar that day, he found someone sitting on his chair, and it was Gilbert. "So, I walked in the front door, and there was one person, sitting in my chair, at the bar. I looked, and then I stepped back outside," Busfield recounted.
He compared the experience to a movie saying, "It was like when Indiana Jones sees snakes in 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' and says 'Why does it have to be snakes?'"
Busfield had also been married twice before, like Gilbert, and on that day, he thought to himself that he had not been on a date in 6 months.
Hollywood stars Melissa Gilbert and her spouse Tim Busfield locking lips on the front porch of their home in Michigan. / Source: YouTube/@OWN
"I usually don't sit in bars alone. I was out with my gay best friend. But he'd left his cell phone at my place, so while he went back to get it, I was alone, talking to Joe, the bartender."
Aside from that encounter, Busfield and Gilbert's paths occasionally crossed before. They had known each other for about twenty years. But this last meeting was different.
"The next morning, we got together for brunch, and we have been inseparable since," Busfield shared. The lovebirds wed in Santa Barbara in April 2013 and relocated to a restored 1890 Victorian house situated in downtown Howell. Gilbert once gushed about her marriage with the actor:
"I have never been more content, more cherished, or happier. Every day is filled with joy I could never have imagined. I love you, my sweet husband."
The couple has been enjoying a life of wedded bliss since they took another chance on marriage. On their anniversary in April 2020, Gilbert said it is a blessing to walk through life with an honest and genuine partner:
"The depth of understanding, compassion, and kindness in this man blows me away. And oh, how we laugh! How blessed I am. How grateful."
Busfield is a successful Hollywood actor known for movies like "Field of Dreams" and "Revenge of the Nerds." The 64-year-old has also appeared in hit films and series such as "Entourage," "Thirtysomething" and "The West Wing."
The director is also an Emmy winner as he bagged the award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his role in "Thirtysomething" in 1991.
Busfield was previously married to his first wife, Radha Delamarter, in 1981, but they split after five years of marriage in 1986. He later wed for the second time with Jenny Merwin in 1988, but they divorced after almost two decades in 2007.
INSIDE THE COUPLE'S MICHIGAN HOME
Gilbert and Busfield live in a modest house which is olive green on the exterior with a dark roof. The front view of the property shows two staircases that lead inside the abode and a lawn.
The estate has a darker theme on the interior, with one of the rooms painted with a dark brown color. The space also has a fireplace, an oak coffee table, and hats hung up on the wall.
Melissa Gilbert and Tim Busfield's dark-themed living space that features a fireplace, a brown drawer and a rocky chair. / Source: YouTube/@OWN
The couple told "OWN" in 2014 that Michigan is their home, with Gilbert sharing they have "the best bed in the world" while admitting she has a hard time getting out of it.
When the pair met, Busfield did not live in LA but in Michigan. He told his future spouse that he had good and bad news for her. The "For Life" star told Gilbert that he thought she was fantastic but that he lived in Michigan. But that did not faze the "Undesirable" star.
Pictured: A collection of Melissa Gilbert's hats hung up on the wall for display. / Source: YouTube/@OWN
Talking about their lives in Michigan, she said everything there is more accessible, peaceful, and authentic. Gilbert touched on the pieces in their wooden floor home, which also had wooden rocking chairs.
There was a large frame on the wall with a red dress that she wore on "Little House" as young Laura - which serves as memorabilia for her stint on the show. Gilbert said the memories were part of who she was.
Pictured: A photo showing Melissa Gilbert's framed childhood photograph on top of the drawer. / Source: YouTube/@OWN
As another souvenir, Gilbert has Michael Landon's fiddle. She quickly explained that she did not take it from the set but bought it on eBay. The author shared Landon was like a dad to her and that the memories they shared were special.
Gilbert and Busfield had a white and pink couch on the front porch with a ceramic table and green chairs. Alongside the sofa, they had a side table with a plant.
On June 12, 1957, Busfield was born and was raised in Lansing, Michigan, by his parents, Roger and Jean Busfield. While he and Gilbert were comfortable living in Michigan for some time, the couple relocated to New York City in July 2014. Taking to Twitter, Gilbert wrote they were starting over there.
Pictured: A framed portrait of Melissa Gilbert holding her infant child, captured playing with her hair. / Source: YouTube/@OWN
In July 2018, the couple listed their 2,500-square-foot home on the market as they planned on downsizing at their new Brighton house. They were looking for a fully furnished place.
During an appearance on the Food Network show's "The Kitchen" in August 2015, Gilbert dished on her new home with her beloved husband:
"I just moved to Brighton, Michigan. We've got a 3-story log house on 25 acres in the woods. I went back to the big woods."
Melissa Gilbert and Tim Busfield's sitting area with wooden floors which features two rocking chairs. / Source: YouTube/@OWN
She also mentioned the advantages of living in the area, food-wise, saying she gets fresh chicken from neighbors who raise chickens, "I live in a farm country. I get eggs. I get milk. I get butter."
Gilbert and Busfield moved to Livingston County in 2013. In 2015, she announced her candidacy for a Michigan congressional seat. The politician has been active in the community since living there.
Actor Michael Landon's fiddle in which Melissa Gilbert bought as memorabilia from "Little House on the Prairie." / Source: YouTube/@OWN
The exterior look of Melissa Gilbert and Tim Busfield's 1890 Victorian house in Michigan. / Source: YouTube/@OWN
Television director Melissa Gilbert showing the dress she wore on "Little House on the Prairie" as a child actress. / Source: YouTube/@OWN
She helped to judge a fundraiser for the Howell Opera House and worked with children involved with the Community Theatre of Howell. Gilbert spoke about the fulfilling experience:
"This has been the most incredible five years. I was trying to describe what Michigan has meant to me and what being here has meant to me and the best way to describe it is to say it's been my blanket."
"I have been safe and comfortable and happy and at peace and content, and this has been the perfect place to have that," she continued.
INSIDE GILBERT'S LIFE ON THE FARM NOW
After Michigan, Gilbert went to New York and now lives with her husband Busfield on their New York farm. In July 2020, "CBS Sunday Morning" visited Gilbert on her farm, where she could be seen feeding little roosters.
She told correspondent Mo Rocca that living the country life was rustic while showing him her hands and said she had blisters from shoveling, adding there was dirt everywhere constantly. Gilbert showcased "Little House Catskills" and shared it was stunning that no plant in the bed had died.
Producer Melissa Gilbert during an interview with "CBS Sunday Morning" in July 2020. / Source: YouTube/@CBSSundayMorning
Melissa Gilbert showing CBS correspondent Mo Rocco her plant bed at her farm house in Livingston County. / Source: YouTube/@OWN
During the interview, Gilbert also reflected on her time filming "Little House," joking she was always running somewhere in her scenes. She also talked about her outfits, saying, "I also got to play the ultimate goal of dress-up."
Of the overall experience, Gilbert shared it was fun, adding she is the woman she is today because of her upbringing in Walnut Grove. She absorbed a lot from the show without realizing it and learned life lessons about family, community, and tolerance.