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Melissa Gilbert Says Ex Was 'Every Lesson I Refused to Learn' before Finding 'True Partner' on Facebook

Gracious Egedegbe
Apr 24, 2022
07:30 A.M.
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Melissa Gilbert has worked hard to build a stellar name for herself. However, following her second divorce, a relationship with the wrong guy almost ruined her life and sent everything down the drain.


For close to a decade, fans of the "Little House on the Prairie" knew Melissa Gilbert as Laura Ingalls, a farmer's daughter. Since the series ended in 1983, the American actress has featured in many other productions.

Her outstanding performances in these productions landed her in the news a few times. Apart from making headlines due to her successful career, Gilbert's love life has often left her name on the lips. 

[Left] Picture of actress Melissa Gilbert; [Right] Picture of Timothy Busfield and his wife Melissa Gilbert | Source: Getty Images


She has been married thrice and divorced twice and has also been involved in relationships with other men. For the actress, out of all her failed relationships, her split from her second husband, Bruce Boxleitner, was the most painful.

The former couple tied the knot in 1995, and nine months later, they welcomed their son, Michael Garrett Boxleitner. Sadly, after staying married for 16 years, Bruce and Gilbert's marriage ended.

Bruce Boxleitner and wife Melissa Gilbert at the 7th Annual Hollywood Charity Horse Show on April 28, 1997| Source: Getty Images


It was the actress's longest relationship, and she would later reveal that she struggled afterward. According to Gilbert, the separation was traumatic for her, Bruce, family, and friends. In her words:

"I mourned the end of the longest relationship of my life. It was a sad and painful time. But I wasn't the only one who suffered. Our teenage son, Michael, struggled with the breakup. Seeing him in pain was worse than anything I experienced."

Bruce Boxleitner and Melissa Gilbert and their kids | Source: Getty Images


It was a very terrible experience for Gilbert, but therapy helped. The former couple worked out their differences and avoided the drama of divorce.

Rather than hire a lawyer, Gilbert and Bruce chose a mediator. The mediation lasted for only three hours, and afterward, the pair went for lunch together and left the location as friends.


Melissa Gilbert on an episode of WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE which aired on January 22, 2014 | Source: Getty Images


Following the divorce, Gilbert wasted no time in entering another relationship. The pressure of being a single woman in her forties was too much for the actress to bear, and she felt the need to be desired again. 

"I moved way too fast. Feeling like I had been tamped down and muzzled for far too long. I raced into my new relationship status, trying to make up for lost time and recapture the freedom I remembered from my youth," she noted.

Hoda Kotb, Kathie Lee Gifford and Melissa Gilbert appear on NBC News' "Today" show on December 08, 2011 | Source: Getty Image


So, Gilbert started dating a younger French man, whom she described as "widely inappropriate." To please him, the actress made many changes to her appearance. She had botox and fillers, recolored her hair, and even bought a Mustang convertible.

The "Little House on the Prairie" star felt her new boyfriend was fun and fresh. Most importantly, dating him was proof that she was still desirable. But on the contrary, he was the opposite of everything Gilbert thought about him. According to the Hollywood icon:

"He was all the bad behaviors of anyone with whom I had been involved, married or otherwise, rolled into one package."


Actress Melissa Gilbert visits the SiriusXM Studio on December 8, 2011 in New York City | Source: Getty Images

"He was every lesson I refused to learn. He had a little bit of my first husband, Bo Brinkman; a little bit of hubby number two, Bruce; some of Rob Lowe's bad boy qualities; and so on," the actress added.


Furthermore, Gilbert confessed that her French ex-boyfriend was mean, self-centered, vain, judgmental, xenophobic, and not generous. She once recalled an incident where the French man proved that he was everything Gilbert said about him.

The pair were on vacation in Marrakesh, and they came across a group of children begging. Touched by their situation, Gilbert reached for her pocket to get some money, but the French guy stopped her. 

: Actress and national spokesperson of Melissa Gilbert visits the New York Stock Exchange on September 25, 2012 in New York City | Source: Getty Images


He claimed that the kids were faking, and despite all efforts to make him see that they were not, the man refused to listen, adding that he did not care.

Gilbert was stunned by his actions, and she began to think about her life at some point. One day, the roof in Gilbert's house collapsed on her, and she believed it was a subtle message from God to fix her life. 

Melissa Gilbert at the opening night party for "Medea" on January 30, 2020 | Source: Getty Images


Her body had changed, she was with the wrong man, and her life was upside down. So, the actress decided that it was time to do away with the wrong men and get her life together. At 48, she broke up with her French boyfriend and worked hard to find herself.


Actress Melissa Gilbert and actor Timothy Busfield participate in the Los Angeles Mission Christmas Eve lunch For The Homeless held at the Los Angeles Mission on December 24, 2012 in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images


Gilbert gave love another chance when she started dating her third husband, Tim Busfield. Their lovely romance began as a joke. They first met in 2012, and the former recalled what happened.

Gilbert explained that she was hanging out with Daniel Robb, her gay best friend, at a cool bar when he left her to get his phone he had forgotten. 


As she waited for Robb to return, a man walked into the bar, holding a pizza, and she realized that it was Busfield. The pair had met before then at an event in 1991, but they reconnected in 2012, ten days before meeting at the bar. Busfield had accepted Gilbert's Facebook friend request. 

So they started talking, and by the end of the day, they were so deep in their conversation that they barely noticed anyone around.

On the other hand, during an interview, Busfield also recalled how he met Gilbert. He shared that he went out to get something to eat and a beer and watch sports on TV. 


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.

Actor Timothy Busfield and actress Melissa Gilbert attend the opening night party for "Medea" at the BAM Harvey Theater on January 30, 2020 in New York City | Source: Getty Images


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. He talked to himself and then sat at the bar and ordered a drink.

But when he saw the actress smile, he was blown away. The "Revenge of the Nerds" actor was so smitten with Gilbert that he requested they have brunch the following morning, and they have been inseparable since then.

The lovebirds wed in Santa Barbara on April 24, 2013, and to date, they are grateful to be by each other's sides. 


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