Melissa Gilbert melted our hearts for nine whole seasons with her portrait of Laura Ingalls on it Toilet on the Moor. On display, Laura has a great love for Almanzo Wilder, played by Dean Butler. But as her character admits, behind the scenes, Gilbert was scared of Butler.
She couldn’t think of kissing a 20-year-old man, thinking she was only 15-years-old at the time. And because she was so uncomfortable with their kissing scenes, she begged Michael Landon to make them “attractive scenes” instead.
Melissa Gilbert’s Toilet at the Prairie says she was sexually assaulted at the age of 15
According to Gilbert’s memoir with the title Prairie story, she was very naive when it came to the subject of sex. As she notes in her book, her mother never sat with her for “the speech. She wanted to keep naive Gilbert to the subject for as long as possible.
Because of her lack of knowledge on the subject, the idea of just kissing someone, let alone a grown-up person, was rude.
She hated that an adult Landon had applied for the role of her love interest and said she would have been more comfortable if he had worn someone of his own age.
In her memoir, she describes the “nausea” she felt when she first met the actor who would play Almanzo.
“When we last met, I experienced a great storm of disappointment, fear, anger and discomfort,” she wrote. “I expected the producers to throw a contemporary to me, someone close to my age. Instead, they had thrown someone! That’s right. Dean was an adult. I looked at it as if it had risen from Dr. Frankenstein’s lab. He was in his twenties. ”
At the same time, Gilbert felt uncomfortable in her own skin, describing herself as “dorky, freaked out five-year-old with peach fuzz all over her legs.”
Melissa Gilbert wanted kiss scenes to replace Laura Ingalls and Almanzo Wilder’s kiss scenes
Gilbert felt utterly awkward in the days before her first kiss scene with Butler. According to her memory, she could not eat or sleep because she was so anxious. She tried everything she could to prevent the situation and even persuaded Landon to endlessly remove their lip-locking scenes.
“Whenever I saw a script in which Almanzo planned to kiss Laura, I begged anyone standing near me to find Mike. I asked him if we could change to a hug, ”wrote Gilbert. “I was embarrassed to pretend to be in love when I was never in love. ”
Gilbert went on to say, “Of course, I didn’t know everything I did as an actor, but love was different. By showing that I needed to show more and more places within myself than I was ready or able to. ”
Actress Laura Ingalls (Melissa Gilbert) is now best friends with actress Almanzo Wilder (Dean Butler)
“Fortunately, today we are good friends,” she writes. “He knows it scared me. And as a result, I made a point about doing everything I could to make it as uncomfortable as possible. ”