‘Little House on the Prairie’: Why Melissa Gilbert Said Michael Landon’s Affair ‘Felt Like a Death’ To Her

Toilet on the MoorMelissa Gilbert had a wonderful relationship with her on-screen father, Michael Landon. Gilbert felt like Landon would be a real father to her even when the cameras stopped rolling. But that all changed when he began a relationship with his young mistress when he was married to his wife, Lynn.

After Landon leaves his ex-wife for his mistress, Gilbert says their relationship is “broken.” Because of this, she felt like there was a death in the family.

Michael Landon and his wife Cindy Landon in 1989
Michael Landon and his wife Cindy Landon in 1989 | Ron Galella Collection / Getty Images

Michael Landon knew Melissa Gilbert was perfect for the role of Laura Ingalls

At the time of Gilbert’s lab for Toilet on the Moor, she got the chance to do a screen test with Michael Landon. She says she had a souvenir with the title Prairie story that they were immediately connected.

And while the reps looked at countless other girls for the role, Landon then told Gilbert that he knew she was going to get the part from the moment she tested. Suddenly, Gilbert began to consider Landon as his true father.

“It was no stretch to think of Mike (Landon) as my father,” writes the memoir. And because of the bond between father and daughter, that hurt a lot more when the young star learned about Landon ‘s infidelity.

Melissa Gilbert felt betrayed and abandoned after Michael Landon’s relationship

Michael Landon and his wife Cindy Landon
Michael Landon and his wife Cindy Landon Ron Galella Collection / Getty Images

One day, Gilbert learns that Landon has left his wife for his much younger mistress. Gilbert was devastated, as she had a close relationship with both Landon and his ex-wife, Lynn. It felt like the last message to Gilbert, who used to pay homage to her father on screen.

“(Landon) was creating a new life for himself – someone who didn’t include me,” she writes. “I get it now. My family was obedient to Lynn, so my relationship with Mike started to spread. No explanation. No discussion. Not admitting that I could feel confused, betrayed, and abandoned. To me, it was like death but without the sadness, because I was never able to experience that. ”

She goes on to say, “I shouldn’t have felt anything because he wasn’t my real father, because he wasn’t my family, and because if he asked you on my mother, my life was charming and perfect. I was on a successful TV show, met amazing people, and played in movies while I was off. What complaints can I have? ”

The actress ‘Little House on the Prairie’ felt ‘uncomfortable’ because she had to choose sides.

Michael Landon and his wife Cindy Landon
Michael Landon and his wife Cindy Landon Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

According to Gilbert, she felt like she had to choose sides during their separation, which made her very uncomfortable.

“At a certain point, I thought, What about me? ”She writes. “I have to work with Mike. I can’t take sides. But he has done something that has turned my world into angry sides.

In conclusion, Gilbert says, “I was put in a very uncomfortable position. ”

Scroll to Top