‘Little House on the Prairie’ Star Melissa Gilbert Reveals the ‘Greatest Things’ Her Husband Told Her

by Lauren Boisvert
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(Nick Hagen for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Former classic TV star Melissa Gilbert is living her best life in a cabin in the Catskill Mountains of New York, but it took a little bit to finally get there. She lives with her husband, Timothy Busfield, and the two fixed up the cabin together, grow their own food, and raise chickens far from Hollywood life.

Gilbert chronicles the experience in her new book, “Back to the Prairie: A Home Remade, A Life Discovered.” She discusses how she always wanted to live on a farm, how “Little House on the Prairie” gave her a taste of rural living, but she wanted the real thing. Meeting Busfield started off a chain of events that led Gilbert to the natural, peaceful life she lives now.

Gilbert and Busfield recently spoke with People about their current lives, and what led them to each other. Both coming off divorces, Busfield met Gilbert at a bar and ended up talking with her all night. “I knew she was the one,” he said. “It felt so real.”

The two married in 2013 in a small, private ceremony in Santa Barbara. Busfield told People that they are equals in everything, while Gilbert recalled the greatest thing Busfield ever said to her.

“One of the greatest things Tim did was tell me [was], ‘If you don’t want to, you don’t have to,'” she said. “And that’s a really big deal for a kid actor, because nobody ever told me that. It was [told], ‘I don’t care if you don’t want to, you’ve got to.'”

Melissa Gilbert Talks Quiet Cabin Life With Husband Timothy Busfield

Of her new lease on life, living in a rural cabin on 14 acres in the mountains, Melissa Gilbert said, “This is what I’ve always wanted.” She explained that Hollywood expects so much of people, and she was getting swept up in that mindset for so long. Now, she lives slowly, naturally, and carefree.

“I grew up in an industry that values the outside considerably more than the inside,” she told People. “And I was caught in that wheel of trying to stay young. I finally woke up and went, ‘What am I doing? I look like a carrot top, and I’m not happy.’”

After they married, she and husband Timothy Busfield moved to Michigan, where Gilbert discovered a more natural way of living. She stopped Botox, plastic surgery, and dying her hair bright red, and embraced the aging process. “I was always trying too hard to fit the mold that someone else wanted,” she said. “I’m finally happy in my own skin. I’m so grateful and relieved and so much happier.”

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