Melissa Gilbert was arguably the brightest star in Little House on the Prairie. It seemed like she was always upbeat and feeling good. She won the role of Laura Ingalls at just ten years old. So, she still had so much to learn about being an actor, let alone being her own person.
Consequently, Gilbert learned how to put up facades as to how she was feeling. In an excerpt from her memoir “Prairie Tale” published in 2009 with Today. The star of Little House on the Prairie described how she truly felt when she was little.
During the excerpt, she delves into a realm of emotions that her young self was dealing with. There were a lot of things that she was not dealing with in order to maintain her daily habits.
The television star described how her mother dictated everything about her life. She would instruct the Little House on the Prairie star on how much to eat, how to dress, and how to go about her career. Gilbert said that her mother was making every decision, large or small, for her.
Instead of speaking out about it, the young actress just went along with it all. Gilbert would never have dreamt about speaking out against her mother. She said, “It was like the mafia. Although I never feared getting whacked, I was always just a little afraid of being sent back to wherever it was I came from.”
“Little House on the Prairie” Star, Melissa Gilbert, Never Got to Be Her True Self
Melissa Gilbert’s struggles were not limited only to her mother controlling everything. At a young age, she also made it a point to tell everyone that her life was going amazing.
“So an interview back when I was ten years old is likely to have me saying that everything is wonderful, everyone in my life is fantastic, I am happy, and life is perfect,” the Little House on the Prairie star continued. “But most of that was untrue. Just as in an interview three months after my mom’s second husband suffered a brain hemorrhage, I told a reporter that I had my crying moments, but I was pretty tough about that sort of thing.”
Gilbert made it a point as a child to describe everything as going perfectly. She never wanted to upset the proverbial apple cart.
From the outside looking in, it would seem like she was just a young girl trying to outdo her friends. The Little House on the Prairie star would describe things to the outside world as she thought they should be. So, when Gilbert’s stepfather passed away, she was not upset. But, to reporters, she described what she thought they would want to hear.