‘Little House on the Prairie’: Michael Landon Once Said His Second Wife Spent ‘No Time’ With Their Kids

by Matthew Wilson
Photo credit: Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

“Little House on the Prairie” star Michael Landon once opened up about his second wife Marjorie Lynn Noe’s parenting habits. And he was not a fan.

The actor reportedly claimed that his ex-wife never spent any time with their children. Together, the couple had four kids in addition to a daughter from Noe’s previous marriage. Landon said she resorted to using nannies and babysitters to watch the couple’s children. The actor also didn’t support the decision.

“With my second wife, there was basically no time spent with them,” Landon said in 1992, according to Classic Country Music. “You hire people, and they do those things. It’s really not right. It’s not good. But it’s another way of doin’ it. I just don’t think it’s as good.”

In comparison, Landon sang nothing but praise for his third wife Cindy Clerico. Together, the couple had two children. And he said she spent so much time with the kids that he was also starting to feel jealous. Ultimately, Landon didn’t get to spend as much time as he wanted with his youngest, passing away from pancreatic cancer in 1994. But he did make the most of the time they had together.

“It was in a way not easy for me,” Landon admitted. “Jealous of that. I got a little angry about that myself. I mean, where was my time? It was all being spent on little kids.”

Michael Landon Divorces Marjorie Lynn Noe in 1982

Of course, you shouldn’t cast stones in a glasshouse, as the saying goes. And Landon was by no means the saint he portrayed on television. Controversy rocked Landon’s career when he cheated on Noe with Clerico while they were still married. Landon was married to Noe from 1963 until 1982. Clerico had been a make-up artist on the set of “Little House on the Prairie” and was half the actor’s age.

The affair affected not only the relationships with Landon’s own children but also those he had with his on-screen children as well. The young actors had to face dividing loyalties between Landon and Noe, who they knew from visiting the set. It was a devastating moment for them.

“For us, as kids, it was a real blow,” Melissa Sue Anderson, who played Mary Ingalls, said in a separate interview. “Although we knew he could be difficult at times and had his flaws, we never dreamed he was capable of inflicting that kind of pain on his real family. For me personally, I had held him up to a higher moral standard. He had really let me down.”