‘Little House on the Prairie’: Why Melissa Gilbert Had to Make Specific Wardrobe Changes as She Aged

by Emily Morgan
(Photo by: NBCU Photo Bank/Getty)

Being a child actor is a surreal experience, that comes with both its perks and drawbacks. For Melissa Gilbert, things got a bit awkward growing up on the set of “Little House on the Prairie.”

While fans remember Gilbert best as Laura Ingalls on “Little House,” behind the scenes, she was trying to navigate puberty as a teenager. When Gilbert began her run on the beloved show, she was only 10-year-old. However, as she got older, production had to find creative ways to keep her character looking young.

To keep Melissa Gilbert from revealing her age, producers had her bind her chest when she began developing breasts. The show’s current script hadn’t planned for Gilbert’s character to age as quickly as she was. After she ended her time on “Little House,” Gilbert decided to get breast implants but later had them removed.

Melissa Gilbert On Learning To Love Herself

“This post is all about breasts,” she wrote online. “Specifically, this is all about mine because next week I’m having surgery to remove my implants permanently … A. I am concerned for my health and 2. I don’t like the way they look or feel. Frankly, I’d like to be able to take a Zumba class without the fear that I’ll end up with two black eyes.”

As an adult and no longer a child star, Melissa Gilbert has spoken openly about being self-conscious about her breasts.

“I was a proud, card-carrying member of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee. I had no desire to have a Jessica Rabbitesque figure,” she said. She also said that being an actress in Hollywood adds additional pressure to keep up with your looks, which made her decide to undergo surgery.

“But let’s face it, ladies, we are pressured and bombarded with messages from the moment we can read for ourselves. And another thing… what’s with all the plastic surgery billboards? … This is our culture. It has been for a long, long time and I fell right into it.”

Now 56-years-old, Melissa Gilbert has a new-found appreciation for aging and remaining body positive. “Aging is a gift, not a curse. Love yourself. You are perfectly beautiful. You are enough.”