‘Little House on the Prairie’: Melissa Gilbert Learned One ‘Basic Lesson’ About Being Famous

by Will Shepard
(Photo by NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images)

There is a lot that changes when you become famous, and Melissa Gilbert knows those changes well. The Little House on the Prairie star was cast in the show when she was just ten years old.

Quickly after the show began airing, Melissa Gilbert became a household name. Her role as Laura Ingalls took her to stardom, and a lot changes for someone in that position.

But, years after being on the show, she says that she learned a valuable lesson about being famous. The lesson came during her time on Little House on the Prairie while she was in her teenage years.

Melissa Gilbert and Michael Landon developed an exceptional relationship, almost like a father-daughter one. Their families grew close as well. In her memoir, she talks about one specific experience of being on vacation with the Landons.

Melissa Gilbert’s Lesson Learned Involves Drinking Too Much Too Young

During a trip to Hawaii, she and one of Michael Landon’s daughters, Leslie, decided to have a different kind of night. While the parents went out to dinner, Melissa Gilbert and Leslie set about drinking the minibar dry. She says that the two of them and a friend “had vodka, rum, wine, champagne, Crown Royal, and Baileys Irish Cream, which I liked.”

For those who drink, that combination seems lethal, a sure-fire way to end up throwing up all night long. The three girls got “rip-roaring drunk” and passed out.

The next day was a struggle for the girls, and Michael Landon almost immediately knew something was awry. So, while Melissa Gilbert and Leslie Landon were on the beach, he sprung into action. Even though he didn’t say anything to the girls, he brought them each “glasses of what appeared to be tomato juice.”

This is one of the easiest ways to cure hangovers. Melissa Gilbert talks about the experience of being brought the glasses of juice.

“I think both of us were crying from the pain we felt and the relief we hoped he could provide, rather than from fear or shame. Mike handed each of us a glass. They were Bloody Marys.”

Actions Always Have Consequences, Good or Bad

Bloody Marys are excellent hangover cures. But, aside from bringing them the drinks, Michael Landon never told them off for drinking. Melissa Gilbert says that “Back then, I was relieved. Now I’m not so sure I shouldn’t have been given a talking-to.”

But, she adds that the lesson she had to learn came well after the trip, years later. She knows that fame changes the perception of how she views the world and how the world views her.

“It would’ve been good for me to hear that my actions, like anyone else’s, had consequences for both me and those around me. Such a lesson can’t be underestimated; none of us live in a bubble, even those among Hollywood’s most privileged. I would have to learn this basic lesson myself, as did so many others around me, old and young.”

So, it seems that the very basic lesson the star learned on the trip was that all actions have consequences. Even though she wishes now that it would have been a little different, it was nonetheless how she learned this valuable life lesson.