How Melissa Gilbert and Bruce Boxleitner Fooled the Paparazzi the Day Of Their Wedding

Little House on the Prairie actor Melissa Gilbert and How the West Was Won‘s Bruce Boxleitner had a very small, intimate wedding. It took place in Los Angeles at Gilbert’s mother’s house with about 45 guests in attendance. Even so, just outside was littered with paparazzi waiting to catch a glimpse of the newlyweds. Here’s what Gilbert and Boxleitner did to throw them off so that they could enjoy the night privately.

Bruce Boxleitner and Melissa Gilbert on the red carpet. Boxleitner is in a tuxedo and Gilbert is in a gold dress.
Bruce Boxleitner and Melissa Gilbert | Jean-Paul Aussenard/WireImage

Melissa Gilbert and Bruce Boxleitner got engaged, broke up, and got engaged again

In Gilbert’s 2009 memoir, Prairie Tale, she writes about her relationship with her second husband. The actors got together after Boxleitner’s first wife set them up. Right away, they shared an intense connection. After about two years of dating, Boxleitner asked Gilbert to marry him. She said yes. However, not too much later, he broke up with her suddenly without explanation.

But Gilbert never got rid of her ring. After some time apart, Boxleitner gave Gilbert a call in an effort to patch things up. Eventually, he convinced her to fly to Montreal, where he was located at the time, for a romantic weekend. There, they rekindled things and, just like that, the wedding was back on.

Melissa Gilbert and Bruce Boxleitner’s wedding

“Other than the fact that it was next to impossible to get roses and hydrangeas in Los Angeles the day before the Rose Parade, wedding plans could not have gone smoother,” Gilbert wrote in her book. “The ceremony took place in front of the fireplace in my mother’s living room with about forty-five guests, including family on Bruce’s side who had flown in from out of town.

“Votive candles gave the house a soft, romantic glow, the music was perfect, and the Jewish ceremony included five minutes of standup from the rabbi and his brother that left all of us laughing and crying.”

Melissa Gilbert with husband Bruce Boxleitner arriving at the NBC 75th Anniversary Celebration at Rockefeller Plaza in New York City.
Melissa Gilbert and Bruce Boxleitner | Evan Agostini/ImageDirect

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Gilbert and Boxleitner anticipated paparazzi. So after the ceremony ended, they had a plan in place.

“At the end of the evening, a decoy limo zoomed down the driveway to a chorus of fake good-byes, distracting the crew of paparazzi that had waited all night in the street for us to leave,” she wrote. “Then Bruce and I hopped in his Ford Explorer and drove to my house without anyone following us.”

The honeymoon

Gilbert’s son was at her ex-husband Bo Brinkman‘s house so she and Boxleitner had the place to themselves.

“I had prepared the bed with fresh linens and rose petals, readied an ice bucket with champagne, and set out a negligee that I thought guaranteed our first night as a married couple would be memorable,” she wrote. “Instead, we sat on the living room sofa and talked in a state of disbelief, wonder, and joy about how we had gone all the way.”

After several hours of “I can’t believe we’re married,” the couple “fell asleep in each other’s arms.”

“Our honeymoon lasted all of the following day and then we were both back at work,” she wrote.

Gilbert and Boxleitner preferred to keep things simple.