‘Little House on the Prairie’: Melissa Gilbert’s Tattoos Have Very Personal Meanings

Little House on the Prairie star Melissa Gilbert once explained the very personal meanings behind her many tattoos. Her tattoos are special to her and some of them share a common theme: family.

Melissa Gilbert at the Women In Business Breakfast
Melissa Gilbert | Monica Schipper/Getty Images

Does Melissa Gilbert have tattoos and what do they mean?

Gilbert revealed the meaning of her tattoos during a 2012 interview with Access Hollywood, while she was competing on Dancing With the Stars, and shared that she has seven tattoos.

“I think I’ve always just been me,” she said at the time. “Even when I was playing Laura on Little House on the Prairie, that wasn’t me, that was just me in that dress. So inside me has always been the same person — a little wild, a little rebellious, very analytical, very emotional, and basically a happy person.”

Gilbert shared the meanings behind two of those tattoos. “I have my father’s initials tattooed on one part of my arm,” she said of her late father Paul Gilbert, who passed away in 1975.

Inside of her wrist, she has her family’s motto: “Love. Trust. Hope. Believe.”

While she didn’t go into too much detail about her tattoos, she did explain the importance of them. “It’s such a long story for each of them … Going through difficult times, mourning the loss of my father a second time, actually, as an adult,” Gilbert noted.

She continued, “And my family went through some tough stuff this year and I felt the need to put the motto on my arm.” She filed for divorce from her husband of 16 years, Bruce Boxleitner, in August 2011.

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Will she get more tattoos?

At the time, Gilbert noted of the tattoos, “There’s a few everywhere. I like them,” but she admitted she probably would not be getting more.

“They all have meaning,” Gilbert noted. “There’s nothing frivolous tattooed on my body. I have seven. I think I have my quota.”

She did consider one exception — a tribute to her DWTS partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy. “Maybe a big ‘Maks’ just across the back of my neck,” she said with a laugh.

“My face!,” her partner suggested.

Gilbert thought of a better idea, joking she should get ink that reads: “‘I Survived Maks.’”

Gilbert wants to age gracefully

During a 2018 interview with Megyn Kelly on Today, Gilbert spoke about her time on Dancing With the Stars and how the experience helped her realize she would prefer to age gracefully.

“As the season progresses the costumes get skimpier, the ballroom dancers … are extraordinary glamorous, gorgeous people” she said, pointing out their perfect hair, makeup, spray tans, etc.

Gilbert said she spoke with her husband Timothy Busfield about her desire to not color her hair any longer. “He said, ‘Well, let it grow!'” she explained. “‘If it’s yours, it’s gorgeous. I’m sure it’s going to be fantastic, do it.'”

When Kelly asked what Gilbert is now rejecting in order to age as she should, she explained, “Plastic surgery of any kind, Botox, fillers … all of it.”

As for her breast implants, the actor said she got them removed. “That was the first conversation with my husband,” she explained.