‘Little House on the Prairie’: Michael Landon’s Penis Isn’t What Karen Grassle Wanted to ‘Think About’

Michael Landon was married to his third wife, Cindy Landon (then known as Cindy Clerico), from 1983 until 1991. They had two children, Yellowstone star Jennifer Landon, and Sean Landon. Little House on the Prairie star Karen Grassle says things on the set were weird after her co-star began seeing Cindy. According to her, Landon began talking about his “revived libido.”

Karen Grassle says Michael Landon’s behavior began to change

Michael Landon as Charles Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie
Michael Landon | NBCU Photo Bank

In her book Bright Lights, Prairie Dust, Grassle says she began noticing subtle changes in Landon’s behavior. At first, she noticed he would talk to Cindy longer than anyone else on the set. Later, Grassle says Cindy loaned Landon a book titled My Mother, My Self, which was about the author’s (Nancy Friday) relationship with her mother. Grassle says this book was appropriate since Landon had been “wounded” by his mother. (She reportedly asked God to kill him.)

According to Grassle, Landon and Cindy began walking further away from the cast and crew so they could have conversations. She says everyone saw what was happening with Landon and Cindy (who was 18 years old at the time), but everyone “looked away.”

Karen Grassle didn’t want to ‘think about’ Michael Landon’s penis

Grassle says Landon suddenly became upbeat. According to her, he began talking about a bee pollen supplement he was taking that increased his sex drive. It isn’t too much of a surprise that interactions on the set of the family show became a bit uncomfortable.

“It was awkward as hell for us in the company,” wrote Grassle. She says she was “distressed” about the conversations Landon was reportedly engaging in on the set. “Mike’s open discussion of his revived libido distressed me,” says Grassle. “I didn’t want to think about his penis.” Grassle knew Landon’s wife at the time (Lynn Noe), and she felt bad about what was happening. Her heart went out to the couple’s children.

Michael Landon’s daughter also noticed a change

Grassle wasn’t the only person who noticed a change in Landon’s behavior. His daughter Cheryl (he adopted her during his relationship with his second wife) picked up on the change as well. In her book, I Promised My Dad, she wrote about that time in her life and how it affected her.  

“I saw Mom and Dad’s relationship had changed a few years after the move to Beverly Hills, during the seventeenth year of their marriage,” she wrote. “I never saw them fight, but when I came home from school, I sensed something was in the air.” Cheryl says Landon told her to talk to her mother, claiming he didn’t know “what got into her.”

Karen Grassle says TV work is hard on marriages

According to Grassle, working on a television series can be tough on a marriage. She says there were at least four divorces during her time on the show. Grassle noticed that one of the cameramen would make sure to call his wife as often as possible. He seemed aware of the job strains, and he wanted to do what he could to prevent his relationship from falling apart.

RELATED: ‘Little House on the Prairie’: Michael Landon Said He Was ‘As Insecure as Any Other Artist’

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