‘Little House on the Prairie’: Michael Landon Secretly Kissed His Girlfriend By Sneaking Off to a Walnut Grove Set

Little House on the Prairie star Michael Landon experienced ups and downs in his career and personal life. One bright spot in his life was meeting his third wife, Cindy. Here’s what he once said about sneaking away to spend time with her.

Michael Landon’s first impression of Cindy Landon

Cindy and Michael Landon attend an event.
Cindy and Michael Landon | Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

In his final interview with Life magazine, Landon shares his thoughts about Cindy when he first met her. He describes being smitten during their first meeting. Cindy was hired to be a stand-in for the children on the set (Landon says Cindy was only 5 feet 2 and she was blond), and Landon had to focus a camera on her while she sat on a stump. He says he thought she was a “fascinating young woman,” and she had a great smile.

One thing Landon loved about Cindy was that she and the children on the set interacted with ease. “I watched her interact with the children on the set,” Landon tells Life. “Then I watched her interact with the children on the show. She was so open and natural and warm, and she had a great, great, laugh.” Landon says there was something about Cindy that was fascinating. He noticed how people seemed to gravitate toward her.

Michael Landon would meet Cindy on the set so they could hold hands and kiss

Landon was married to his second wife, Lynn Noe, at the time he began dating Cindy. He told Life that he felt guilty about his feelings for Cindy, but he felt so strongly for her that it was difficult to stay away. Landon tried to ignore his feelings for Cindy, but the more he did, the more his feelings intensified.

Landon and Cindy’s romance began after he asked if he could see her after a cast party. They met up and quickly became inseparable. Landon says he was so drawn to Cindy that he would sneak away and spend time with her on the Little House on the Prairie set.

“At lunchtime, I would meet her at one of the Walnut Grove sets so I could hold her hands and kiss her lips,” Landon said during his interview for Life. “The more I saw her, the more I loved her.”

Landon said it became clear Cindy was the woman he was supposed to be with. He also said he knew his decision would be painful for his wife and children, but he believed this was what he needed to do.

Karen Grassle says things were uncomfortable on the ‘Little House on the Prairie’ set

Although Landon and Cindy were trying to be discreet, the cast and crew became aware of the relationship. In her book Bright Lights, Prairie Dust, Grassle says she began noticing changes in Landon’s behavior.

Grassle says she noticed Landon would talk to Cindy longer than anyone else on the set. Later, she 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 choice made sense because Landon had been “wounded” by his mother. (She reportedly asked God to kill him.)

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