‘Little House on the Prairie’ Star Melissa Gilbert Used To ‘Make Out’ With Tom Cruise in Her Mother’s Living Room

Although Melissa Gilbert was a bonafide celebrity by the time she entered her teenage years, she didn’t have luck in the dating department. Growing up, she briefly dated her Little House on the Prairie co-star, Michael Landon’s son. She eventually had a high-profile relationship with Rob Lowe, which resulted in a year-long engagement. 

In her 2010 memoir, Prairie Tale, Gilbert revealed that she and Tom Cruise briefly dated in the 1980s. 

L-R: Actors Rob Lowe, Melissa Gilbert, Michelle Meyrink and Tom Cruise smile while attending a screening of the telefilm 'In The Custody oif Strangers' at the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre, Beverly Hills, California, April 22, 1982.
Rob Lowe, Melissa Gilbert, Michelle Meyrink and Tom Cruise|Fotos International/Getty Images

Melissa Gilbert never got asked out in high school

Gilbert booked Little House on the Prairie when she was 11. The show became a hit soon after it premiered on NBC on September 11, 1974. The fame from the series affected the pre-teen’s real life. While she worked on Little House, Gilbert attended The Buckley School in Los Angeles for high school. 

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The actor wrote in Prairie Tale that the boys at her school ignored her. 

“All I craved was to be cool and have a boyfriend,” she wrote. “Despite my efforts, both seemed hopelessly out of reach.”

At her 20-year reunion, she learned that she couldn’t get a date because her classmates “figured I was dating movie stars,” like her homecoming date, Scott Baio

Melissa Gilbert and Tom Cruise dated when he moved to LA

Cruise and Gilbert connected during her time as Laura Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie. She was 16 when she met the Top Gun actor. The pair saw each other at an event for Emilio Estevez. He was 19 and new to LA when they got together. The actor also went by the name Tom Mapother.

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After their first meeting, The Miracle Worker star went on a few dates with Cruise. They started to see each other following her relationship with her Splendor in the Grass co-star, Cyril O’Reilly. During the romance, Gilbert shared that she and Cruise mainly kissed at her mother’s house. 

“We went on a couple of dates and made out in my mom’s living room,” she wrote. “He was nice, funny, and sweet. But it wasn’t like being hit with an arrow.”

Melissa Gilbert described Cruise as a ‘good kisser’ 

Once they decided to part ways, Gilbert and Cruise moved on to other relationships. The Hometown Christmas actor started dating Lowe when she turned 17. Cruise became a member of the infamous Brat Pack, which consisted of actors like Demi Moore and Ally Sheedy. 

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Gilbert briefly spoke to Andy Cohen about dating Cruise on Watch What Happens Live. During the show, she confirmed that what she wrote in her memoir regarding their relationship was established. However, the actor said their romance never went further than kissing. 

“I did not have sex with him. We made out, but honestly, there was no sex,” Gilbert said. “He was a good kisser.” 

The Laura Ingalls star also shared why a long-term relationship with Cruise didn’t work back then. She said that his focus was on his career, which she supported. 

“You know, he was like a struggling, starving actor, and I was working,” she said. “I actually bought him his first set of dishes.”