‘Little House on the Prairie’ Star Michael Landon Felt Guilty Over His Troubled Daughter: ‘If She Didn’t Exist, I Wouldn’t Feel All This Pain’
Those who’ve watched Little House on the Prairie know all about Michael Landon. Landon played Charles Ingalls on the show, and we’ve learned a ton about his home life when he was a child and his multiple marriages as an adult. And it seems he had one daughter who was particularly challenging.
Here’s what Landon said about his daughter’s troubles and why he felt extremely guilty about some of his own parenting thoughts.
Michael Landon from ‘Little House on the Prairie’ had 9 kids across 3 marriages
Landon had a difficult childhood, and this ultimately led him to choosing TV roles where he could play a family man. As for his personal life, it’s no secret that Landon had three marriages. When he divorced his second wife, Lynn Noe, it caused a huge scene, as he then married a much-younger makeup artist from Little House on the Prairie.
Despite some of his personal controversies, Landon made it a point to maintain good relationships with his nine kids. Mark Fraser Landon was Landon’s first kid, as he was his first wife’s son he adopted as his own. Josh Fraser Landon was also the son of Landon’s first wife, Dodie Levy-Fraser.
Landon then went on to take additional children under his wing when he married Noe. And he had more children that were related to him by blood later on in life — though he made sure everyone knew he considered the kids he adopted to be his own.
“I hate it when someone calls them ‘adopted’ …. They’re my sons — period,” he told People regarding Mark and Josh, according to Wide Open Country.
Landon talked about parenting his troubled daughter
Landon’s personal troubles didn’t stop with his multiple public romances. It seems he endured a few tricky situations when it came to his kids. Back in 1983, The Washington Post published an interview with him where he talked about his troubled daughter, Cheryl Landon
Cheryl was Noe’s daughter from a previous marriage, and Landon noted she was taking Miltown, a drug similar to Valium.
“I suspected it during her last two years of high school,” he said. “Then she went to the University of Arizona. And I used all the excuses; no matter what she told me I would believe because I wanted to believe.”
Landon then noted Cheryl’s drug use increased, and she almost died at the age of 19 due to an overdose. He ultimately sent her to a drug rehabilitation program in California, and after a few years, she came out on top.
While Cheryl was unwell, Landon noted he started having seriously guilty thoughts about his daughter. “You get very guilty about some of the feelings you have about your own child, one of which is, ‘I wish she did not exist,'” he told The Washington Post. “‘If she didn’t exist, I wouldn’t feel all this pain.'”
Landon had plenty of personal troubles of his own when growing up
In the same Washington Post piece, Landon mentioned he also dealt with an addiction to Miltown for a period of time when he was filming for Bonanza. While it was prescribed to him for anxiety, he ultimately got to a point where he was taking 50 to 60 pills per day.
Thankfully, he found his way out of his Miltown addiction. But his troubles started way earlier than when he was famous. Landon grew up bullied by the kids in his school, and he dealt with his mother’s suicidal ideation. While he initially had hopes and dreams of becoming an all-star athlete, an injury derailed him. And he eventually found his way to show business, where he thrived.
As for Landon’s relationship with his daughter, Cheryl, it’s clear she cherished him until the day he died. She wrote a book, I Promised My Dad: An Intimate Portrait of Michael Landon, about their close bond.
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