Melissa Gilbert Describes the ‘Panic Stricken’ Look on Rob Lowe’s Face After She Told Him She Was Pregnant With His Child

Little House on the Prairie’s Melissa Gilbert was in a long-term relationship with Rob Lowe throughout the 1980s. The young couple couldn’t seem to get enough of each other during the honeymoon stage of their relationship, and Gilbert claims they were hopelessly in love at the time.

But despite how happy they seemed on the outside, their relationship faced several hurdles behind closed doors. Lowe was unwilling to commit to Gilbert and would frequently cheat on her with his co-stars. And when he found out his then-girlfriend was pregnant with his child, all hell broke loose. In a state of panic, Lowe told Gilbert that he wasn’t ready to be a father.

Rob Lowe
Rob Lowe in 1985 | Walter McBride/Corbis via Getty Images

Rob Lowe proposed to Melissa Gilbert while she was in a serious relationship with someone else

Lowe and Gilbert had an on-again/off-again relationship for several years. And during one of the “off-again” periods when they were broken up with each other, Lowe shocked Gilbert by getting down on one knee.

Rob Lowe and Melissa Gilbert
Rob Lowe and Melissa Gilbert | Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images

“Will you marry me?” He asked.

Gilbert said nothing. She was shocked. Where was this all coming from? Not months before, he told her that he wanted to see other people. And now he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her? Gilbert wasn’t buying it.

To make matters more complicated, she was already in a serious relationship with another man.

“I was at a complete loss,” Gilbert writes in her memoir, Prairie Tale. “I was totally thrown! Finally, I said, ‘Rob, it’s just too much. Go away. Give me some time, and I will give you an answer.”

Gilbert spent days trying to think it through, even going so far as to write a “Pros and Cons” list about marrying Lowe. On the one hand, she had never loved anyone as much as him. On the other hand, he was a notorious cheater.

But despite her gut telling her not to go through with it, Gilbert agreed to his proposal.

Bad mistake.

Melissa Gilbert got pregnant with Rob Lowe’s baby, and it freaked him out

Rob Lowe
Rob Lowe at Palladium for party honoring Madonna | David Mcgough/Getty Images

RELATED: ‘Little House on the Prairie’s’ Melissa Gilbert Once Said Rob Lowe ‘Ruined’ Her Life

During Gilbert’s engagement with Lowe, she learned that she was pregnant with his child. Although this news terrified her, considering she was only 22 and not yet married, she knew they would be able to make it work.

A few days later, Gilbert broke the news to Lowe that she was pregnant. Yet to her chagrin, her fiancé didn’t seem excited. In fact, he looked utterly horrified.

“I saw the look on his face change from shocked to positively panic-stricken,” she writes of Lowe’s reaction. “It was like I had stepped into a bottomless pit. I felt the terror of falling and no one to catch me.”
“I can’t be a father,” Lowe told Gilbert. “I can’t be a husband. Melissa, I can’t be a boyfriend right now either… I’m so sorry. It’s over.”

Melissa Gilbert has come to terms with her breakup and is now happily married

As heartbroken as Gilbert was, she has since come to terms with their breakup. Despite how much it pained her at the time, she believes it led her to the happy marriage she is currently in with her new husband.

“Everything, no matter how painful, led me to this place I am right now, which is really an amazing place to be,” she revealed on The Today Show. “I have a really peaceful, happy life. I have these great, confident kids. I’m married to a man I’m absolutely crazy about, who cherishes me. It’s a real gift.”