Melissa Gilbert Learned Rob Lowe Was Cheating on Her Thanks To a Hotel Operator — ‘Don’t F*ck With America’s Sweetheart’

Melissa Gilbert and Rob Lowe had been together for a few years when the A New Kind of Family actor filmed The Hotel New Hampshire. When Lowe began filming in Montreal, Gilbert was mourning the end of Little House on the Prairie. So he invited her to come hang out with him and the rest of the cast for a couple of weeks. Once there, Gilbert immediately felt suspicious of her boyfriend’s relationship with his co-star, Nastassja Kinski. As it turns out, she was right to feel suspicious.

Melissa Gilbert and Rob Lowe
Melissa Gilbert and Rob Lowe | The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

When Melissa Gilbert first became suspicious of Rob Lowe cheating on her with Nastassja Kinski

Initially, Gilbert would visit Lowe on set as he did his scenes. But when it came time for him to act with Kinski, he didn’t want her there.

After a day of filming scenes with Kinski, Lowe would return to the hotel and have dinner with Gilbert. And they spent the weekends partying with the rest of the cast.

“But he still wasn’t allowing me on the set,” Gilbert wrote in her memoir, Prairie Tale. “I began to sense something missing between us. All signs pointed to one reason, and I started to freak out about Nastassja. In person, she was gorgeous. I could only imagine her effect on Rob.”

When Melissa Gilbert returned to Los Angeles, she couldn’t get a hold of Rob Lowe

When Gilbert returned home to Los Angeles, she had a hard time reaching Lowe back in Montreal.

Rob Lowe and Melissa Gilbert
Rob Lowe and Melissa Gilbert | Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

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“He wouldn’t be in the room when I would call,” wrote Gilbert. “Nor could the production office find him when I tried there. He would call me at his convenience, but then he skipped calling for a day or two. I knew what was going on.”

A hotel operator told Melissa Gilbert Rob Lowe was cheating on her

One night, after trying to get a hold of Lowe in his hotel room yet again, a hotel operator picked up and asked Gilbert if she’d like to leave a message.

“Frustrated, I asked her to ring his room again,” wrote Gilbert. “Instead of saying ‘of course,’ she paused. She must have thought long and hard about what to do because a moment later she sighed and said, ‘Miss Gilbert, shall I ring Miss Kinski’s room?'”

“Excuse me?” said Gilbert.

“Mr. Lowe just asked for a wake-up call from Miss Kinski’s room,” said the operator, “Would you still like me to put you through?”

Gilbert declined her offer. Instead, she booked a flight to Montreal for the next day so she could confront Lowe in person.

When Melissa Gilbert confronted Rob Lowe about cheating on her with Nastassja Kinski

Gilbert didn’t tell Lowe she was in Montreal, and she told the hotel staff not to tell him, either. The Little House on the Prairie actor arrived before her boyfriend was done filming for the day. The hotel let her put her things in his room and then she headed down to the lobby to wait for him.

Nastassja Kinski
Nastassja Kinski | PICOT/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

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When Lowe and Kinski walked in the doors, Gilbert watched “the blood drain from his face.” But he quickly changed his expression and greeted her excitedly, as “if he flipped a switch inside himself.”

Gilbert and Lowe went back to his hotel room where she confronted him. He denied that he was sleeping with Kinski, but Gilbert told him the operator had let her know he requested a wake-up call from her room.

“The hotel operator sold me out?” he asked. “Why the hell would she do that?”

“You don’t f*ck with America’s sweetheart,” replied Gilbert. And she walked out of his room and headed straight back to the airport to catch a flight home.