Melissa Gilbert played Laura Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie from 1974 to 1983. She didn’t have a lot of friends, but there were women she became very close to. At one point, Gilbert says her mother asked her if she was a lesbian.
Melissa Gilbert’s mother helped her find a new friend
Gilbert spent most of her childhood and young adult years on the set of Little House on the Prairie. Unfortunately, this didn’t leave a lot of time to socialize and make friends outside work. In her autobiography Prairie Tale, she also says she didn’t have a lot of friends because they would become instantly star-struck by her boyfriend at the time, Rob Lowe.
When Gilbert turned 20 years old, her mother suggested a new friend. “My mom thought we would make great friends,” wrote Gilbert. At first, she resisted. However, when she found herself with two tickets to a Genesis concert, she decided to make a phone call and invite the young woman to come along.
Before she knew it, Gilbert and her new friend, Katie Wagner (the daughter of actor Robert Wagner), were inseparable. She liked the fact that Wagner didn’t become googly eyed over her Lowe.
Melissa Gilbert’s mother asked if she was a lesbian
During a vacation in Europe with her mother, Gilbert saw Jodie Foster on a movie set. She decided to go up to her and say hello. Gilbert says Foster asked if she wanted to hang out at her apartment. She says they had a “delicious dinner” at a local café. Since it was getting late, Gilbert spent the night with the Silence of the Lambs actor.
Gilbert says her mother had a look of concern on her face when she came back to her hotel room the next morning. She then asked Gilbert if she was a lesbian. At the time, there were rumors Foster was a lesbian (Foster came out years later at the 2013 Golden Globes), so her mother assumed Gilbert must be one too since she spent the night.
After Gilbert told her mother she wasn’t a lesbian, she responded by saying, “Well, you know what they say about Jodie.” She told her mother she didn’t care about Foster’s sexual orientation and that she is a nice person.
“I spent the night at her house. Big deal,” wrote Gilbert. “That doesn’t make me a lesbian. I’m a very heterosexual woman. In fact, maybe too heterosexual.”
Melissa Gilbert had friends on the set of ‘Little House on the Prairie’
Although it was difficult for Gilbert to make friends, she did have friends on the set of Little House on the Prairie. One of her best friends was Alison Arngrim, who played Nellie Olsen.
“Though she was my great rival on the show, Alison and I became instant friends from the moment I confided, ‘There’s only one mean person on the show. Everyone else is great,’” wrote Gilbert.
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