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Young love between celebrities is often the subject of adoration and speculation among fans, and Melissa Gilbert and Rob Lowe‘s past relationship is no exception. Gilbert started dating Lowe when she was 17 years old, and the couple dated for several years. Lowe proposed to Gilbert, but the relationship ended a year after he proposed.

In a 2009 interview, Gilbert revealed that the two broke up after discovering Gilbert was pregnant. After their breakup, Gilbert had a miscarriage. While Gilbert found the breakup to be “devastating,” looking back, the actor understands why the two ended their relationship.

Rob Lowe Melissa Gilbert
Rob Lowe and Melissa Gilbert | Donaldson Collection/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Melissa Gilbert fell in love with Rob Lowe

Gilbert became famous for her role as Laura Ingalls Wilder on Little House on the Prairie. The show ran from 1974 to 1983, and Gilbert got her start as a child actor on the show.

In 2009, Gilbert published her memoir Prairie Tale: A Memoir. The memoir details Gilbert’s life after the show, and she describes what it was like falling for Lowe after they started dating.

“I fell instantly, hopelessly and stupidly in love,” she wrote in the book according to Today. “We went from first date to instant couple. I felt like I was starving for Rob.”

Melissa Gilbert and Rob Lowe broke off their engagement

While Gilbert and Lowe had strong feelings for one another, there were rumors of infidelity throughout their relationship. In 1986, Lowe proposed and Gilbert accepted. While they were engaged, Gilbert discovered she was pregnant.

This caused Lowe to realize that he was not ready to get married or become a father. The two ended their relationship after a year of being engaged. After they broke up, Gilbert had a miscarriage.

“I had lost my baby and my relationship with Rob… and it hurt like hell,” Gilbert wrote in Prairie Tale: A Memoir.

What the ‘Little House on the Prairie’ actor thinks about the relationship now

After releasing her memoir, Gilbert spoke to Today‘s Erin Burnett. In the interview, Gilbert admitted that her breakup with Lowe occurred because of their age.

“We broke up. It ran its course. I think we were just too young,” she said in the interview.

Gilbert also acknowledged that because she is older, she has a better understanding of how Lowe viewed their relationship.

“It was very, very painful. It was a very dark and difficult time for me… Now that I have children that are his age — my older boys are 28 and 23, the age he was when we were together — I understand it. But at the time it was devastating,” Gilbert told Burnett.


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While Gilbert experienced a tumultuous life after Little House on the Prairie, she does not have any regrets about past relationships or choices she made.

“Everything, no matter how painful, led me to this place I am right now, which is really an amazing place to be,” the actor told Burnett. “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.”