Melissa Gilbert and Rob Lowe Shared Many Wild Nights, Including 1 With Sammy Davis Jr., Liza Minnelli, and Andrew McCarthy

Melissa Gilbert catapulted to stardom when she was just 9 years old as Laura Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie. As a young adult, she was no stranger to L.A.’s late-night scene, where she “knew the hot restaurants, clubs, and exclusive haunts,” she writes in her memoir, Prairie Tale. At these elite establishments, Gilbert would often run into some of the biggest names in Hollywood at the time, which led to some particularly entertaining evenings. One night, Gilbert and her then-boyfriend, Rob Lowe, ended up at Sammy Davis Jr.’s in the midst of a wild night.

The 28th Annual GRAMMY Awards - Atlantic Records Party
Rob Lowe and Melissa Gilbert | Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Melissa Gilbert and Rob Lowe’s 6-year relationship

Melissa Gilbert and Rob Lowe started dating when they were 17 years old. In the beginning, they were inseparable.

“I never wanted to be away from his side,” wrote Gilbert. “We went from first date to instant couple—just add water. Almost overnight everything was suddenly all Rob or all Rob and Melissa.”

They were together, on and off, for about six years. Throughout that time, infidelity occurred on both sides. But after Lowe’s whirlwind romance with Princess Stephanie of Monaco, he told Gilbert that he didn’t want to live without her and proposed.

“I want you to marry me,” Gilbert recalls him saying. “I am formally asking for your hand in marriage. Will you marry me?”

Melissa Gilbert and Rob Lowe had a lot of fun together

Though their relationship wasn’t without drama, Gilbert and Lowe had a good time together in the ’80s. They attended premieres with the Rat Pack, frequented the most exclusive clubs and restaurants, and were on the list at Hollywood’s biggest parties.

One night, Gilbert and Lowe ended up at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago on the Sunset Strip with Andrew McCarthy.

Spago sign
Wolfgang Puck’s Spago | George Rose/Getty Images

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“At the time, Wolfgang Puck’s gourmet pizzeria on the Sunset Strip was Hollywood’s nighttime commissary,” wrote Gilbert. “Being there was like an A-list party with surprise guests.”

As Puck brought over appetizer pizzas, the group heard a loud, “Michael!”

“It was kind of amazing how the familiar voice pierced the dense hum of conversation from all the way across the restaurant,” wrote Gilbert. “I turned and saw Liza Minnelli flying over to our table. She kissed Michael, sat down between Andrew and me, ordered a greyhound, and stepped into our little party as if she’d been there from the start.”

When everyone was nearly finished with dessert, the group started discussing where they would head next. They decided to head to Sammy Davis Jr.’s house.

There, Gilbert learned Sammy Davis Jr. was friends with her grandfather. She also witnessed “a wigless Liza (the woman had six hairs on her head!).”

Gala Honoring Vincente Minnelli - February 6, 1977
Sammy Davis Jr. and Liza Minnelli | Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

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Eventually, the evening ended at Lowe’s manager’s apartment, where McCarthy and Minnelli started making out.

“Life was terribly fun,” wrote Gilbert.

Why Melissa Gilbert and Rob Lowe broke up

Not too long after Gilbert and Lowe got engaged, the Little House actor realized she was pregnant. She was ecstatic, but when she shared the news with Lowe, he didn’t share her enthusiasm. He told her he couldn’t be a father, husband, or boyfriend for that matter. So after an emotional goodbye, they parted ways. A short time later, Gilbert had a miscarriage.

“I had lost my baby and my relationship with Rob,” she wrote. “It hurt like hell.”