Melissa Gilbert, 58, Says She Is ‘Excited’ by Aging After Quitting Botox and Leaving Hollywood

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Melissa Gilbert, 58, Says She Is ‘Excited’ by Aging After Quitting Botox and Leaving Hollywood
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  • Little House on the Prairie star Melissa Gilbert, 58, recently opened up about aging.

  • After growing up in Hollywood, she admits to having to “get out of Los Angeles to actually age.”

  • That’s why she now lives in a restored hunter’s cabin in upstate New York with her husband. “I’m finally happy in my own skin,” she said.

When 9-year-old Melissa Gilbert frolicked the fictional Minnesotan hills as Laura Ingalls “Half-Pint” Wilder in Little House on the Prairie, she had no idea how full-circle her life would come. Now in 2022, the 58-year-old actress and author of Back to the Prairie, (her new memoir) is happiest cleaning the chicken coop at her cabin in upstate New York.

But such contentment didn’t always come so easily. After graduating from child stardom, Gilbert found herself consumed by the superficial standards of Hollywood. Botox, plastic surgery and the like suddenly became her norm—especially after her 2011 divorce from ex-husband Bruce Boxleitner, which sent her into a stereotypical “mid-life crisis,” she writes in her book.

“As I discovered, being a single woman in your forties in Los Angeles is a whole different league of pressure,” she writes, per Page Six. “And being an actress looking for work in an industry obsessed with youth ratchets that up even further.”

Photo credit: NBC - Getty Images
Photo credit: NBC - Getty Images

In a new interview with Good Morning America, she admitted that she had to “get out of Los Angeles to actually age.”

“I finally woke up and went, ‘What am I doing? I look like a carrot top, and I’m not happy,’” she explained to People. “My mindset was, ‘You have to stay thin. You have to be seen in the right places, wear the right shoes and drive the right car.’ That was so drilled into me by all the outside forces. But it never sat right.”

After marrying Tim Busfield in 2013, the pair made the decision to get away from the youth-chasing hustle by first living in rural Michigan, she told GMA, and eventually moving to the Catskills where they found escape in restoring an old hunter’s cabin.

“I cut off all my hair and quit doing Botox and all that stuff,” she told People. And she’s so glad she did—in fact, she told GMA that aging excites her. I’m excited about this. I love all these changes and watching what’s happening and getting to know this new person,” she admitted. “I also feel so much stronger and I feel like I’ve really earned my opinions. And I know what I don’t want in life, which is a bigger deal than knowing what you do.”

Even better, she has decided to apply that wisdom and knowledge to a new project called Modern Prairie, a place on the internet where maturing women can go to empower each other and be empowered by embracing who they are rather than running from it.

“I was always trying too hard to fit the mold that someone else wanted,” Gilbert told People. “I’m finally happy in my own skin. I’m so grateful and relieved and so much happier.”

Gilbert’s book, Back to the Prairie: A Home Remade, A Life Rediscovered, is out now.

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