Melissa Gilbert is the daughter of Paul Gilbert, an artist, and Barbara Crane, an actress. The couple adopted Melissa as a baby, along with her brother and future “Little House on the Prairie” co-star Jonathan Gilbert. The family quickly began to unravel, and the blossoming child star took the brunt of it, as she explained to Oprah on “Where Are They Now” in 2014. “I had my own traumas and struggles families,” Melissa began.
“My father died when I was 11 years old. My parents divorced when I was six. My mother remarried several times. There was sadness and discomfort at home. Barbara and her second husband gave birth to “Roseanne” star Sara Gilbert. In her book, “Prairie Tale,” Melissa explained that Jonathan had become completely estranged from the family. “He turned eighteen and just disappeared,” she wrote. “I’ve only seen him three times in the past two decades. After her father’s death, Melissa learned that he had died of a stroke.
As an adult, she learned that he had in fact died by suicide. The ‘Family Secrets’ star had a hard time coming to terms with this, and she hired a private detective to uncover the truth. “I still sometimes wonder why I wasn’t enough to stay, and I think that’s something all kids whose parents kill themselves [feel] ,” Melissa shared with Oprah. “But he was in unbearable pain. I understand his decision and I honor that decision. »
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255).