After Two Failed Marriages, Melissa Gilbert Found New Love at 48 and Moved to a Quiet Cottage on the Mountainside

Melissa Gilbert became an actress at a young age, and has spent most of her life in Hollywood. But it wasn’t until she moved to a quiet cottage on the mountainside that she realized that this was the life she had always dreamed of. Now, she and her husband are enjoying their life in the countryside, spending time in the garden alone with nature.

Melissa Gilbert became famous when she was still a child, having starred in the TV series Little House on the Prairie. The girl enjoyed every moment on the set, as she loved playing on the farm. As the years passed, the actress grew and continued appearing in various films, all the while living in Hollywood. She married and divorced and underwent various procedures to keep herself looking young, but she only kept feeling more unhappy.

© Little House on the Prairie / NBC Productions and co-producers, Mary Evans / Allstar / Graham Whitby Boot / East News

In 2011, Melissa divorced her second husband and was having a hard time recovering. She got Botox injections, dyed her hair, bought herself a Mustang, started dating a young French guy, and joined the show Dancing with the Stars. It looked like she was enjoying doing whatever she wanted. But internally, she felt miserable.


Everything changed one evening in 2012, when Melissa met Timothy Busfield. He, too, had recently divorced. Neither of them were looking for a new relationship, but they ended up talking all night. Gradually, a relationship sparked between them. And just a year later, the couple got married. It was with Timothy that Melissa found her happiness.

Melissa and Timothy realised that they were tired of city life. So in 2018, they bought a small, dilapidated house on a mountainside, far away from big cities. Initially, the house wasn’t at all livable. There was no heating and the plumbing was flimsy, but the couple saw great potential in it. When they got there, the first night they slept on a mattress in the living room. It was then that Melissa knew that this place would become a real home for her.

I’d always wanted to have land, to have chickens, to have a garden, to be somewhat independent in many different ways, to also contribute to the plan, to give back, to try to leave a smaller carbon footprint and just be a conscientious human.

The couple restored the house with their own hands. Melissa started gardening and growing food. They started keeping chickens and living a quiet, peaceful life. The actress published a book called Back to the Prairie: A Home Remade, A Life Discovered, in which she described their home renovation experience and shared some gardening tips and even some recipes. She named the house Cabbage (a conflation of cabin and cottage). Her husband wrote the foreword to the book and it was a real love letter, so supportive was he of Melissa in everything.

Now that the actress lives in the countryside, she has to work hard around the house. As they have a wood-burning stove, she has to clean often, but she’s not at all discouraged by this. She describes her daily routine fondly: “My daily tasks are what I call my chicken chores every morning. So I go out, I clean out the coop, collect their eggs, and give them their morning treats. Then at the end of the day, they get to free range and get their evening treats. I turned over the garden and finally go to empty my compost.”

Here I am today in my 50s and I have chickens, and I’m happiest in my upstate home sitting in my recliner knitting. There’s a wonderful contentedness to my life today.

Melissa enjoys her quiet life in the cottage. She enjoys tending to her plants in the garden and is proud to show off her harvest. She herself says that here, alone with her husband and nature, she has finally found herself and has become truly happy.

I love the clean air of the Hudson Valley, the smell of the lakes, the colors of the trees, the beautiful change of seasons and just watching things come to life in the spring and bloom in the summer. The woods and wildlife are constantly trying to take back our property. That’s what nature does. We watch and care for the animals, the deer, the bears. We respect them. We love where we live. We love our neighbors, and I’m much happier here than I ever was in Hollywood.

The actress says that it was her involvement in the TV series Little House on the Prairie so long ago that inspired her to get the life she always dreamed of. Melissa admits that, of course, she misses her friends and family who still live in the city. But she and her husband visit them regularly. And they have never once regretted their decision to move to the countryside.

What experiences inspired you to make big changes in your life?

Cheery/People/After Two Failed Marriages, Melissa Gilbert Found New Love at 48 and Moved to a Quiet Cottage on the Mountainside
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