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  • Melissa Gilbert Through the Years

    A former president of the Screen Actors' Guild, Melissa Gilbert grew up in a Hollywood family. She got her big break at age 8 playing Laura Ingalls Wilder on the popular series "Little House on the Prairie."
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  • Melissa Gilbert Through the Years

    Karen Grassle played Gilbert's mother, Caroline Quiner Holbrook Ingalls. Here, they are shown in a scene from "Little House on the Prairie."
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  • Melissa Gilbert Through the Years

    Lindsay Greenbush, Michael Landon, Karen Grassle, Melissa Gilbert, and Melissa Sue Anderson, are shown in a publicity still for "Little House on the Prairie," circa 1974. Landon played "Pa" Ingalls, as well as produced the series, and was a father figure in real life to Gilbert.
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  • Melissa Gilbert Through the Years

    After starring in dozens of television commercials, Gilbert landed the role of Laura Ingalls on "Little House."
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  • Melissa Gilbert Through the Years

    Melissa Gilbert is shown at the Primetime Emmy Awards, Sept. 9, 1979.
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  • Melissa Gilbert Through the Years

    Melissa Gilbert is shown at the Kahala Hotel, March 29, 1980.
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  • Melissa Gilbert Through the Years

    Canadian actor Dean Butler played Gilbert's husband, Almanzo James Wilder, in the series' later years. Here, they are shown in publicity still for "Little House on the Prairie."
    NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
  • Melissa Gilbert Through the Years

    By her late teens, Gilbert rebelled against her perfect prairie girl image. At 17, she began dating Rob Lowe, shown here with her in 1982, and fell "instantly, hopelessly and stupidly in love," she wrote in her 2009 memoir. She also began living the party lifestyle -- snorting cocaine and drinking and allegedly cheating on Lowe with Tom Cruise and Scott Baio.
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  • Melissa Gilbert Through the Years

    Despite infidelity on both sides, Lowe, shown here with Gilbert in Oct. 1987, proposed to her in 1986 but broke off the engagement after she told him that she was pregnant with his child. Gilbert later had a miscarriage. "We broke up. It ran its course. I think we were just too young," Gilbert told the "Today" show in 2009.
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  • Melissa Gilbert Through the Years

    After an alcohol-fueled marriage to actor Bo Brinkman, the father of her son, Dakota, Gilbert went on to marry "Scarecrow and Mrs. King" star Bruce Boxleitner in 1995. They raised four boys together, including their son Michael, named after Landon, and Boxleitner's two sons from a previous marriage.
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  • Melissa Gilbert Through the Years

    In August 2011, Gilbert, filed for divorce from Boxleitner, ending their 16-year marriage five months after they announced their separation. Gilbert cited "irreconcilable differences" as the reason.
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  • Melissa Gilbert Through the Years

    In 2009, Gilbert published her autobiography, "Prairie Tale: A Memoir" describing her battles with drug and alcohol abuse and co-dependence on men. Gilbert told "Today" that she realized she had a drinking problem after passing out drunk in the dog bed while a friend was over for dinner. She later sought help from a therapist and attended AA meetings to get sober.
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  • Melissa Gilbert Through the Years

    Gilbert paired up with Maksim Chmerkovskiy for season 14 of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars." For her last performance, they were joined by Chmerkovskiy's brother Val Chmerkovskiy for a samba trio.
    Adam Taylor/ABC
  • Melissa Gilbert Through the Years

    Gilbert got the boot from "Dancing with the Stars" on her 48th birthday. Wiping away tears, she said, "I can't even describe what a learning and growing experience this has been. It's been a real blessing and a joy. Maks (Chmerkovskiy) has been amazing. An incredible teacher. An incredible friend."
    Adam Taylor/ABC
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