Melissa Gilbert: Hollywood’s mentality is ‘not allowing women to age or gain weight’

Chasing The River Play Reading For Joyful Heart Foundation
I used to think First for Women and Women’s World were competing weekly magazines, but they’re put out by the same company, Bauer Media. Both are apparently bestsellers, which is surprising. Melissa Gilbert, 53, has a new cover interview with First for Women in which she reveals that she had to have her breast implants removed. She also talks candidly about the fact that she’s had basically the works – “nose job, boob job, fillers and Botox” but says that she’s now “trying to embrace aging.” I guess that’s relative in her circle. She’s been married to Timothy Busfield since 2013. She gushes about him in this interview and calls him a true partner. I’ve heard some really troubling things about him, but maybe he’s changed. Regardless I like how candid Melissa is in this interview.

Actress Melissa Gilbert… credits time away from the spotlight with her husband of four years, Timothy Busfield, with helping her find the confidence to try new career opportunities, like off-Broadway plays. “I finally feel as if I have a true partnership in life — someone who believes in me and encourages me to stretch myself in so many different ways,” says Melissa. “My life is insanely full.”

“There’s this mentality in Hollywood of not allowing women to age or gain weight or to simply be themselves,” Melissa tells FIRST for Women of the pressure to look a certain way.

“I went down the road that everyone else does—nose job, boob job, fillers and Botox, but no more! I had my breast implants removed and I’m no longer doing fillers or Botox because I’m a 53-year-old woman and I’m trying to embrace this process of aging.”

That shift has helped Melissa finally silence her inner critic. “I’m grateful to my body for holding up through some major health issues and serious surgeries,” she says.

“Right now I’m physically pain-free and relatively healthy and strong. I have the joy of being able to work on these incredible projects and live a life of fun and freedom with a man I adore and who cherishes and adores me back,” she explains to FIRST. “By and large, the body image thing doesn’t come into play anymore.”

[From First for Women]

I went down the road that everyone else does.” Not everyone! Those of us in the rural areas notice when people have botox or fillers (unless it’s exceptionally well done) because it’s rare. All of Gilbert’s coworkers and friends probably do it, and it must seems normal and expected to her. Good for her for admitting it and deciding not to do it anymore. It’s got to be particularly hard to get your breast implants removed. Melissa wrote at the time she had them removed, in December 2014, that she hated the way they looked and felt. “Frankly, I’d like to be able to take a Zumba class without the fear that I’ll end up with two black eyes.

Embed from Getty Images

The love of my life. #blessedwife

A post shared by Melissa Gilbert (@melissaellengilbertbusfield) on

Photos credit: WENN, Getty and Instagram/Melissa Gilbert

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

34 Responses to “Melissa Gilbert: Hollywood’s mentality is ‘not allowing women to age or gain weight’”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Amy Tennant says:

    I want to make a bad half-pint joke about the implants, but I won’t. It’s great to see her, and I think she looks fantastic.

  2. Snowflake says:

    Omg, I grew up with half pint! This makes me feel really old!

    • Amy Tennant says:

      She played Ma for a while on the stage in a Little House show!

      One summer I read all the autobiographies I could find of the Little House actors. Hers was good. Melissa Sue Anderson’s was disappointing. Alison Arngrim’s Confessions of a Prairie Bitch was the showstopper though. I highly recommend it! I never thought I’d end up adoring the actress who played Nellie Oleson after growing up seeing her being so mean on the series!

      • manda says:

        Ooh, thanks for the rec! I clicked on this article because of my lifelong little house “obsession” too (in quotes because not really an obsession per se, but what is like a medium obsession? Something that I have always held onto, for like 30+ years, but don’t REALLY think about all the time? I guess “interest” would work but doesn’t seem strong enough)

      • Katy says:

        Manda , you should see my groaning bookshelves 🙂 I spent two summers working at the Walnut Grove museum in MN. SO much fun.

      • Amy Tennant says:

        I can also recommend the Wilder Life, if you haven’t read it yet 😀

        Katy, I’m jealous! I want to do a Little House trip sometime. Start in Wisconsin, and go west and visit all the museum sites.

      • Betsy says:

        Confessions of a Prairie Bitch is one of my re-reads. AlthPugh I would like to warn anyone who was a sexual assault victim that that’s covered pretty heavily.

        My distant family may have owned the hotel in Burr Oak, IA where the Ingalls family lived briefly. Many of my ancestors are buried in the little cemetery there. Her politics (and Rose’s) were kind of to totally icky, but I was all in with Laura as a child.

      • manda says:

        Katy, OMG! I have always wanted to go there!! Did you wear period attire?

        Amy Tennant, oh! I hadn’t heard of that one!

        Betsy, yes, I did read something somewhere about the little house books being libertarian propaganda, but whatever, I loved those books and that show when I was a kid. I don’t know how or if they molded me, but I will say I always think back to the long winter when it is super cold outside. Their house was totally buried!!

  3. KNy says:

    I think when she says that she went down the plastic surgery road that “everyone else does,” she is referring to Hollywood, not the general public. And she’s probably very correct – everyone gets tweaked. Even the very attractive people who don’t need it will have *something* done.

    • Jayna says:

      Well, there is nothing wrong with getting tweaked and feeling good about yourself as you age if that’s what you want. Some are happy without doing anything. Everyone ages differently. I say each to his own. It’s the people who look fake and unnatural that are disturbing. It’s not just in Hollywood. A great many of my friends do tweaks.

      Whatever 56-year-old Julianne Moore, 59-year-old Sharon Stone, and 71-year-old Susan Sarandon are doing is fine by me. They look amazing and natural, and look like themselves with little tweaks we will never see, and not overdone or like a face or cheeks or lips they never had before or a frozen face and/or pulled look or high eyebrows pulled up too high from botox or lift.

      • KNy says:

        It’s not an indictment against them, I was just clarifying because I think Melissa meant that it’s a standard thing in Hollywood while the author said that plastic surgery, etc., was rare in rural areas.

        In addition, many don’t wait until they’re out of their 20’s or 30’s to start, so it’s not just Julianne Moore touching herself up – I think the point of what Melissa was trying to make is that there’s a pressure to do this. It’s not just so you can feel good about yourself. There’s an expectation and pressure for women – young and old – in the business.

      • Jeannie says:

        I have female relatives that are on the older side, and I know that they still want to look pretty and feel sexy and be appreciated. That doesn’t stop at a certain age, and we should stop acting like it does. I’m sure I’ll feel that way when I get there. I thought her joke abt the Zumba class was really funny.

      • Amy Tennant says:

        My mother always told me when I was growing up that she felt just the same at 40 and 50 and 60 as she did when she was 20, and it was strange to look different on the outside. Now that I’ve crossed that threshold, I know she was right.

      • Betsy says:

        They look great (except for Susan. Her nasty keeps leaky out I her appearance), but let’s not kid ourselves that any of those three women look terribly natural. Subtle surgery still shows.

    • Mrs.Krabapple says:

      I never cared if actresses have work done, because I blame Hollywood for creating the atmosphere where they HAVE to do it in order to keep getting roles. But what I don’t like and will judge them on is when they lie about it. Because first, it’s insulting to the public that they think we’re so stupid and blind that we can’t see the truth. And second, it’s egotistical to lie, “OTHER women get wrinkled and saggy with age, but I don’t. OTHER women need to have work done to look younger, but I don’t — I’m just so much more genetically superior than other women.” Please, we’re not blind. Just admit it. Society knows it’s Hollywood’s fault.

  4. Nev says:

    I like her!! Remember back in the day when she dated Rob Lowe, thought they were a attractive couple haha good for her for accepting herself more.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    I watched the show griqing up, but never thought she was all that attractive. I always wondered what Bruce Boxleitner saw in her.

    • paranormalgirl says:

      Her personality, perhaps? Maybe she was beautiful to him.

      • Amy Tennant says:

        In my opinion, she was prettier in real life than on the show. The prairie makeover wasn’t the most flattering. Plus she had to play grown-up storylines when she was still in what was most of our baby-fat years, because Laura got married so young. I thought she was pretty, anyway. And thanks for saying that, paranormalgirl! I think you are right!

        She did tell a story about meeting Bruce backstage at Circus of the Stars or something when he was on Scarecrow and Mrs. King and she was on Little House, and she had such a crush on him. And at the time he was a grown man and she was a kid, and he didn’t even remember that they’d met.

      • holly hobby says:

        They were on Battle of the Network Stars I think. I still remember Howard Cosell calling her “little Melissa Gilbert.” Hahah.

  6. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I bet she has some good Michael Landon stories. I grew up with half-pint too, lol, one show my mom was always on board with because duh. I can still hear that theme song and half-pint appearing on the wheat-colored horizon, running downhill with her sisters amongst the wildflowers. I actually tried revisiting LHOTP a few years ago to satisfy some nostalgic notion but nope. Couldn’t make it five minutes lol.

    • Betsy says:

      I tried that, too, but I accidentally watched the episode where Ma gets blood poisoning in her leg and takes a knife to it. Some thing about that show take me back to a place where I am still frightened like a child.

  7. Froggy says:

    Wasn’t there news years ago about her husband being some kind of molester or am I thinking of someone else?
    Edit: I googled. It was him. No charges filed

  8. adastraperaspera says:

    She’s right. As long as men write, produce and direct all the stories, and own all media, representations of women will be frozen in time to look like variations of the 1979 Farrah Fawcett poster.

  9. Sassenach says:

    I’m really tired of hearing older actresses whining about aging and having a lack of roles. Besides Jennifer Lawrence there are no other younger actresses that get roles. They all go to the same 5-10 over 40 actresses that we’ve been seeing for over twenty years and that’s still not enough for them…Enough already

    • noway says:

      I don’t think that is an accurate statement. There aren’t many good roles for women period, but if you look at movies that have generated the most money last few years, the few that have a true women lead have younger women, Gal Gadot, Emma Watson, Daisey Ridley, Dakota Johnson, etc. If you go by awards you still have a lot of younger women, i.e. Emma Stone, Margot Robbie, Brie Larson, Sairoise Ronan, Natalie Portman, Michelle Williams, etc. Not exactly just the older actresses. My problem is not just that women have limited representation in movies, but also why is it that the male older actor, Liam Neeson, Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, among others are paired with the actresses 15-20 years or more younger.

      I liked her interview, especially calling Hollywood out. Yes there are a few actresses who look amazing with all the tweeks, but the majority look terrible, and it should stop, especially if they aren’t doing it for themselves, but for some crazy definition of beauty we now have.

    • Valiantly Varnished says:

      I’m sorry but this comment is just dumb. And not factual. If Jennifer Lawrence got every makor role we wouldn’t have the following major under 30 female stars: Margot Robbie, Scarlett Johansson, Gal Gadot, Emma Watson, Emma Stone, Brie Larson, Dakota Johnson, Alicia Vikander, Natalie Portman, Saoirae Ronan, Daisy Ridley, Amber Heard, Michelle Williams… the list goes on and on. Jennifer Lawrence was playing roles meant for women over 30 when she was in her early twenties. Even SHE has talked about that.

  10. khaveman says:

    Good for her to speak her mind and follow that natural path. Love her attitude! Basically if there were more female directors calling the shots the narrative would potentially change. I think it would be refreshing to see that shift. America has a lot of talented writers and voices!

  11. holly hobby says:

    I think she looks great! When she was president of SAG, she looked really different. She had major botox face. I am so glad she decided to let that go. She looks like a more mature version of her Little House self. That’s not bad. You can still recognize her!

  12. Nikki says:

    Hollywood DOESN’T let women get old, unless they’re evil or dotty, and neither does Madison Avenue. Gotta write our own scripts every day, ladies!

  13. chrizzli says:

    OF COURSE I want to love her – wholesome little girl from the house on the prairie, and we’re born the same year, too! Her eyes, her smile, so natural and lovely, then and now. BUT… is that REAL animal fur/skin she’s wearing?? 🙁 🙁