Melissa Gilbert is proud of her blended family, so it doesn’t come as a surprise she’ll share photos when they all get together. The Little House on the Prairie alum is the doting mom of two kids and the loving stepmom of five.
Melissa shares her eldest son, Dakota Brinkman, with her first husband, Bo Brinkman. The Thicker Than Water actress and the Last Man Club actor welcomed their only son together in 1989. The pair, who tied the knot in 1988, called it quits after six years of marriage in 1994.
The Golden Globe nominee gave birth to her youngest child, Michael Boxleitner, during her second marriage with Bruce Boxleitner. The couple welcomed their son in 1995, the same year they tied the knot.
Through her union with the Tron actor, Melissa also gained two stepchildren, Sam Boxleitner and Lee Boxleitner, whom Bruce shares with his first wife, Kathryn Holcomb. Even though the duo went their separate ways 16 years later in 2011, Melissa has maintained a strong relationship with her stepsons to this day.
The Christmas Pageant actress’ family doesn’t stop there, however. Melissa became a stepmom once again after she walked down the aisle with her third husband, Timothy Busfield, in 2013. The Field of Dreams alum shares his son Wilson Busfield with ex Radha Delamarter and kids Samuel Busfield and Daisy Busfield with ex-wife Jenny Merwin.
Melissa’s big brood is made up of her own kids and her stepchildren, but the Hometown Christmas actress considers all of her kiddos to be her true family. In honor of International Son’s Day in September 2020, Melissa shared a touching tribute for her boys.
“Wait … it’s International Son’s Day?!? Well, well, well, I happen to have four of those,” she wrote alongside a photo with Dakota, Michael, Sam and Lee. “Everyone meet the four chambers of my heart. How blessed I am to have the four generous, kind, funny, talented souls in my life. I love you guys with every fiber of my being.”
Parenting can be difficult at times, but Melissa wouldn’t change a thing when it comes to being a mom. Four years after she gave birth for the first time, the Safe Harbour star revealed how motherhood changed her.
“I am no longer an ingenue,” she shared with the Los Angeles Times in February 1993. “Every day I get a little wiser. That is the only thing I am interested in — a little smarter in the choices I make and the decisions I make regarding my life and my own destiny.”
Melissa’s time on Little House on the Prairie came in handy when she and Tim decided to move to a cabin in rural upstate New York. The Dancing With the Stars alum learned to farm, tend to animals and has enjoyed spending time with her kids and grandkids on the beautiful property.
“I’m a grandmother multiple times over, and I absolutely adore it,” Melissa told Closer in March 2022.
That same month, the proud mom gave a sweet shout-out to her son Michael on Instagram ahead of his network TV debut on the CBS series FBI: Most Wanted. It’s clear to see that family is what means the most to the Emmy nominee.
She went on to describe how living on the farm and watching her children grow and start their own families has given her a new perspective on life.
“I am more comfortable in my own skin,” she said. “Yeah, I wake up in the morning and my ankles are a little bit stiff and there are parts of my body that are lower than they used to be, but I’m still here. I’m still me, I’m still vital.”
Scroll through the gallery below to see Melissa’s cutest photos with her blended family!
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