'Little House' Star Melissa Gilbert's Ex-Husband Bo Brinkman Blamed Her For Not Having a Career in Hollywood

Melissa Gilbert and Bo Brinkman were married from 1988 to 1994. They got engaged after knowing each other for six weeks and had a rocky relationship from the beginning, “fueled by alcohol, insecurity, and the unfamiliarity of two people who barely knew each other trying to merge their lives and work,” wrote Gilbert in her memoir, Prairie Tale. One of their issues stemmed from the fact that Brinkman blamed the Little House on the Prairie actor for his lack of success in Hollywood. He carried his resentment with him even after their divorce.

Melissa Gilbert and Bo Brinkman had problems from the beginning, according to the ‘Little House on the Prairie’ actor

In the Little House star’s memoir, she writes about the extreme behavior exhibited by her first husband throughout their marriage. When she became pregnant, he gave her the silent treatment for three days because she told her mother before him (he was unreachable when she found out). Brinkman didn’t show up to Gilbert’s baby shower (which he was supposed to video) because he “had gone on a bender.” He cheated on her while she was home with a sex worker. At one point, Brinkman even threatened to kill Gilbert when he was drunk because he believed she was trying to “take [his] son.”

Bo Brinkman blamed Melissa Gilbert for his lack of industry success

According to Gilbert, Brinkman “blamed [her] for many of his problems.” One of those problems was his unsuccessful acting career.

“He claimed I had destroyed his career by calling him an alcoholic,” she wrote. “That made me laugh. The entertainment industry may be the only business in the world where it’s not only okay to be an alcoholic, it may be a requirement.”

Just before they went their separate ways, Brinkman was cast in Gettysburg as Maj. Walter H. Taylor, his big break.

The ‘Little House on the Prairie’ actor’s first husband was furious when he learned she was dating Bruce Boxleitner

Gilbert writes that Brinkman “had a difficult time with” her relationship with Bruce Boxleitner.

“He came over to my house one day to pick up Dakota [their son] and flew into a rage after seeing a copy of the Hollywood Reporter on the table with Bruce’s address on it,” she wrote. “He threw open the front door with such fury that the doorknob punched a hole in the wall, then he fishtailed his truck across my front lawn and took off.”

Brinkman even threatened Boxleitner on the phone one night, according to Gilbert, but the How the West Was Won actor called his bluff. Gilbert and Boxleitner married in 1995 (a year after she divorced Brinkman) and divorced in 2011. Today, Gilbert is married to Timothy Busfield.

How to get help: In the U.S., contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 1-800-662-4357.

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