After years in a small town, actress Melissa Gilbert, best known for playing Laura Ingalls Wilder on TV’s Little House on the Prairie, is moving back to the city.
Gilbert and her husband of five years, director and The West Wing actor Timothy Busfield, are leaving Brighton, Mich., a town outside Detroit with a population just under 8,000 people, for career reasons.
“This has been the most incredible five years, just being here,” Gilbert told radio station WHMI on Friday. “I was trying to describe what Michigan has meant to me and what being here has meant to me, and the best way to describe it is to say it’s been my blanket. I’ve been safe and comfortable and happy and at peace and content, and this has been the perfect place to have that.”
The couple made the move to Busfield’s native Michigan just after they wed in 2013. Initially, the couple moved to the small city of Howell, but they later relocated to an actual log cabin in the woods, where the real-life Wilder would have been right at home.
It’s official. We are moving. In a couple of weeks. Into our own Little House in the Big Woods. I’m serious. It’s a log house in the woods!
— Melissa Gilbert (@MEGBusfield) June 4, 2015
Gilbert announced their move a week before it was reported that the Internal Revenue Service had accused her of failing to pay $360,000-plus in federal income taxes. At the time, she said she had accrued the debt because of a dearth of acting jobs and her 2011 divorce from actor Bruce Boxleitner. However, Gilbert said she’d worked out a payment plan for the money she owed.
GIlbert and Busfield were active in the community while they were there. They served as the grand marshals of the holiday parade in 2014 and worked with children at the community theater. Gilbert ran for Congress from the area in 2015, although she later dropped out of the race for health reasons.
“What impressed me most was that Gilbert and Busfield truly lived in the city: walking, shopping, dining at restaurants, going to the movies, enjoying performances, and getting to know this charming, quirky little town I love,” Maria Stuart wrote in the local Livingston Post.
The pair have spent most of their time in New York City since October, Gilbert said in the radio interview. But they just made the official move this month.
They’re “starting from scratch” in their new, already-furnished place, Gilbert said.
Many of their belongings, including some of Gilbert’s clothing and art, will be sold at an estate sale July 27-28.
Meanwhile, Gilbert is already back at work, and she has shared photos from the Georgia set of a new project, which requires her to play a violin. “Just like Pa,” she noted.
No matter where she moves, Gilbert will always be Half Pint.
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