The Real Reason Rob Lowe And Melissa Gilbert Broke Up

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

Melissa Gilbert has been in the public eye ever since landing her career-defining role on the NBC series "Little House on the Prairie" in the early 1970s. The former child star grew up in a showbiz family — her grandfather, Harry Crane, was a comedy writer who helped to create "The Honeymooners," per Us Weekly, and her younger siblings, Jonathan and Sara Gilbert, both started acting as kids, on "Little House on the Prairie" and "Roseanne," respectively.

Because she grew up in the Hollywood spotlight, it's not a huge surprise that Melissa found herself on the arm of several celebrity boyfriends. Melissa has dated actors Tom Cruise, Timothy Hutton, Scott Baio, Dylan McDermott, and singer Billy idol, according to Whos Dated Who. While many of those romances were brief, the former Screen Actors Guild president had a much longer relationship with actor Rob Lowe, whom she dated from 1981 to 1987. The lovebirds were media darlings, but why did their relationship end?

Melissa Gilbert and Rob Lowe broke up after a life-changing event occurred in their relationship

Melissa Gilbert was just 17 years old when she began dating teen heartthrob Rob Lowe. The relationship was marred by infidelity rumors due to Lowe's reputation as a playboy, but it lasted into the couple's twenties and even included a proposal from the "St. Elmo's Fire" actor, per ShowBiz CheatSheet. But the two stars never made it down the aisle. 

Gilbert went into detail about her relationship with Lowe in her book, "Prairie Tale: A Memoir." In her tell-all book, the actor revealed that her relationship with Lowe ended after she told him she was pregnant while they were engaged. The unexpected baby news made Lowe realize that he was not ready for marriage or fatherhood, so the couple broke up. After their split, Gilbert suffered a miscarriage. She described the experience as "devastating" in her memoir. "I had lost my baby and my relationship with Rob... and it hurt like hell," Gilbert wrote in her book.

But more recently, Gilbert told TODAY that her breakup with Lowe was more due to their young age than anything else. "We broke up," she said. "It ran its course. I think we were just too young."

Melissa Gilbert and Rob Lowe have both had long marriages to other people

Shortly after splitting from Rob Lowe, Melissa Gilbert began dating playwright Bo Brinkman. The two married after just six weeks of dating — and despite the fact that Gilbert still wasn't over Lowe, per ShowBiz CheatSheet. Gilbert was married to Brinkman from 1988 to 1992, and they had one son together, Dakota, who was born in 1989, per Entertainment Tonight. While her marriage to Brinkman didn't last, Gilbert had a much longer run with her second husband, actor Bruce Boxleitner. The two were married for 16 years and had one son together, Michael, per ABC News. They divorced in 2011.

In 2013, Gilbert married actor Timothy Busfield. The "Thirtysomething" alum told Page Six he feels like "the luckiest man on earth" to be married to Gilbert. "I just lucked out," he said. "I had to wait till she was in her late 40s. I couldn't compete with Rob Lowe or Bruce Boxleitner for God's sake."

Lowe has been married to his wife Sheryl Berkoff for more than 30 years. In a 2014 interview with Haute Living, the actor admitted that his relationship with his wife was his first attempt at trying "monogamy." Lowe and his wife share two sons, Matthew and John, who are in their late 20s. Lowe once told the Goopfellas podcast that the key to his long marriage is that he married his best friend. "The rest of it comes and goes," he said, "and I was very lucky there."