Little House on the Prairie

‘Little House on the Prairie’: Michael Landon’s Wife Ran Things by Him Before Doing Basic Things, Said Karen Grassle

Karen Grassle and Michael Landon starred as Caroline Ingalls and Charles Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie. Grassle wrote about her time on the show and what her life has been like since her departure. One thing she revealed was how Michael interacted with his second wife, Lynn. According to Grassle, Lynn looked to Michael for direction when it didn’t seem necessary.

Karen Grassle’s first impression of Michael Landon’s wife

Grassle says Lynn was a beautiful woman. She described her as a “knockout.” She had a chance to meet Lynn when Michael invited her and her boyfriend to his home for dinner. “She perfectly personified a type—sexy enough for Playboy centerfold and already a mother of four,” wrote Grassle in her book Bright Lights, Prairie Dust. She thought one of the reasons Michael invited her to his home was so Lynn could see she wasn’t a threat.

Grassle says one thing Lynn said “struck her.” She thought about it many years later. “At the end of the evening, Lynn said, ‘You’re going to see more of my husband now than I will,’” wrote Grassle. “That fact struck me.”

This comment likely came back to Grassle after she found out about Michael’s relationship with Cindy Clerico (now Cindy Landon). She hints that his time away from home probably contributed to him reportedly having an affair with the young makeup artist.

Karen Grassle says Michael Landon’s wife had to ask before she did things

Grassle says one day she overheard Lynn talking to Landon about their children. According to her, Lynn had to ask Michael for direction even when it came to basic things. She heard Lynn ask him if it was OK to wash their daughter’s hair.

“I heard Lynn call down from the second floor: ‘Mike should I wash Shawna’s hair?’ as I headed for my room at the Gunn House next door,” wrote Grassle. “Wow, I thought, even that she has to run by him.”

Later in the book, Grassle discusses the breakdown of Michael and Lynn’s marriage. According to Grassle, when Lynn discovered Michael’s alleged affair, she followed him and Cindy to their meeting place. Things didn’t go well, and the tabloids reported the incident.

“It all blew up,” writes Grassle. “Lynn followed him, I guess, to their secret hideaway, a bottle of vodka was thrown, the tabloids got wind of it, and it was a painful mess.”

Grassle says Michael and Cindy eventually moved in together. Before his divorce from Lynn was finalized, Cindy became pregnant with their first child. The new couple tied the knot in 1983 and remained together until his death on July 1, 1991.

Why Michael Landon’s second wife didn’t attend his funeral

In her book Prairie Tale, Melissa Gilbert says the divorce was hard on Lynn. Gilbert also mentioned the bottle of vodka and the incident with Lynn, Michael, and his new girlfriend. “At home, the phone didn’t stop ringing,” wrote Gilbert. “My mother talked nonstop to Aunty Lynn. Hard as the news was to believe, it was really happening. It was like the Titanic hitting the iceberg.”

Lynn didn’t attend Michael’s funeral. IMDb reports Lynn chose not to go because of the divorce. According to the outlet, she was “one of the few people who refused to attend the funeral, because, as she told her children, the divorce had already been like a death to her.”

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