‘Little House on the Prairie’: Jonathan Gilbert ‘Cut Himself off From the Family’ at 18, According to Sister Melissa Gilbert

As per his sister, their relationship abruptly came to an end when Jonathan “vanished without a trace” at the age of 18. However, Melissa Gilbert (who portrayed Laura Ingalls Wilder) and Jonathan Gilbert (Willie) were actual siblings. Nellie served as Laura’s sworn adversary, while Willie played the role of her brother. The Oleson family, for instance, had a significant impact on the Ingalls’ lives. Little House narrated the tale of the Ingalls family (Charles, Caroline, Mary, Laura, and Carrie) as they navigated through life in the late 1800s, encompassing their interactions with other residents of Walnut Grove.

Melissa Gilbert with brother Jonathan Gilbert at the Golden Apple Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in California, December 13, 1981 | Frank Edwards/Archive Photos/Getty Images

In her memoir, Prairie Tale, Gilbert candidly discussed the highs and lows of their lives while at home. Both Melissa and Jonathan were adopted by Paul Gilbert and Barbara Crane, who are actors.

The monumental change was hardly talked about. Actually, she didn’t receive any therapy. Throughout that period, nobody inquired about her well-being, Melissa penned. Paul and Crane ended their marriage in 1976.

Melissa later learned that her father had died by suicide, but she was told that he had died of a stroke. She wrote that Gilbert Paul had died the same year.

Later, Harold Abeles married Barbara again, as Melissa noted that Sara, their daughter, had asked them about her thoughts or feelings on the matter.

Who Melissa Gilbert and Jonathan Gilbert played on ‘Little House on the Prairie’

Alison Arngrim, unknown, Jonathan Gilbert, Rad Daly
Alison Arngrim, Steve Tracy, Jonathan Gilbert, Melissa Gilbert, and Rad Daly | Paul Harris/Getty Images

Melissa played the role of Laura Ingalls, the narrator of Little House on the Prairie, when she was just 9 years old. Both her father, Pa Ingalls, and her mother, Ma, watched proudly as she grew up to become a problem-solver and a peacemaker. She later became a star on television.

Throughout the entire run of the show, Willie was one of the characters who stayed on. Willie was the rambunctious sibling of Nellie Oleson, played by Alison Arngrim, who was one of Melissa’s best real-life friends. Willie was cast as Jonathan Oleson, the boisterous sibling of Nellie Oleson in Walnut Grove. Melissa was cast as Laura when.

Melissa says Jonathan ‘cut himself off from the family’ when he turned 18

In Melissa’s autobiography, she recounted her brother’s unexpected departure from California and their family.

“She completely cut herself off from the family, my brother Jonathan,” she wrote. Jonathan, my brother, completely cut himself off from the family, she wrote. He would simply disappear and never turn back, completely cutting himself off from the family, my brother Jonathan, she wrote. In the last two decades, I have only seen him three times, a couple of times over several years. My heart aches for it, but I am at peace with it. My heart aches for my mother, but I am at peace with it.