While they were the epitome of the perfect couple on-screen, their situation was vastly different behind the scenes.
We’re talking about none other than Little House on the Prairie’s Michael Landon (Charles Ingalls) and Karen Grassle (Caroline Ingalls).
After almost 40 years since the show ended, 79-year-old Karen Grassle is releasing a memoir.
While the candid book will delve into her string of failed romances and battle with alcoholism, it will also look at her strained relationship with actor, director and producer Michael Landon.
The actress reveals that Landon – who died in 1991 from pancreatic cancer – used to tell “disgusting” jokes at the expense of his co-star, including mocking the way she looked, and insisting she shouldn’t be paid more than the child actors on the show.
Karen, who was paid $2,000 to $4,000 a week at the height of her fame, asked for a raise, which was brushed off with Michael claiming she wasn’t as popular as she believed she was, the New York Post reports.
“I felt insulted as his co-star on a hit series,” she said.
“I didn’t want to gouge anybody, but I expected a fair wage”.
Michael Landon subsequently began cutting her scenes, and continued to mock her body and facial expressions to crew members.
“It was almost like I was frozen,” she said.
“But, as a woman in the 1970s film industry, I was so accustomed to these putdowns, it never occurred to me to sharply rebuke him. I kept up the professionalism. I’d be the good girl, play the part and hope.”
He also reportedly made “disgusting jokes about how a woman smelled after sex”.
Karen is not the first to open up about Michael Landon’s problematic behaviour.
Melissa Sue Anderson, who played Mary in the show, wrote the following in her book, ‘The Way I See It: A Look Back at My Life on Little House’: “At work, he was controlling, and he could be mean at times. He would single out certain people and tease them publicly and relentlessly.”
She added, “He could also be vindictive. I remember him telling me the main reason he decided to blow up the town of Walnut Grove at the end of Little House was so that no one else would ever be able to use our sets.”
Karen Grassle’s new memoir, ‘Bright Lights, Prairie Dust: Reflections on Life, Loss, and Love from Little House’s Ma’ is available from November 16th.