• Melissa Gilbert played "Laura Ingalls"
  • 'Little House on the Prairie' was not easy for her
  • She lost herself 

In a recent interview with 'People,' the 59-year-old Melissa Gilbert reflects on the process of aging, a journey that unfolded in the public eye after spending her formative years on the set of 'Little House on the Prairie.'

Melissa Gilbert on her time as a child star

“As a kid actor I twisted myself into being what anybody wanted me to be at any given time. And that created a lot of mental and emotional anguish for me. I never really allowed myself to be my authentic self," she reports. 

Today, Melissa Gilbert finds a newfound ease in navigating the aging process. Yet, she acknowledges that for many, she remains forever associated with her iconic portrayal of the young "Laura Ingalls."

More about 'Little House on the Prairie'

"There are people who will perennially assume that I'm 12 years old," she says. "And I will always be that girl, full of wonder and running through the fields. Half Pint is inside me always. But we are all aging."

Today, Melissa Gilbert enjoys a contented life with her husband, Timothy Busfield, and has the joy of being a grandmother to several grandchildren.