After Melissa Gilbert and Rob Lowe called off their engagement, the Little House on the Prairie actor hit a low point. “My self-esteem bottomed out,” she wrote in her memoir, Prairie Tale. But she found solace in returning to AA, where she formed a connection with Danny Sugerman, the manager of The Doors for almost 30 years.
Melissa Gilbert and Danny Sugerman ‘gravitated’ toward one another
Being so close to The Doors for so many years, Sugerman had an abundance of stories that “fascinated” Gilbert.
“I was a sponge for all the lessons he needed to share in order to feel whole himself,” she wrote. “I’d never talked with anyone as seriously about the big issues of life. I felt drawn to him.”
Sugerman was drawn to Gilbert, too.
“He, in turn, gravitated to my injured soul, to my neediness,” she wrote. “My pain was something he related to, and I had plenty of it. I was fragile. I cried at the drop of a pin. I questioned who I was as a woman. I felt unlovable and undesirable. I didn’t see any meaning in my life. It was all just misery.”
Sugerman gave Gilbert a stack of books to read — “They ranged from poetry to rock biographies.” Authors included: Rimbaud, Allen Ginsberg, Pamela Des Barres, Jack Kerouac, and William S. Burroughs. He also gave her music to listen to: Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, and The Cure.
Melissa Gilbert and Danny Sugerman became romantically involved
At one point, Gilbert and Sugerman’s relationship turned romantic.
“We began having an affair,” wrote the actor.
Looking back, Gilbert calls the relationship “risky.”
“Danny was an ex-junkie, and we were having unprotected sex,” she wrote. “I was not in a good place psychologically. The breakup with Rob had left me traumatized, and I was lonely, scared, and desperate to be loved.”
As a pair, they were “the perfect codependent couple,” writes Gilbert. “Empathetic to a fault, self-centered, and overly dramatic.”
According to the actor, one day, Sugerman said he wanted to marry her.
“Swept up in the drama and romance of his proclamation, I agreed,” she wrote. “We toasted ourselves with champagne.”
But the relationship didn’t last long. Gilbert got cast in a play in New York City, so she decided to pick up her life in Los Angeles and move across the country. Upon moving in, she “began the process of blowing off Danny, which was cruel.”
“But I couldn’t handle another face-to-face,” she wrote. “I delivered the final blow over the phone when I was back in L.A. and busy packing all my belongings.”
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