Melissa Gilbert of "Little House on the Prairie" says about getting older, "I finally feel at home in my own skin."

Melissa Gilbert is past the point where she wants to be young. 

The 57-year-old star of Little House on the Prairie got her start in show business when she was 9 and got the part of Laura Ingalls Wilder on the popular TV show, which ran from 1974 to 1983. 

Gilbert kept acting as an adult and was successful in TV and movies, but as she got older, she felt pressure to stay young. 

"I grew up in an industry that values the outside a lot more than the inside, and I was stuck in that wheel of trying to stay young

," she says in the latest issue of PEOPLE. 

Gilbert got Botox, fillers, and plastic surgery over the years, but that all changed when she had a midlife reassessment. Her new book, Back to the Prairie: A Home Remade, A Life Discovered, comes out on May 10. 

"I woke up and asked myself, "What am I doing?" I look like a carrot, and I'm not happy,' "she says. "I thought, "You need to stay thin. You have to go to the right places, wear the right shoes, and drive the right car. All the people and things around me kept telling me that. But it never sat right." 

After marrying actor Timothy Busfield in 2013, she and her husband moved to Howell, Michigan, where Gilbert lived a simpler life. 

"I cut off all my hair and stopped getting Botox and all that other stuff," she says. Busfield, who is 64, strongly agreed with this choice. She also "felt her love for the outdoors come back to life." 

Since then, the couple has settled into a quiet life at their cabin in the Catskill Mountains of New York. 

Gilbert says, "I was always trying too hard to fit what someone else wanted." "I finally feel good about myself. I'm so thankful, so happy, and so much better off."


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