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Actress, director, producer and former Screen Actors Guild president Melissa Gilbert is now a grandmother.
Gilbert announced the news last week with a slideshow on Instagram, showing images of the newborn with both parents. The baby is a girl, according to the post. Her name is Ripley Lou Brinkman, and she arrived June 8, 2021 at 6:18 p.m.. When she was born, she was 7.7 pounds and 19.5 inches.
“Everyone is healthy and doing well,” Gilbert wrote on Instagram. “So proud of my son Dakota and his wife @martobes. She was a warrior through the whole process, and he was the perfect partner to her. Next up, traveling to Texas to meet our new granddaughter.”
Gilbert first became famous when she starred in “Little House on the Prairie” as Laura Ingalls when she was 10 years old. The show ran for nine years, from 1974-1983.
Gilbert has two sons, Dakota, whom she had with first ex-husband Bo Brinkman, and Michael Boxleitner, whom she had with her second ex-husband, Bruce Boxleitner. She is currently married to Timothy Busfield.
It has been an emotional year for Gilbert, who underwent her fourth spinal fusion surgery in November 2020. Her first was in 2001, after an injury, and it was followed by another in 2010 after she broke her back. In 2016, she had yet another to address herniated disks in her spine that resulted from head and neck injuries from 2012, but it failed. In 2020 she returned to the doctor who did her first surgery to repair matters and have an artificial disk installed. This required her to fly cross-country from New York to Los Angeles during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The thing that was different about this surgery was Dr. Bray went in and took out a lot of the hardware — and the hardware that didn’t work — and I got an artificial disc, which is very cutting edge,” she told “Good Morning America.” “It’s been around for a while, but it is so new and revolutionary, it now set me up so that I probably, most likely, will not have any more spine problems going up and down from now on.”
She said her health is important because she intends to be a good grandmother and help with the baby. She’s been looking forward to the birth for some time, indicating over Instagram just before the big event that she was too excited to sleep.
“Any day now,” she tweeted on June 6.
“I really want to be as strong and healthy as I can be, so I can race in there and squeeze that baby and just grab it and do everything they need me to do — all the laundry, all the cooking, whatever I can do to help,” she told “GMA.”
The new first-time parents will probably be glad for the help! Congrats to Gilbert and the Brinkmans on the new arrival.