The Little House on the Prairie actor would change one aspect of the kiss (Photo: Bobby Bank/Getty Images)

Dean Butler and Melissa Gilbert were 23 and 15 respectively when they kissed Little House on the Prairie, and the actor expressed how he wishes it were different.

The 67-year-old believes the eight-year age gap has had a negative impact on his performance.

'I always said to Melissa, 'I wish we were a little closer in age when we were doing this.' But that’s not how it actually happened,” he shared.

'I think there was anxiety on both sides of that kiss and how is that going to go? But we have made progress on this.

The pair starred on the NBC show from 1979 until its end in 1983, as Almanzo and Laura, whose characters had a 10-year age difference.

They met in the season six episode Back to School (Part 1), and Dean recalled: 'When I met Melissa, there was no sign of a woman there. She really was a little girl: bright, incredibly capable, brave, vibrant, very outgoing.

There was 'anxiety' surrounding the first kiss (Photo: NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)
Their characters ended up getting married (Photo: NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

They kiss for the first time in Sweet Sixteen after becoming close when Almanzo takes Laura to a teaching job out of town.

He proposes to her in the following episode, but she refuses due to her father's request to wait until she turns 18 to get married and Almanzo subsequently leaves town. However, they eventually got married and had children together.

Speaking with People on the show's 50th anniversary, Dean added: 'From the point of view of playing it, I thought, wouldn't it be great if we could have [had] … a little more common ground, so we would have been able to play the love side of it in a way that was maybe a little more interesting.'

He called their romance “beautiful, heartfelt and simple,” which resonated with the audience, and praised Melissa for playing the role “incredibly well” with “how little life experience she had” due to her age.

Cast of Little House on the Prairie

The nine seasons are still watched today (Photo: NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

The TV show is based on children's novels by Laura Ingalls Wilder, which are set in Minnesota. The show received 16 Emmy nominations, winning four, and three Golden Globe nominations.

The nine seasons are still attracting viewers 50 years after they premiered, and Melissa, 59, has a theory as to why.

“It’s a reflection of all the things people want in life: family, community, love, faith and hope,” she explained.

Timothy Busfield and Melissa Gilbert

Melissa with her husband Timothy Busfield in 2020 (Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)
Melissa has a theory about why the show still resonates (Photo: NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

“It’s all the good, juicy things that make humans so wonderful and different from animals. I mean, that connection. And Little House is a reminder of that.

She points out that it wasn't just a “cozy family show” as they didn't shy away from hard-hitting topics like “the recession, the return of Vietnam, chauvinism, equal rights for women, equal rights for people of color and anti-Semitism.”

“We dealt with all of this, but we didn’t do it in an exploitative way,” she concluded.

Little House on the Prairie is available to watch on Prime Video

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