Actress Alison Arngrim, most well-known for playing bratty Nellie Oleson on "The Little House on the Prairie," revealed that she was molested by someone close to her starting when she was just 6 years old and lasting for three years. Arngrim recently said that playing a brat on TV helped her cope with the pain of sexual abuse.
"So here I was playing this girl that everyone was afraid of and it's great," Arngrim said on an episode of "Oprah: Where Are They Now?" "I'm paid to play this person who screams, yells, throws things, vents her anger, just lets it out, doesn't care who's looking, shows all the worst parts, makes terrible faces and doesn't care how awful she looks. It was absolutely therapeutic."
"I wasn't quite completely clear on exactly what it was that was being done to go report this," she added. "So when I started to get older and realize what it was, that's when I actually said, 'No, I'm not doing this anymore.' And amazingly, it stopped."
Arngrim revealed the molestation to the public in her book, "Confessions of a Prairie [expletive]: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated," which was released in 2010. She is still a recognized celebrity and is well-known for playing Oleson. Arngrim has said she doesn't mind being known for playing Oleson, as the character meant a lot to her.
"Nellie was a girl I grew to love," she wrote in her book. "She got me out of my house when I thought there was no escape. She transformed me from a shy, abused little girl afraid of her own shadow to the in-your-face, outspoken, politically active, big-mouthed [expletive] I am today."
Today Arngrim is a stand-up comic who still acts whenever possible. She remains friends with her on-air enemy, Melissa Gilbert. The two were never actually enemies but managed to convince viewers of their disdain for one another.
"Little House on the Prairie" is still shown on several channels around the world today, educating new generations about life in the old days and teaching valuable lessons about family and faith.
Watch Arngrim talk about her decision here: