"Little House on the Prairie" actress Alison Arngrim has opened up about her troubled childhood - alleging she was abused as she was growing up. The former child star rose to fame when she landed the part of cruel and callous Nellie Oleson on the series in 1974.
And she's forever thankful TV bosses handed her the role - because the job helped her escape from the alleged abuse, which she claims started when she was six years old. In her new book, "Confessions of a Prairie B**ch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated", Arngrim writes, "(Nellie) was a girl I grew to love. 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, world-traveling, politically active, big-mouthed b**ch I am today. She taught me to fight back, to be bold, daring, and determined."
Arngrim, who now lobbies for child protection laws with the National Association to Protect Children, also opened up about the experience on America's TODAY show on Wednesday, June 16. She told the TV programme, "When you live with abuse, you have a lot of rage and anger, and I had a place to actually take it and vent it as Nellie. It's done me so much good, I can't even describe it."
"This is something that's happening to millions of people - sexually abused and physically abused. I get mail all the time from people who say, 'I did not have a perfect childhood like Little House on the Prairie, and that's why I watched the show because I loved it; it was the childhood that I didn't have.' I thought maybe I should tell them, 'Well, it's the same for me. I also got things from the show that I wasn't getting in my life'."