Melissa Gilbert and Bruce Boxleitner Split

03/01/2011 at 02:00 PM EST

Melissa Gilbert, Bruce Boxleitner Break Up
Bruce Boxleitner and Melissa Gilbert
Graham Whitby Boot-Allstar/Globe
Looks like the prairie just got a little lonelier.

Melissa Gilbert, 46, has separated from her husband of 16 years, Bruce Boxleitner, 60, a rep for the actress confirms.

Wed in 1995 after a stormy courtship, the couple have one son, Michael, 15, named for Michael Landon, Gilbert's costar, mentor and father figure during her 9-year (from 1974 to 1983) stint as Laura Ingalls on TV's Little House on the Prairie.

Gilbert also has a son, Dakota, 21, from her previous marriage to Bo Brinkman; Boxleitner has two sons, ages 30 and 25, from his previous marriage to former actress Kathryn Ogilvy.

"We have loved each other for a very long time and we share four incredible sons together," Gilbert, a former president of the Screen Actors Guild, said in a statement. "On behalf of our family we ask to be allowed our privacy during this very difficult time."

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