In the ‘90s and early aughts, Freddie Prinze Jr. was the ultimate heartthrob. It’s no wonder he got the girl at the end of She’s All That, Head Over Heels, and practically every other ‘90s-era romcom.
Well, he's just as charming IRL, which is how he wooed his I Know What You Did Last Summer co-star Sarah Michelle Gellar both on set and long after the film wrapped. This Friday, the cute couple is celebrating a major relationship milestone—their 15th wedding anniversary—which, after a summer full of celeb splits, is more inspiring than any romcom happy ending.
So, we had to know: What’s the secret to keeping their relationship so solid after all these years?
“There is no exact secret,” Prinze Jr. told InStyle at the N.Y.C launch event for Dunkin’ Donuts new cold brew coffee packs, where the actor demonstrated a recipe from his cookbook Back to the Kitchen. “But there are a few things. In the beginning, I think you have to be open minded and able to get over any preconceived fantasies of what your ideal partner is like. If you’re like, ‘Oh my God, he’s my perfect type: he’s six-foot-four, he does this, he does that,’ the relationship will be over before it even starts.”
Once you’ve found the right person, Prinze Jr. said, you’ve got to put in the work. “Selfishness is a good thing in some respects,” he said. “It’s going to help you become the writer you want to be, it helped Kobe Bryant be the basketball player he wanted to be. But when you finally decide to give yourself to someone else, sacrifices have to be made. And if you’re not investing the same amount of time in the relationship that you did with your career or other things, it can’t succeed. That’s a tough bridge for a lot of people to cross. I know it was tough for Sarah and I. But I was in a place where I was done chasing ghosts and I was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, mainly because it didn’t even feel like a sacrifice with her.”
The last piece of the relationship puzzle is much simpler, he said: “Sarah and I still make each other laugh, which is really important. When I say certain things to Sarah, and I see the look on her face, I know she loves me. And I live for that look, you know?”
Take notes. And for more from our chat with Freddie Prinze Jr., keep scrolling.
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Congrats on your 15th wedding anniversary! Any plans for the big day?
We thought about going away, but we’re softies with our kids (Charlotte, 7, and Rocky, 4). When we leave them for one night we tap out because we miss them too much. We’ll see!
Do you know what you’re getting Sarah yet? Is 15th anniversary crystal?
She hates getting crystal, so she’s getting something that looks like crystal but is better than crystal.
Well, she loves to eat and I love to cook, so when we first met that worked out well. We stayed in more than we went out early in our relationship and still do to this day. Now, I really want my children to see me do what I love, which is cook. If I was on a movie set for 15 hours a day, they would not have seen a happy father.
Have your kids gotten into the kitchen with you?
My daughter can make anything I make. The only thing I don’t let her play with is fire and sharp knives. But she can make steamed clams, mussels, and pizza with broccoli. I posted the last pizza she made.
You seem like a hands-on dad.
I am! And I can schedule my children’s day perfectly, to the minute. My cookbook is all about saving time in the kitchen, so you can spend it with your family.
So what’s an average morning like at the Prinze house?
I can make my green eggs and ham dish for them in 7 minutes if I do the proper prep the night before. If I get lucky, my kids will eat breakfast in ten minutes and put their shoes on the first time I ask them. All I need is enough time to drop them off, so that I can grab my Dunkin Donuts coffee and get to jiu-jitsu by 10.
Do you remember the very first thing that you ever cooked for Sarah?
I’m not sure of the first thing I cooked for her, but I do remember our first date. It was supposed to be a three-person dinner with a mutual friend, and our friend didn’t show up. There was that moment where you’re in mid-conversation and all of a sudden it’s quiet from both parties, and you know what they’re thinking, and they know what you’re thinking, but neither of you have the courage to say it. Once that feeling was established, I was like, ‘Okay, so everything just changed.’ [laughs]. I’d been friends with Sarah for almost three years before we ever smooched. And we’ve been together ever since—almost 18 years total.
In October, it’s going to be the 20th anniversary of I Know What You Did Last Summer, where you and your wife first met. What are some of your fondest memories from the set?
Ryan [Phillippe] and I were workout buddies. We would go on runs together every day. I grew up running for boxing and wrestling, and he just really wanted to get shredded. One time, I remember it was 5:30 in the morning and I was knocking on his door to run. I waited and waited and finally he comes to the door and he says ‘I’m in good enough shape, brother. I’m done running now.’ [laughs]. Then he just shut the door on me. I had a great time with him on that movie.
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Did you hit it off with Sarah right away on set?
We were like night and day. She didn’t have her driver’s license yet, so I was her chauffeur. I even drove her to the gym so she could work out! She was born and raised in Manhattan and I was born in SoCal and loved to surf. I was so much more chill than she was! Her energy was at a ten and I was at a three. Over the years, I’ve gotten to about a five or a six and she’s gotten to like a 9.8.
That movie was peak ‘90s in terms of style too. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the ‘90s are back—chokers, platforms, everything.
Eliza Dushku must be thrilled! She used to wear chokers every day back in ’98. It’s funny, I told Sarah, I had seen a girl in a choker and I wanted to crack a joke. And she was like, ‘You would’ve been the joke because those are back!’
Is there one ’90s trend that you would never want to see come back in style?
I was so not a fashion guy. I was the guy that bleached his hair and added purple color to the tips. Then I walked the press line with Brandy for I Still Know What You Did Last Summer and all of these people were talking trash about it. I was just like "I’m sorry, who did you come with? I’m with Miss Norwood." [laughs]
So you’re saying we’ll never see you with purple tips again?
You never know. If I need a nostalgic flashback in my mid-life crisis, maybe I’ll do it. If you ever see me with purple hair, just know that I’m about to buy a Porsche.