Sarah Michelle Gellar Is Back After Taking a Decade Off to Raise Her Kids

And now, she’s the boss.

Sarah Michelle Gellar
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Even after 40 years of successes “in the business,” it’s still safe to say that Sarah Michelle Gellar is having quite a year. It’s only two months into 2023, and the ‘90s icon is proving what most of us believe to be true: None of our favorite things should be left in the ‘90s.

On Jan. 26, Gellar’s new show, Wolf Pack — which she executive produces and stars in — premiered on Paramount+ amid plenty of buzz, and last week, she was honored with an Icon Award at SCAD TVfest, SCAD Atlanta’s annual television festival for aspiring talent.  

Considering the weight of something called an Icon Award, it was important — nay, necessary — to find out exactly what Gellar’s husband of 20 years, fellow ‘90s legend Freddie Prinze Jr., had to say about the honor. “He said, ‘Are you still alive? Don’t they give those to people after they pass away?’” laughed Gellar when we spoke to her prior to receiving her award in Atlanta.

Gellar has been open about how much working with Robin Williams on the CBS show The Crazy Ones meant to her, and has even called him the “father she always dreamed of having,” so it’s no surprise his name came up when we asked who her personal icons are. “There are so many,” she said. “From every crew I’ve worked with to actors I’ve worked with, but I have to say Robin Williams really shaped the boss that I wanted to be, and the person who looked out for other people, because that’s what he did.”

Gellar is getting to stretch those “boss” legs in her role as executive producer on Wolf Pack, and after recently confirming that the set of Buffy was an “extremely toxic male set,” she’s excited to take those reins and provide a new generation of young actors (like Bella Shepard and newcomer Chloe Rose Robertson) with a different type of work environment.

She’s also excited to bring a new generation of television viewers a new type of sci-fi: “All the elements are there,” she tells us of what drew her to Wolf Pack. “I love that sci-fi world that allows you to tell these supernatural — but it’s really super human — stories, and this one is a metaphor that we’re using to discuss anxiety and loneliness and mental health. I think there are a lot [of shows] that discuss mental health right now, but it can be very heavy-handed, and I love using the supernatural to make those statements, and I don’t think it’s been done yet.”

I just hoped that I had made enough of an indelible mark on this business that I could come back to it.

It's no surprise that Gellar would make such a bold choice for what is, for all intents and purposes, her return to Hollywood. While she has taken a few small roles and done a little voice acting in the past 10 years, she’s been busy playing a different role: That of mom to her two children, 13-year-old Charlotte and 10-year-old Rocky. Stepping away from your career to raise your children is a scary choice for any woman, as it is often career suicide (not the dreaded gap in your résumé!), but unsurprisingly, one Gellar bravely made.

“It was a decision I just knew had to be made, because my children would only be young once, and I would regret not having that time with them,” she tells us. “I just hoped that I had made enough of an indelible mark on this business that I could come back to it.” Fortunately for all those who love Gellar’s work, come back to it she did, but she still maintains those family boundaries. “I don’t stay gone for more than two weeks at a time, and this job allowed me to have that flexibility to go back and forth. While I was in Atlanta [where Wolf Pack films], I could focus on my work, and then when I went home, I could focus on being a mom, plus, they came to Atlanta some, so it worked very well.”

And as for that indelible mark she hoped she’d made, on this side of her choice to step away from Hollywood, it’s pretty clear. “As an actor, you hope to have one character that people remember; that has an impact. Every Halloween, I get pictures of people dressing up as multiple characters that I’ve played,” she says. “To me, that’s a true mark [of success] and there’s no award that can ever top that. I see Buffy, I see Cruel [Intentions], I see Daphne or The Grudge, so I really feel so fortunate.”

It's pretty remarkable at 45 years old to already have a 40-year career. It’s also pretty remarkable to be able to consider everything else you create as an actor and artist to be the cherry on top of an incredibly successful career. Fortunately for Sarah Michelle Gellar fans, she’s pretty remarkable. I hope you all like cherries, because SMG is back. 

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