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What Has Sarah Michelle Gellar Been Up To Since 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'?

Updated February 16, 2021 106.9k views13 items
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Years after kicking vampires' butts on television, many fans may wonder what happened to Sarah Michelle Gellar. While she may not be as prominent on television and movies as she was in the late 1990s, Gellar has taken on projects outside of entertainment and created an entirely different successful career. Gellar's romantic life once made headlines, especially after dating and then marrying Freddie Prinze Jr. The couple has two children, and they consider them the most important thing in their lives, even more so than acting.

Born in 1977, Gellar got her start in television commercials before landing a breakthrough role on All My Children. Her film career took off roughly around the same time she was cast as Buffy Summers and starred in horror hits like I Know What You Did Last Summer and Scream 2. As Buffy on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Gellar earned an entire legion of fans, as well as respect from critics for bringing to life a character capable of dealing with teenage emotion at the same time she's destroying vampires. The role was a forerunner for female superheroes, and years after going off the air, Buffy remains a beloved character. Where is Sarah Michelle Gellar now and what has she been up to? She's still kicking butt, just not that of evil monsters.

  • Photo: Swans Crossing / Sachs Film Distribution

    She Was Banned From McDonald's After Starring In A Burger King Commercial

    An agent discovered four-year-old Gellar while she was eating in a restaurant, and she began her acting career two years later. Like many actors, Gellar got her start by appearing in television commercials, including several ads for Burger King. The commercials featured Gellar comparing Burger King's products to those offered by McDonald's, and McDonald's wasn't happy.

    "McDonald's were so outraged, they sued Burger King and named me in the lawsuit," Gellar remembered. McDonald's took its offense to the extreme and banned Gellar from its restaurants, despite the fact that she was just a child. "It was tough because, when you're a little kid, McDonald's is where all your friends have their birthday parties," she said. "I missed out on a lot of apple pies."

  • Photo: ABC

    She Won A Daytime Emmy At 18 For Her Role On 'All My Children'

    Gellar landed her first television series role in 1992 on the short-lived teen drama Swans Crossing. Although the series didn't last long, it earned Gellar enough recognition that she won a part on All My Children as Kendall Hart, the devious long-lost daughter of series villain Erica Kane (Susan Lucci). Gellar appeared in around 30 episodes from her first appearance in 1993 until 1995 when she decided to leave the show and involve herself in other projects. Right before she left, however, Gellar won an Emmy for Outstanding Younger Leading Actress in a Drama Series.

    When All My Children ended its run in 2011, Gellar returned for one day of filming and starred as an amnesia patient who can't remember anything aside from the fact that she's Kane's daughter.

  • Her Career Took Off After Her Role In 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'

    Joss Whedon introduced audiences to Buffy Summers in 1992 with his script for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Although the movie bombed, The WB network recruited Whedon to create a series that would appeal to the neglected teen audience, and he turned the movie into a television show, which began in 1997. Cast in the title role, Gellar channeled Whedon's vision of a blonde teenage girl who defies stereotypes by fighting monsters instead of running away from them.

    Her career as a movie actress took off roughly around the same time, but Gellar's role as Buffy became one of her most beloved and recognizable characters. Fans loved the show for its balance of vampire-fighting, world-building, and soap opera drama as Buffy tries to navigate high school and forbidden love. The series lasted until 2003, and although Gellar managed to create an empowered female superhero through Buffy, the popularity of the role left her struggling to find her next step when the show ended.

  • Photo: I Know What You Did Last Summer / Columbia Pictures

    She Became A Scream Queen And Movie Star With 'I Know What You Did Last Summer' And 'Scream 2'

    Just as television audiences began embracing Gellar on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, movie audiences also flocked to her work on the big screen. Gellar entered the horror genre seamlessly, starring in both I Know What You Did Last Summer and Scream 2 in 1997 alone. Perhaps she realized the typecasting her career was headed toward and accepted a different kind of role in 1999's Cruel Intentions by playing the villain.

    "When I first started acting, I played this really b*tchy character [Kendall on All My Children] and everyone's like, 'Okay well you're always going to be the b*tchy friend character. No one's going to see you as a hero or heroine,'" Gellar remembered. "Then I got Buffy and all of a sudden nobody wanted me to do Cruel Intentions... so I don't know what people's expectations of me are."

    She later continued her horror movie streak by starring in The Grudge, The Grudge 2, and The Return, but most didn't do well at the box office.