“My mom was a single mother, working just above the poverty line, and I got to travel the world, to see and do things that would never have been afforded to me.”
Sarah Michelle Gellar, a native New Yorker and the only child of a single mother, began acting when she was five years old after an agent noticed her in a restaurant. She first appeared on a small screen in a Burger King commercial in 1981, per Guardian.
Her parents separated when she was seven years old. She was raised entirely by her mom who was a nursery school teacher in Manhattan. She briefly attended a private school on a partial scholarship, where she experienced bullying given that many schoolgoers there were extremely rich.
She shared how different lives were when she was growing up in the private school, adding, "I was different and that's the one thing you can't be at school because you're ostracised. I didn't have the money these kids had." She further added, "I can remember this kid having an engraved Tiffany money clip when I barely had enough money for my bus pass. It was amazing to see what excessive wealth at an early age and lack of parental supervision breeds."
But Gellar's mother kept her grounded, even when her acting career took off. She recalled how her mom and New York agent didn't let her move to LA until I was 18. "I really wanted to get myself situated and developed as a person before I went anywhere. And school was always a priority. If my grades ever dropped below an A-minus, I had to stop doing acting work for a while until I got them up again," she told Independent.
She's grateful for her career because of her mother. She said, “My mom was a single mother, working just above the poverty line, and I got to travel the world, to see and do things that would never have been afforded to me.” She further added, “I love what I do – which is work, work, work.”
The turning point for the Buffy star came in 2014 after Robin Williams passed. “When we lost Robin, it was this whole reset for me, ‘Everything’s going by really fast, and I’m missing it,’” says Gellar. “When I did the pilot for The Crazy Ones, my son was two months old – it was nonstop, and I needed to be at home for a while,” she said, adding that they needed a break.
She was aware that taking a break could be dangerous, but she had already begun to feel uncertain. “Your job may not always be there. You can be surpassed by other people; interests change. When you are mid-to-late 30s in this business, and you look young like I do, you’re not getting the meaty wife or mother roles, because you don’t look old enough – but you’re too old for the ingenue. It’s a weird position to be in.”
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Jesse Grant