Sarah Michelle Gellar Grows Up and Grows Younger

From landing kiddie commercials to playing Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sarah Michelle Gellar was an early bloomer. Now starring with Robin Williams in the CBS comedy The Crazy Ones, she talks about how marriage and motherhood helped her find balance and a happy “other life"

by Margy Rochlin
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Isabel Marant wool dress with ruffle hem; Le Vian diamond ring; Salvatore Ferragamo metallic leather heels; 866-337-7242.
Photograph: Peggy Sirota

When Gellar was six months pregnant with Charlotte, she spoke to a friend about joining a mommy support group. She thought she was just prepping for parenthood, but as it turned out, she learned a great deal more. “It’s very hard to go into situations where people know a lot about you and you don’t know anything about them,” says Gellar, who instantly clicked with the other women, all first-time mothers. “This is the first group I could join where I felt like I was on the same playing field. When we talked about sleeping or feeding or any of those things, my situation was no different from theirs. It was very freeing for me.”

Four years later, Gellar and the group are still tight, meeting for dinner once a month. “It starts out quiet and gets loud,” says one of the gang, talent manager Lainie Sorkin Becky. She and Gellar bonded during 3 a.m. gab-by-text fests while they were pumping milk, laughing ruefully about what it’s like for two perfectionists to confront howling infants, dirty diapers and toy-strewn living rooms. “The type A mothers have the steepest learning curve,” says Becky, adding that Gellar is the group’s nurturing, energetic ringleader, organizing museum outings and scheduling swim lessons in her backyard pool.

Like all other conscientious celebrity mothers, Gellar worries about her children growing up in an environment where strangers sometimes intrude on their privacy. “I just want them to be happy, to enjoy life, to be good people,” she says. Charlotte and Rocky have never seen any of their parents’ film and TV work, not even the kiddie favorite in which the couple costarred, Scooby-Doo. They have been on set and watched Gellar getting her hair and makeup done, but even so, she says, “Charlotte doesn’t know what I do for a living.”

Post-Buffy, Gellar’s career has included a kaleidoscope of projects, successful and not. She filmed a pilot for HBO that never went to series and has appeared in more than eight movies, including the hit remake of a Japanese horror film, The Grudge, which spawned a sequel, and Southland Tales, an indie famously booed at Cannes, although a New York Times review praised Gellar for giving her role “dignity and melancholic soul.” In 2011 she was executive producer of the CW series Ringer, in which she played identical twins; it was canceled after one season.

Recently, Gellar caused a stir in the press by suggesting that she and Whedon would be interested in making a Buffy movie. But the truth is, she doesn’t seem nostalgic for that lost, magical time. Asked if she dreams of Buffy at night, she answers at once: “No. I’m the parent of two. I sleep hard and fast.”

More questions for Sarah Michelle Gellar

My number-one rule when striving to achieve MORE is . . .

To just have fun. I’ve already accomplished more than I ever thought I would. Everything else feels like gravy.

I wish I had MORE time for. . .

Me time. If I have extra time, I want to be with my kids. I still have that mom guilt. I haven’t had a facial since my first child was born.

What do you appreciate MOREas you age?

How good my life is. I focus less on the bad.

MORE women should. . .

Go on female dates—girl dates with your friends to recharge.

What’s MORE terrifying than failure?

We look at failure as a bad thing, but if failure is a learning experience, then it makes you a better person. Don’t be so afraid of that word. Instead of “That failed,” how about “That didn’t work”?

MORE women seek to age gracefully. What’s your advice?

I’m trying to take care of myself. It’s funny: I just discovered Oil of Olay, and I was like, Oh, wow. That’s why it’s been around all these years. It’s awesome!

Describe a moment from your past that you wish you could do one MORE time.

First published in the November 2013 issue

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