Sarah Michelle Gellar is opening up about taking a much-needed career break following the death of her boyfriend and former co-star Robin Williams.
While discussing her work with one of her favorite charities, This Is About Humanity, ahead of their big gala on August 27 in Los Angeles, Gellar reflected on the moment she took a step back from her career to process the death of Williams.
“I’ve been working my whole life,” she told PEOPLE exclusively. “When I had kids – and it was right after Robin died – there was so much going on in my life and I just said, ‘I’ve got to take a break’.”
The 45-year-old actress played Williams’ on-screen daughter in the CBS sitcom The crazy people from 2013-2014.
The series marked Williams’ final television role before the actor committed suicide at the age of 63 on August 11, 2014. It was later discovered that Williams had dementia with Lewy bodies, the second most common type of progressive dementia after Alzheimer’s disease.
Frazer Harrison/Getty; Ethan Miller/Getty Sarah Michelle Gellar and Robin Williams
Although their time together on screen was short, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer The star shared an incredibly special bond with her TV dad – inspiring her to spend some time at home with her own children, daughter Charlotte Grace, 12, and son Rocky James, 9.
“I need to be here for those early years of my kids’ lives,” said the mom of two. “I needed this break to be the parent I wanted to be.”
But as her children began to grow, the wife of actor Freddie Prinze Jr. realized that something was missing from her everyday life.
“I started to really miss him,” Gellar recalls. “But it’s also about finding the right opportunity, something that speaks to you and speaks to your audience.”
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The right opportunity finally came with the new Paramount+ drama series, Wolf Pack, where Gellar will star as arson investigator Kristin Ramsey. He is also set to executive produce the series.
“It’s about working with people that I really enjoy working with, where I look forward to spending time with people,” said Gellar, who had to travel to Atlanta to film the series. “I want everyone to have a good time because performing, acting is fun. We’re creative, and yes, sometimes the nights are really long, but what we get to do is really cool.”
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While the I know what you did last summer As the star prepares to return to the screen, one thing she refuses to ever stop is her charity work on the US-Mexico border.
“My husband always jokes that I work as an actor to support my charity habit,” Gellar said with a laugh after returning from a bus trip with This Is About Humanity. “Because if I could donate every free moment that I have, I would. But one of the things that I really like, and I look for specifically in the charities that I work with, is kind of that direct connection. This is about humanity, There’s no overhead. Everything goes directly to the charity and you can actually see it physically.”
Gellar loves the work she does with the organization so much that she’s going out of her way to take a break from filming in Atlanta to make the charity’s upcoming gala.
“There was a trip we took a few months ago to this incredible sanctuary in Tijuana,” Gellar explained. “It’s a YMCA shelter for unaccompanied minors, but specifically LGBTQ, which is very difficult in a Catholic culture like this. They have a little schoolroom upstairs and the stairs to go up. It honestly felt like you were taking your life in your hands I’m just climbing these steps for you.”
“Gloria Calderon was on the trip and she said, ‘We’ve got to build this,’ and in two weeks she had raised enough money to build the stairs, and then we got to go down there and see the staircase,” he added. . “You really know not only where your money goes, but where your love goes.”
Wolf Pack is expected to premiere on Paramount+ in late 2022.