Today's Woman
Sarah, the man slayer
December, 2000

Petite Sarah Michelle Gellar -better known as "Buffy: The Vampire Slayer" and linked to several hunks in recent years - has gone public with her new love. All spring the 22-year old actress denied the rumors, but finally this summer she admitted she has a hot, hot romance with Freddie Prinze Jr.

They've been called the 20-something poster couple and first met as co-stars of the hit summer '97 slasher movie, I Know What You Did Last Summer. But their romance didn't blossom until this spring. At first they both steadfastly denied that they were dating. But while out pushing his latest movie, Boys and Girls, the 24- year- old Freddie talked non-stop about Sarah. Then they were caught snuggling during time-out of the NY Knicks vs. Miami Heat National Basketball Association play-off game in Madison Square Garden in May. Their secret was out. Besides their love of sports, the silver screen and sushi (more on that later), the couple has a childhood loss in common: neither Gellar nor Prinze really knew their fathers.

Freddie's father, Freddie Prinze, star of Chio and the Man, committed suicide when his son was only 10 months old. "My old man taught me a lot of stuff in his death that I don't even know if he would have been able to teach me had he been alive. And that was to never do stuff that can jeopardize the people you love and hurt them." This is a lesson that would touch Sarah's heart. Her father deserted her as a child. Sarah has said: "I don't even consider the man my father." Friends say she's still bitter and refuses to talk about or with him to this day. Her mom, a nursery school teacher in Manhattan, struggled to make ends meet and Sarah, fortu- nately a cute little pixie who knew how to show off, landed her first act- ing job before she turned 5 years old. A talent scout spotted her hamming it up in a restaurant and hired the outgoing toddler for the TV movie Invasion of Privacy. She went on to star in more than 100 commercials while attending private schools in her home of New York City. A brainiac, Sarah was not only a good student but also great at every- thing she did. She earned a brown belt in the martial art Tae Kwon Do and became a champion figure skater. More commercials, film and TV productions followed. She played the youngjacqueline Bouvier in the 1991 miniseries A Woman Named,7ackie. At 15, Sarah landed the role of 22-year old Kendall Hart, the devil daughter of Erica Kane (Susan Lucci) on All My Cbildren. Sarah/Kendall committed atrocities most daughter's from hell only dream of doing: she schemed to breakup her mom's marriage, falsified a pregnancy, faked a rape and then went on to try and seduce her stepfather. "Everyone hates me for some reason. I didn't do anything wrong," Sarah demurely once joked to reporters. A year after winning the day-time Emmy Award for Outstanding Young Actress in 1994 and following a long-running feud with her on-camera mom Susan Lucci, Sarah quit the show, surprising everyone, especially her fans. But Sarah was set on conquer- ing greater venues-and landed the part of Buffy, the teenager who was born to kill bloodsuckers and sling sarcastic comments to friends and foes alike. Buffy led to bigger parts and turned Sarah into the Teen Scream Queen of 1997 when she starred in two hit horror films Scream 2 and I Kno7v U'hat You Did Last Summer. On screen she slays bloodthirsty grave robbers and stomps out evildoers but in real life Sarah is scared of cemeteries and being buried alive. When she had to do a Buffy scene in a real cemetery, Sarah says, "They basically made me do it. I was hyster- ical. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done for my job. I cried the whole way home." And she won't watch horror movies. "To me the scariest elements of films are the things that could really happen." The natural brunette, who stops men dead in their tracks with her knockout beauty (she stars in Maybelline cosmetics commercials), was linked with a string of great looking guys before settling on Freddie. Her real-life male conquests included "Friends" Matthew Perry, Jerry O'Connell of "Jerry Maguire", and pro-tennis star Jan Michael Gambill. But it was a rumored romance With former Buffy co-star and love interest, David Boreanaz that raised the most eyebrows. Sarah and David, 29, were seen flirting up a storm,on the set and their love scenes sizzled even before he left to star in his own spin-off series Angel. After he filed for divorce in October (1999), they were caught cuddling and holding hands at several Los Angeles hot spots and together at a Christmas party in the Hollywood Hills. They drank hot cider out of the same cup and hugged on the balcony while watching the city's bright lights below. One crew member said: "He sent her flowers on the set just because he knew it would make her smile. He's always visiting Sarah at work and complimenting her clothes and her every-changing hairstyles." But as David hit it big with Angel, the hunk got even more attention from women. Always a ladies man, that might have been the stake that divided their relation- ship and drove Sarah into the arms of Freddie. Even though most people think the 5-foot-3 amess is out partying with handsome men every. night, Sarah actually spends most nights at home studying Buffy scripts and hug- ging her little white pup "Thor." The tiny TV trooper also was the butt of rumors of anorexia last year when her weight d ipped below 100 pounds. One Buffy staffer said her clothes had to be taken in several times. "Pretty soon we'll have to go out and buy Barbie clothes for her," the insider snidely joked. But her spokesman, Jonathan Perry, denied any eating problems, saying that he recently had lunch with her and she had a healthy appetite. "She looked perfectly fine to me. She has a busy schedule and perhaps she's not taking as good care of herself as she should. However, as far as I can see, she does not have an eating disorder." Sarah herself has said: "Everyone says I'm too skinny-but this is Hollywood. You can't be too rich or too thin!" After Sarah won two MTV movie awards in June, (including one for the best movie kiss-which was with another woman) Freddie, who told everyone how he admires his girl&iend's ability to chow down, had to clarify his comment after Sarah gave him a dirty look. "She can out eat me in sushi and that 's about it," he admitted. But Sarah shot back laughing, "It's a shame that Freddie is gonna go home by himself tonight."


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