The Story of Freddie Prinze Jr. and Sarah Michelle Gellar Teaches Us That Friendship Is the Best Foundation of Love
In Hollywood, marriages are often short-lived, and love has an even shorter lifespan. A couple that has managed to keep their relationship alive for years is always a cause for celebration. One such very-much-in-love celebrity couple is Freddie Prinze Jr., 46, and Sarah Michelle Gellar, 44. But what’s even cooler is how their love started as nothing more than friendship.
Bright Side looked into Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr.’s relationship timeline. It is a beautiful story with its seeds sown in on-set camaraderie with a touch of serendipity.
1. It all began as simple work bonhomie and friendship.
Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr. first connected on the set of the 1997 movie, I Know What You Did Last Summer. While the two did not have too many scenes together, the fact that Gellar did not drive or have a driver’s license led to enforced proximity.
Movie production took place in the coastal town of Southport, 48 km from the nearest big city of Wilmington, so Prinze Jr. started to drive her.
He said so in an interview, “It was an hour’s drive just to get to the gym. And when we transported the film down to South Park, she had no way to get up there. So, I started driving her, and that’s when she and I became friends. And we just would talk about life and stuff like that, and we had completely different philosophies on just about everything. ‘Cause she was a born and raised New Yorker and I was a born and raised L.A. kid, and we just looked at everything like night and day.”
That was the beginning of the friendship, and later, the couple also starred in the Scooby-Doo franchise, beginning in 2002.
2. Prinze Jr. wanted to cook for her because that’s what his family does.
The couple bonded over road trips and food because Gellar was hired towards the end, right before production started. They were meeting for the first time, although she did know Ryan Phillippe from soaps before and might have also known Jennifer Love-Hewitt.
Gellar and Prinze Jr., gelled, but his initial reaction was that she was a bit too skinny, and he wanted to cook for her because that’s what his family did, as a general practice. The actor said, “And so, we started this weekly barbecue thing at her house, and I and my cousins would come over and cook food for her and her friends. And then we’d make sure everybody ate, and that was kind of how our friendship began.”
3. This is what blew Freddie away about Sarah.
Three years later, Gellar and Prinze Jr. still met for that odd lunch date, and in January 2000, the two decided to get together again, with a mutual friend. As luck would have it, the friend missed her flight, but the couple decided to go ahead with their plans in any case.
Gellar even wrote so on her Instagram, saying, “20 years ago this week, my friend [Freddie Prinze Jr.] and I were supposed to have dinner with a mutual friend from out of town. That friend missed her flight, but we decided to still meet and catch up.” She continued writing, “Now 20 years together, 17 plus married and two kids, we still go to that restaurant for dinner. So thank you [Leslie] for not showing up for dinner.”
But there was something about that first “date” that blew Prinze away. According to the happily married couple, Freddie took her to a rather upscale sushi eatery, his favorite, Asanebo in LA, and during the meal came to realize that she was nothing like the other girls he had met.
Prinze said so as well, “A lot of girls back then in Hollywood—as far as the actresses—they didn’t eat. They ate salad. Sarah came to dinner with me, and we sat down. She ate everything, including a crab that they let walk across the counter, [later cooked in] oil and said, ’It’s popcorn, try.’” When she did this, Prinze remembers, “I was like, ’yo, my girl is legit.’”
4. From dating to a wedding, to a marriage
Gellar recalls it a little differently, as she said, “We were friends for a very long time. We’ve had many dinners before. [After our friend didn’t show up] we were just two people at dinner catching up. We had a long car ride and a long dinner, and things just happened.” At the time, they didn’t “believe” in marriage, but Prinze Jr. knew he did not want to be with anyone else following that one date.
He said, “I didn’t go on dates with other girls, nor did I even want to pursue dates with other girls. One day, I just knew we were going to get married and that I was going to propose. I didn’t know when or how. Fortunately, she was on the same page and my instincts were correct. We’re together because we like each other. We make each other laugh.”
After dating in 2000, the couple got engaged in 2001 and finally tied the knot on September 1, 2002, in Mexico.
5. Making their children a priority
In 2007, to celebrate the fifth year of marriage, Gellar legally changed her name to Sarah Michelle Prinze. In 2009, they had their first child, their daughter Charlotte Grace Prinze, and then a son, Rocky James Prinze, born in 2012.
Things changed for the couple, but in a good way. Prinze lost his dad when he was just 10 months old, so for him, being a father was a top priority. He said, “When my daughter was born, that was pretty much it for me. I became a full-time father. It’s not a job. It’s what I love to do.”
Once they had their children, the couple became a bit picky about the next projects they wanted to do. Gellar was also raised by a single mother and wanted her home to be a family. In 2012, Gellar mentioned, “We fight over who gets to stay home. You’d think it would be the opposite, that the parents would be like, ’No, I’ll go to work!’ but he’s like, ’You stayed home for two years! It’s my turn!’”
They are strict with their kids, with social media being a no-no and family dinners mean no phones. The mother of two said that “Some people say our expectations are a little higher than most, but I think [our children] know what the rules are. We have [family dinner] as many nights as we can. We have no phones at the table. We sit, we all have dinner together.”
6. How Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr. turned their marriage into a home.
The couple has made a successful marriage, balancing love, parenting, and work, and these are their tips.
Gellar took a page out of her husband’s book, saying, “You realize our society is such a technologically savvy and advanced community, but what are those moments where you connect? Where you put the phones down, and you have that one-on-one moment. I had this epiphany and I realized everything in my life was around food. Whether that’s having dinner at your home in the kitchen or you’re hanging out with friends, those are where the memories happen.”
And so, 22 years later, after they first fell in love over food, the couple still cooks. Prinze Jr.’s love for food has now become a family passion, with Gellar and the children joining in.
Prinze claims, “We ended up being a perfect balance. There was a solid foundation built, and that’s probably the main reason why we’ve always been cool and groovy.” Love, food, and knowing each other is the recipe behind their perfect marriage.
What is the one thing from Gellar and Prinze’s relationship that you feel is truly amazing? What’s the one thing you feel keeps love alive in a marriage?