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OTRC: Sarah Michelle Gellar of 'Ringer' has body dysmorphic disorder

Sarah Michelle Gellar appears as Siobhan, the twin sister of her other character, Bridget, in the pilot of 'Ringer,' a CW series that debuted on Sept. 13, 2011. (CW)

Sarah Michelle Gellar, star of "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" and the new CW drama series "Ringer," says she has body dysmorphic disorder but that becoming a mother helped change her "vanity."

People who suffer from the mental illness obsess about their looks and perceive their appearance as ugly. Gellar, who is 34 and is 5'3," has appeared slim on-screen. She is seen by many as a sex symbol and has posed for suggestive photos for magazines such as Maxim. She and husband Freddie Frinze Jr. welcomed their daughter, Charlotte, in 2009.

"Oh God ... I'm a female! I totally have body dysmorphic disorder," the 34-year-old actress told Health magazine. "I think most women do. A makeup artist friend once said, 'I don't think I've ever seen you look in a mirror.' I'm surrounded by them all the time - you sit in hair and makeup - so I guess I just have this mechanism where I tune it out."

"Every once in a while, I'll look and I'll be like, 'Wait, that's what I look like?' I just have to remember that I'm human, and I'm a mom," she added. "Being a parent changes the vanity at least a little bit. It has to. Your priorities are different.

An estimated 1 to 2 percent of people around the world have been diagnosed with body dysmorphic disorder, or BDD. A 2011 study carried out in Belgium showed that one-third of people seeking rhinoplasty, or a nose job, had at least moderate symptoms of the mental illness. Gellar has not confirmed to have had cosmetic procedures.

The actress says she currently keeps fit by eating healthy foods, using a treadmill and doing Pilates, which also helps relief discomfort stemming from "major scoliosis," or curving of the spin, that she has suffered from for years.

Gerllar said her daughter, who turned 2 on September 19, has also embraced a healthy diet.

"We took her to sushi on Saturday night, and everybody couldn't believe what she inhaled," the actress said. "I think it's important at a young age to enjoy different tastes. And we make this green juice for her. We go to the farmers' market and buy everything and just put it in the juicer: kale, Swiss chard, carrots, celery. You name it. And now we've all started drinking it, and we've all been healthier."

The actress played the title role on "Buffy The Vampire Slayer," which ended its run in 2003 after seven seasons and earned her a large fan following. While filming the show, the actress had a nutritionist on the set, eliminated fried foods, sugar and dairy products from her diet and weighed 98 pounds, People magazine quoted one of her stunt doubles as saying in 1999.

"I think when I was doing 'Buffy,' I was a little bit thin, actually," Gellar told Health. "Because even though I was working out constantly, it was just the time and the age. But I was happy being pregnant, too. I'm not as critical as I used to be about my body."

Gellar's new show, "Ringer," premiered on the CW network on September 13 and was watched by about 2.74 million people. Viewership dropped this week, as Tuesday's episode was seen by about 1.94 million people.

The show is the actress' first regular television project since "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" ended. Gellar plays Bridget, a recovering addict who goes on the run after witnessing a murder. After her estranged and wealthy twin, Siobhan, disappears mysteriously, Bridget assumes her sister's identity and quickly learns that her sister had her own shocking secrets.

While playing Bridget when she is not impersonating her twin in front of others, Gellar displays the vulnerable but brave persona she often showcased as Buffy. The actress' portrayal of Siobhan as herself brings to mind Gellar's performance as conniving New York socialite Kathryn Merteuil in the 1999 film "Cruel Intentions." The character was a cocaine addict who also used the eating disorder bulimia to control her weight.

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