The former Buffy star told Collider that she had been "spoiled" by her time on the show.
"I thought that was the way it was everywhere, and it's not," she admitted. "I started to watch Damages and all of these amazing, female-driven shows, and [a return to television] was something that was always in the back of my mind."
Gellar stars in new series Ringer, which premieres tonight at 9/8c on The CW.
"If I hadn't had the time away, I wouldn't have been able to appreciate the experience that I'm appreciating now," she claimed.
The actress added that she has been overwhelmed by the fan support of her small-screen return.
"You can only hope that [people] want to see you on television and that they'll watch," she said. "But everyone has been so kind."
Gellar recently insisted that mystery drama Ringer will not disappoint dedicated viewers.
"[Series creators] Nicole [Snyder] and Eric [Charmelo] pitched me the first three seasons all the way through," she explained. "Some things have already changed, but the big questions we have answers to, and we give them out a little bit every episode."
> Sarah Michelle Gellar's 'Ringer': The series premiere in pictures
Watch a trailer for Ringer below: