Buffy the Vampire Slayer has been around for over 20 years, even longer if the 1992 movie is counted. The staying power of the series, which began as a cult hit, is extraordinary.
There are many parts, stories, and characters in the Buffyverse that fans still feel passionate about, even long after the last show aired its last episode. Yet if one element of the expansive story has endured (and is still constantly debated), it’s Buffy’s love life.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer began with Buffy falling in love with a vampire with a soul, Angel. Angel and Buffy are the ultimate example of star-crossed lovers.
They were responsible for much of the best material stories in the early Buffy episodes and many a tear shed by the audience and the characters.
Angel even grew to be so popular that he received his own self-titled spin-off. Angel turned Buffy the Vampire Slayer into not just a show, but a whole universe.
Even those who are only vaguely aware of Buffy the Vampire Slayer are well acquainted with Buffy and Angel’s angsty romance. Yet there's more to Angel and Buffy than simple melodrama.
While any fan knows the broad strokes of their roller coaster relationship, with its many ups and downs, there’s much more to tell.
There are tons of behind-the-scenes secrets coming from production and cast interviews that only the hardcore Buffy and Angel shippers realize exist.
With that said, here are the 15 Secrets Only True Fans Know About Buffy And Angel’s Relationship.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 2 is when the show changed gears. It turned from the funny and quirky high school drama (with vampires) to the funny and quirky high school drama (with vampires) where horrible, awful and tragic things happen.
Anyone who complains about Joss Whedon destroying their favorite characters began complaining during Buffy's season 2.
The impetus for the tonal shift was, like most important things in early Buffy, Angel and Buffy’s romance.
It was during season 2 that Buffy slept with someone for the first time. She slept with her serious boyfriend and Angel turned into a literal monster.
When Angel lost his soul, he turned into the evil Angelus. Angelus and Buffy battled and it all ended with Buffy being forced to face Angelus in single combat. Buffy destroyed Angelus, just as Angel’s soul was returned.
Angel’s story almost ended there. It’s heavily rumored that Joss Whedon planned to cut off Angel in the Buffy season 2 finale and never bring him back.
It didn’t happen because the decision was made to give Angel a spin-off. However, the first and harshest goodbye between Buffy and Angel could’ve ended up being their one and only.
In retrospect, Angel’s demise in season 2 does come off as a little cheap. It’s hard to feel too sad about Angel passing away when his own spin-off exists. Yet the Buffyverse was better off keeping Angel in it.
Angel and Buffy have nearly as many fans as detractors. Nothing can bring out the ire or praise from a fellow Buffy fan than sharing an opinion on which vampire was best for the slayer.
Discussing the merits of Buffy and Angel is minefield for even the most level headed Buffyverse fans. However, the father of the entire franchise, Joss Whedon has his own very specific opinions.
In Whedon’s mind, there was only one vampire for Buffy, and it wasn’t Angel. Whedon has gone on record several times explaining that he found Angel incredibly difficult to write.
Since Angel was so straight-laced and serious, especially on Buffy, Whedon couldn’t really find a way into the character’s head.
Spike, however, was much easier for Whedon to craft. It’s Whedon’s influence that caused Spike to go from bitter enemy to Buffy’s complicated love interest.
Whedon felt there was far more between the two character. Though Whedon does admit that Buffy and Angel was his most epic romance. If Whedon is picking a team, it’s Spike.
It’s an unpopular opinion for a lot of fans, Whedon’s choice does make sense of a lot of the creative decisions on Buffy.
Once Angel left the series, Spike did really start to dominate as a character. He turned from a recurring side player to series regular.
Whether Whedon was right to give Spike so much to do, is a matter of personal taste, but at least Whedon committed.
Love or hate them, but Angel and Buffy are constantly at an 11 on a scale of 1-10 during Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Almost everything is the end of the world, whether in a personal or more literal and global sense. Buffy and Angel have no chill whatsoever. (Which is ironic because without warm blood Angel is nothing but chilly.)
Actors, Sarah Michelle Gellar and David Boreanaz, were the exact opposite of their characters. Though the love scenes between Buffy and Angel were intense and steamy (at least by late '90s broadcast TV standards), neither actor could take them seriously.
Due to the fact that the two were such good friends, the actors were constantly pranking each other when it came time for Buffy and Angel to play tonsil hockey.
Sarah Michelle Gellar explained that she would eat tuna fish and pickles before kissing scenes. She’d pin or sew together any bits of clothing that Boreanaz (or Angel) was supposed to take off and even dropped ice cream on him. (The last of which made it into an Angel episode.)
The whole thing puts all Bangel's angst in another context. It’s probably not something you want to think about in the moment while watching Buffy and Angel get it on.
It’s still amusing to think that while Angel and Buffy are brooding their hardest, Sarah Michelle Gellar and David Boreanaz are trying to crack each other up.
To watch the first ever episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is to be very confused about Angel’s character.
The Angel who appears in the Buffy pilot is radically different the character who fans will come to know. David Borenaz doesn’t just look like a 12-year-old, Angel is swarmy, smirky and wearing V-necks so deep it might as well be a vest.
He’s nothing like a vampire who must be purposely miserable all the time. This is because Angel wasn’t originally envisioned as a vampire.
When the character was first being created, Whedon and crew weren’t exactly sure what they were going to do with Angel.
They knew he was going to be a love interest for Buffy and he’d help her. Yet his origins were much more ethereal. The idea was even floated that Angel would be an actual Angel.
It wasn’t until the episode “Angel” in Buffy’s first season that the series finally settled on Angel being a vampire with a soul. Around the same time that audiences found out about Angel is when the Buffy cast and crew knew what to do about Angel.
It is bizarre considering how perfectly Angel being a vampire works for the series that it wasn’t the plan from the start.
An alternate reality where Angel is a literal angel is almost too bizarre to imagine. At least the uncertainty of Angel’s origins explains why, in layman’s terms, he was total weirdo in the early episodes.
In the first season of the Angel, crossovers were quite frequent with Buffy. Spike (and Seth Green’s Oz) showed up in the third episode of Angel. Sarah Michelle Gellar appeared not once, but twice, during Angel season 1. (David Boreanaz returned the favor with two brief Buffy season 4 appearances.)
Yet after season 1 of Angel, the crossovers only went one way. Angel rarely showed up on Buffy, reprising his role for the series finale and one other dramatic moment but Buffy never made her back to Angel.
The reason for keeping the two apart was about as boring as it can be imagined-- contract negotiations.
For its first five seasons Buffy was on one network, The WB. When Angel launched as a spin-off during Buffy season 4, it obviously called the same network home.
Yet after Buffy season 5, the flagship series moved to new network UPN. Even though Buffy and Angel were still taking place in the same universe, it became a huge headache to negotiate between the rival networks about which actors could appear on what series.
Angel and Buffy would only crossover when it was deemed "necessary."
Even though the reasons for Buffy’s lack of appearances was taken out of Angel’s hands, it did end up working out in the series’ favor.
Angel relied on Buffy a little heavily in the early offing. Without her, Angel developed its own identity, independent of the slayer.
At the end of Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 5, Buffy passes awat. In season 6, Buffy’s friends bring her back to life and she’s much worst for the wear.
Eventually, Angel gets word of Buffy’s resurrection and the two agree to meet up. This reunion happens off-camera, on both series.
Angel and Buffy have a phone conversation, on their respective series. That’s all.
All that Buffy and Angel say of their reunion is that it was “intense.” This is the understatement of the century because everything about Buffy and Angel is “intense.” To this day, no one knows what really happened when the two reunited.
The closest that anyone has got to an answer is the Buffy comic Reunion, written by TV writer Jane Espenson.
In Reunion, Xander, Anya, and Willow speculate about what might’ve happened between the two. Yet things get out of hand quickly and it’s eventually revealed that all the weirdness is happening because Willow cast a spell.
Ultimately, the characters are left in just as much dark as the audience.
Also, the story isn't even considered actual canon. The only "canonical" explanation of the reunion is Cordelia and Wesley’s comical and imagined reenactment of it during the Angel episode “Fredless".
In all honesty, this is superior to what likely happened-- lots of tears.
After the seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, viewers are left with one big impression when it comes to Buffy’s love life. There were two great loves for Buffy and both were vampires.
The history of Buffy is split almost evenly between Angel and another vampire, Spike, being Buffy’s main love interest for the series.
The debate of who was better for Buffy continues to rage. However, Angel and Spike aren’t the only serious relationships that Buffy has had in her canonical life.
This isn’t referring to Buffy’s milquetoast boyfriend of Buffy season 4, Riley. Even though Buffy inexplicably decided that she was in love with Riley right after they broke up, no one counts Riley as a serious love interest.
In the comics, that extended the story of Buffy (and Angel) outside the TV shows, Buffy has had several serious and meaningful relationships.
Buffy had a brief fling with another slayer, named Satsu. Satsu was one of the Slayers activated by Willow in the Buffy season 7 finale.
Satsu fell hopelessly in love with her “general” Buffy. Buffy and Satsu’s relationship never turned too serious, but they did have a romantic one before Buffy broke it off.
The more surprising comic relationship is the one that was never consummated. Buffy began to develop very serious feelings for her best friend, Xander.
However, Xander rejected Buffy thinking that the feelings weren’t genuine. Instead, Xander ended up with Buffy’s sister, Dawn, which only feels the teeniest bit creepy.
The story of Buffy and Angel, especially in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is that they’re two destined but tragic lovers.
They will never stop caring for each other but affection does not necessarily mean that they work well together. Angel isn’t just Buffy’s first love, he’s treated as her soulmate.
However, Buffy isn’t the first tiny blonde that Angel ever tussled with in his unnaturally long life.
The first real relationship that Angel had was with his vampire sire, and eventual mother of his child, Darla.
Darla turned Angel into a vampire and they reigned destruction for centuries. Darla passed away early in Buffy season 1.
Yet she was brought back for Angel and their twisted love affair sprouted anew, especially since Darla returned to life as a human not a vampire.
In many ways, the angst between Darla and Angel puts all the melodrama between Buffy and Angel to shame.
It’s probably for that reason that David Boreanaz thought that Darla was Angel’s soulmate, as he explained in a 2001 interview.
The interview was done in conjunction with Darla being reintroduced into Angel. So it’s probably an opinion that Boreananz wouldn't assert to this day.
Yet it is strange how often Darla gets overlooked in the discussion of Buffy and Angel’s relationship, since Darla predates Buffy in several ways.
Though Buffy and Angel’s on-again and off-again relationship was more off than on, they ended on a rather hopeful note during the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series finale.
In their last scene together, Buffy told Angel that she wasn’t ready to be with him or anyone. She was “cookie dough” and she was still baking.
However, one day there might be a future for them.
When Angel (and viewers) next saw Buffy though, it was during one of the very last episodes of Angel.
Angel receives word that Buffy has been ensnared by his longtime rival, The Immortal. Angel goes rushing off to save Buffy, with Spike in tow, only to realize that Buffy is in a relationship with The Immortal.
The episode is a surreal departure, mostly because Sarah Michelle Gellar doesn’t appear as Buffy at all.
All that is seen of Buffy is her golden hair bouncing on a dance floor with The Immortal. Angel ultimately lets Buffy go without speaking to her, realizing that he should move on.
It wouldn’t be until the comics that the whole affair was given a much different context. The Buffy that Angel and Spike see in that episode isn’t actually Buffy at all.
In fact, it’s a new Buffy Bot. Buffy, being the leader of a global slayer organization, has created a bunch of decoys for herself.
Buffy, the real Buffy, was never in a relationship with The Immortal. Angel’s rescue mission was more meaningless than he realized.
Before Spike went along and got his own soul, Angel was unique. He was the only vampire in history to be cursed with a soul and that curse came with a lot of strings attached.
The stipulations of Angel’s curse were that he must always be miserable. If Angel ever experienced a moment of "perfect happiness," he’d lose his soul.
Buffy season 2 reached this moment of perfect happiness by having Angel and Buffy sleep together.
From then on, Angel getting to know someone biblically went hand-in-hand with him losing his soul. Yet that wasn’t really the case.
At the tail end of Angel, Wesley Wyndam-Pryce finally explained to Angel (and the audience) that Angel didn’t loose his soul because he slept with someone. Instead, it was because Angel experienced a moment of true connection with Buffy.
Buffy and Angel’s first time together was the alignment of several different factors, which resulted in perfect happiness and the loss of the soul. The moment with Buffy was a once in a lifetime event.
It seems like a bit of flimsy retcon but it does work. Angel sleeping someone being linked to him losing him soul always felt very crass and juvenile for Buffy.
It makes far more sense that Buffy and Angel’s first time was a special one-time event, rather than something that would always happen.
Buffy and Angel being on two separate networks did make crossovers, not impossible, but very difficult.
When Buffy ended with season 7 and Angel continued with season 5, that was no longer problem.
Characters and actors could crossover freely, assuming that the talent was willing. This is why it’s been heavily rumored that Buffy was supposed to appear in Angel’s final season but the idea was scrapped.
During Angel’s fifth season, the series reached the landmark episode 100. Episode 100 used to be a much bigger deal before streaming services but it’s still a huge achievement and Angel wanted to mark the occasion with a big event.
Angel’s episode 100, “You’re Welcome”, is the turning point of season 5. Cordelia Chase returns to the series and gets Angel back on his mission.
This act of selfishness is Cordelia’s last as she passes away at the end of the hour. Originally, the role of Angel’s guiding light was meant to go to Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy.
Buffy would get Angel back on track but without the whole tragically passing away thing. In no uncertain terms, this would’ve been a huge mistake.
During Angel season 4, the show severely misused Cordelia’s character and wrote her off the show (due to reported behind-the-scenes problems).
“You’re Welcome” fixed those problems and gave Cordelia a proper goodbye-- a goodbye that Buffy didn’t need.
While plans were forming for Buffy to appear in Angel episode 100, there were no such plans for Buffy to be apart of the Angel series finale.
Although Angel season 5 became the final season of Angel, it wasn’t intended to be that way. Angel was cancelled, and a series finale had to be brought together before the show was totally ready for it.
It ended up working out for the best as Angel’s series finale is surprisingly excellent. It fits the series’ themes and characters to a tee. It’s a dour ending but an appropriate one.
It’s also an ending that Joss Whedon didn’t want Buffy or Sarah Michelle Gellar involved with in any way.
“I want to end the show with the people who’ve been in the trenches together, the characters who have lived — and occasionally died — together, the regulars,” Whedon said at the time of Angel’s series finale.
Buffy might’ve helped launch Angel as a spin-off and the character was one of Angel’s great loves, but by the time that Angel came to its premature end, Buffy was no longer that important.
Buffy’s presence in the tight Angel series finale would’ve felt highly irregular and out-of-place.
Angel and Buffy have been through many break-ups, but currently in the comics, the two characters have never been more apart.
The Buffy comics have challenged the heroes and put them into scenarios that almost certainly would’ve never happened in either of the TV shows. They are absolutely insane, and the most surreal moment involves Angel and Giles.
During the Buffy season 8 arc, Angel becomes possessed by the dark entity Twilight. (A dark entity that Angel and Buffy accidentally gave “birth” to in parallel dimension.)
Twilight, controlling Angel’s body, travels to Sunnydale and finds Buffy’s beloved Watcher and father figure, Giles.
Angel/Twilight takes Giles and snaps his neck, taking his life instantly. Eventually, Twilight is defeated and Giles is resurrected, in a younger body, but the act of Angel destroying Giles has ripped Buffy and Angel apart.
Since Giles’ passing, the two have rarely interacted. It still hurts Buffy too much to see Angel. Meanwhile, Angel, being Angel, feels too guilty for his part in Giles’ demise.
The Buffy comics are showing no signs of slowing down. It’s probably just a matter of time until Angel and Buffy reunite, even if it’s in a platonic way.
Yet if anyone thinks that Buffy and Angel hit their roughest spots in the TV series, they would be wrong.
Fans might be divided between Angel and Spike for Buffy, but their impassive opinions are nothing compared to Buffy’s own indecision.
In the comics, Buffy literally can’t choose between Spike and Angel. They both give her something that the other can’t manage.
During a season 8 comic, Buffy travels into her own consciousness, in the comics’ never-ending pursuit to be as bonkers possible.
While in her imagination, Buffy witness her ultimate fantasy. It wasn’t with Angel or Spike... but with both at the same time.
In Buffy’s mind, neither Angel or Spike are the perfect vampire for herself. They are both equally suited to her.
It’s the cop-out of the highest order. It answers the Team Angel or Team Spike with the most boring answer: it's both.
Yet that’s just the nature of the beast. Buffy being torn equally between Spike and Angel allows the comics to drag out her romantic feelings in perpetuity and fuels the fire of even more fan arguments.
It's no way a satisfying end but it does fit Buffy's character. Buffy could never choose between Angel and Spike in her own TV series. Obviously she'd be just as uncertain in the comics.
Buffy doesn’t know who is right for her between Spike and Angel. The woman who brought Buffy to life, besides Kristy Swanson, isn’t undecided, though.
Sarah Michelle Gellar has very firm feelings on who Buffy who should be with in the end. She’s had them for years too. Sarah Michelle Gellar believes that Angel is the right choice and Buffy’s only true love.
In recent years, Sarah Michelle Gellar has been very vocal about Angel being the right choice in her mind.
In the big 20 year reunion of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sarah Michelle Gellar answered the question definitively.
“There was something so beautiful to me about the Buffy and Angel story. I think that Spike understood a different part of who Buffy was and I think she needed to understand that and discover. But for me as Buffy, I think Angel,” she said.
However, even at the time Buffy was ongoing, Sarah Michelle Gellar felt strongly about Buffy and Angel’s destiny.
During the Angel episode, “I Will Remember You”, Buffy breaks down in tears as Buffy and Angel break up again.
Those tears aren't acting. Sarah Michelle Gellar is really crying, mourning the loss of Buffy and Angel. David Boreanaz can be audibly heard saying, “Sarah,” while Angel comforts Buffy.
Fans will continue to debate Buffy and Angel's relationship but Sarah Michelle Gellar’s mind is totally made up.
How do you feel about Buffy and Angel's star-crossed romance? Did you know everything about them? Did we miss any big stories about their relationship? Sound off in the comments!