'Raven's Home': Anneliese van der Pol's Chelsea Will Return for 100th Episode (Exclusive)

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Raven Baxter and Chelsea Daniels are back together again! The cast of Raven's Home is celebrating their 100th episode with a special appearance from an original cast member: Anneliese van der Pol. ET can exclusively confirm that van der Pol, who played Chelsea on That's So Raven and Raven's Home, returns to the beloved Disney Channel sitcom to celebrate the milestone.

"It feels exactly what you would imagine. It feels nostalgic. It feels like coming home," the 37-year-old actress told ET's Deidre Behar about returning to the series after her departure. "It is the 100th episode of Raven's Home and also the 200th episode of the franchise of That's So Raven, so it's just incredibly full circle. I'm so proud of Raven [Symoné]. It's great to be back with all my old friends, the crew and the cast. Then, of course, Raven's directing, and it's just so amazing to see her blossom, and to be a part of something that's meant so much to so many people, not just myself."

The actress departed the series ahead of season 5 after the show underwent a soft reboot with new characters in a new city. 

Raven-Symoné and Issac Ryan Brown returned as the somewhat psychic Raven Baxter and her son, Booker, who inherited his mom’s gift to catch glimpses of the future, as they relocated from Chicago to San Francisco to care for Raven's dad, Victor, after he suffered a mild heart attack.

Rondell Sheridan joined the cast as a new series regular to reprise his role from That's So Raven as the titular character's easygoing and loveable dad, Victor Baxter.

The characters' move to San Francisco resulted in the departure of several series regulars: Navia Robinson (Nia), Jason Maybaum (Levi), Sky Katz (Tess) and van der Pol. It also gained several new cast members, including Mykal-Michelle Harris (ABC's mixed-ish) as Raven's young cousin Alice; Felix Avitia (Disney's Gamers Guide to Pretty Much Everything) as Neil, Victor's neighbor and Booker's high school classmate; and musician and singer Emmy Liu-Wang (Broadway musical Annie) as Ivy, a young neighbor who babysits Alice.

Van der Pol admitted that she expected coming back to feel bittersweet after her departure, but said her return has been "like riding a bike."

"I wasn't sure how I'd feel. A little indifferent, of course bittersweet missing anyone," the actress said. "[But] no bitterness. Only sweetness. Just sweet, because I'm seeing so many people that I haven't seen. You realize it's all just creative, and the show, everything moves along with you. I've had an opportunity to take a step back from the show and do my own thing, which has been a really growing process for me. Amazing, like I said. When you're in the Disney family, you're in."

And while she said she misses being with her original cast members and her co-stars from That's So Raven, van der Pol said that reuniting with Symoné had been a special treat. 

"We met when we were 15-years-old when we auditioned for something called Absolutely Psychic, which then turned out to be the show That's So Raven, and then Raven's Home," she recalled. "When we met, it was to do a job, but instantly we connected on a sense of reality. Right in the moment, we asked each other honest questions while waiting in that green room in this audition. We talked about real things immediately when we spoke, right when we were only just 15-years-old. That's continued, an honest relationship, a business relationship, but also a friendship relationship which comes first." 

She added, "That's sometimes really hard to do, to balance her directing me, or her becoming a producer, but also having to be on screen together. I think we've done such a splendid job of staying friends, remaining friends, remaining respectful and loving each other while also teaching each a lot, and helping each other grow, and bringing out the best of each other. That doesn't mean everything goes perfectly all the time, but it always ends up perfectly. I just think it's going to be a lifelong friendship. I think we're going to be 60-years-old doing this... She's taught me a lot, a lot about life, a lot about this career in business. She got me started. I wouldn't know how to stand on a mark, face out, just comedic timing without her. I learned a lot."

The feeling is very mutual with Symoné, who called having van der Pol back on set "great."

"The phone call was easy. Jed Scott and Anthony, the other EPS of the show had a wonderful idea to make the 100th episode a 100th celebration on camera as well. So we're celebrating off camera, on camera," she shared. "I can't even take full responsibility for the comeback. It's everyone involved, even Disney Channel because they know how important it is. And especially for a kid show to last, as long as it has. It's amazing."

The 36-year-old previously told ET that she is a "believer" in trying to bring "as many people as we can" to the show, including iconic characters from That's So Raven, and she stands by that statement.

"We have calls out to everyone that has ever been a part of the Raven Baxter family, even from the original show to now," she promised. "So, there are lots of calls out. Some people have voicemails, some people still have two ways. So, as long as we can speak, I'm sure we're good."

When it comes to celebrating the milestone of both TV shows, Symoné said it's "amazing to be able to be a part of a show that has changed the course of my career."

"I have been a part of the Raven Baxter franchise since I was 14 years old. I'm 36 now. And through this show, I've been able to learn how to produce. I've been able to learn how to direct. I've been able to learn how to write a script and I'm able to transform who I am as an artist through this process and meet some amazing people through it. So it's been amazing and I'm so happy where we are right now," she gushed.

"I hope the legacy of this show is that no matter where you live and who you're friends with, you can always create an amazing family," she concluded. "Because it's about love and sticking together and standing up for one another and it's OK to be different. And if you have visions, don't tell anybody, just save the world."

And as for when it's time to end the Raven Baxter franchise? Symoné will be the first to know. 

"I will always make sure that we bring the best content that we can, no matter how long it runs," she said. "I personally would love to transition my career as a full-time director and producer. Before [my face] falls, honey."

Raven's Home airs Fridays on Disney Channel at 8 p.m.


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