As Mowry-Housley tells ET's Matt Cohen, it was an emotional reunion and felt as though she got the chance to really say goodbye to her former team.
"There's so much chemistry between us girls and I felt so honored to be one of the OG hosts," Mowry-Housley expresses, while promoting her new holiday movie, Christmas Comes Twice, about seeing her gal-pals again. "So seeing them it was like, 'Ahh, there they are! Hi, guys!' And I still haven't been able to give them hugs and kisses."
"I never got to really say goodbye. I never got a proper kind of exit because of the pandemic," she adds. "I was already thinking about moving on to my next chapter. I knew it since the beginning of season 6 that I was going to [leave]."
After seven years on the program, she knew that it was time for her to move on, explaining, "It was something that I needed to do for myself. Creatively, I was feeling a little dormant. I was missing home, missing acting as well."
"I just got that acting bug ignited again," she divulges. "I hadn't acted in seven years and it was something that just ignited within me. That fire started to burn again."
Now Mowry-Housley is back to her roots and starring in her second Hallmark movie, Christmas Comes Twice. In the festive film, she plays a time-traveling astrophysicist. When the annual carnival comes to town, a ride around the carousel takes her magically back in time to the carnival five years before... giving her a second chance at love before she must return to Christmas present.
When asked if she would travel back in time to change anything, Mowry-Housley admits, "Looking back I'm like, 'Now I know why I went through that.'"
"[But] let's go back to the people that I have lost. My grandmother, she passed away, my niece passed away and I miss them so much," she says. "I feel them in the spiritual like, I definitely sense they are angels, but I want to just see them in the physical again. I want to just hold them one more time. And I think that's the reason why the character Miss Nelson really resonated with me because she gets that chance. No one usually gets that chance, so the lesson to learn there is, don't take your loved ones for granted. Hold on to them, love them now."
As for the possibility of turning back time and ever returning to co-host The Real, Mowry-Housley says she loves visiting and promised her former co-hosts that she would be back.
"I just told my producer that I will be there when the time allots," she shares. "So maybe that will give me that, that fix of really missing them. But I have this new journey. I feel like I'm definitely gonna be moving along that way and then visiting whenever I can because, like I said, I want to be the next Betty White. I have a long ways to go, meaning I love to act and I want to act as long as I possibly can."
Christmas Comes Twice premieres Sunday, Dec. 13 on Hallmark Channel.