It’s a weekday, which means it’s time to check in on former “Charmed” stars Shannen Doherty and Alyssa Milano again. Incidentally, as of 2022, the two appear to be cordial. And it all stems back to an interview Milano did with Entertainment Tonight in 2021.
When Doherty first left “Charmed” in 2001 amid rumors of on-set tension with Milano — which neither actress denied — Doherty made it clear that she had become disillusioned with her high-profile job. (“There was too much drama on the set and not enough passion for the work,” she told ET at the time.)
But during a 2021 promotional tour for her new book, “Sorry Not Sorry,” and as Doherty continued to suffer from Stage 4 breast cancer, Milano sat down for an interview with ET and finally admitted to some responsibility in her fallout with Doherty. Her admission of responsibility to ET shed even more light on the complicated behind-the-scenes tensions that had ultimately led to Doherty’s unceremonious firing.
Shannen Doherty had become frustrated with Charmed’s creative direction
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Back when Doherty received the pink slip from WB in 2001 — just shortly after directing the show’s Season 3 finale — her co-star Holly Marie Combs revealed to TV Guide that Doherty had become frustrated with the creative direction of “Charmed.” “We were in [a] rut, where we felt like we were doing the same episodes over and over again,” Combs said. “[Shannen] wanted to make the show bigger and better and stretch her boundaries … She was really dedicated and she didn’t have a lot of patience for anyone [she felt] wasn’t.”
Additionally, in the wake of Doherty’s departure, both Combs and Doherty made it clear that they were still friends. “We will always be pals, and [Holly] doesn’t even know if she’s going back to the show because she doesn’t want to be here without me,” Doherty told ET.
But Milano, for her part, maintained that her professional relationship with Doherty had become chilly at best. “There were times when I’d come in and say, ‘Good morning, Shannen,’ and she didn’t say anything to me,” Milano told TV Guide at the time. Her comments, coupled with the fact that she remained on the show while Doherty was fired, perpetuated a narrative that Doherty was the sole reason for any reported bickering.
However, in her new 2021 interview with ET, Milano finally revealed that there was more to the story.
Alyssa Milano was responsible for a lot of her tension with Shannen Doherty
“You know, I could take responsibility for a lot of our tension that we had,” Alyssa Milano told ET. “I think a lot of our struggle came from feeling that I was in competition rather than it being that sisterhood that the show was so much about.”
Milano and Shannen Doherty played sisters Phoebe and Prue Halliwell, respectively, on “Charmed,” which became a major hit when it debuted on the WB in 1998. Both actresses, along with Holly Marie Combs, quickly became close; in fact, Combs and Doherty even served as Milano’s bridesmaids in the latter’s January 1999 wedding to rocker Cinjun Tate.
But when Milano’s competition with Doherty caused their relationship to spiral out of control, the show’s producers knew that one of the actresses would have to go. Moreover, Doherty’s character had become less popular than Milano’s. Shortly after coming to this conclusion, they called Doherty to fire her over the phone and tell her that her character was now dead.
However, now that Doherty and Milano have had years to reflect, they’ve also had time to reconnect. “I have respect for [Shannen],” Milano told ET. “Great actress, loves her family so much, and I just wish I could’ve felt strong enough in who I was to recognize that back then.”
Doherty, on the other hand, who has publicly documented her struggles with cancer since her 2015 diagnosis, has continued to share upbeat posts on Instagram while undergoing treatment. She will next appear in the film “How to Make a Deal with the Devil.”