What’s Going on With the Cast of Charmed?

Charmed was a show about the Power of Three — three witch sisters who were stronger together. Question is, which three Charmed stars are we really talking about? Years after the show’s finale, the behind-the-scenes drama has re-emerged on TikTok and podcasts. The piece of history being debated now is the exit of Shannen Doherty from the show. Doherty played eldest Halliwell sister Prue for Charmed’s first three seasons. Why she wasn’t on the last five seasons is what’s under debate. Alyssa Milano says Doherty created a toxic work environment. Doherty says Milano got her fired to become “number one on the call sheet.” We’re cracking open the Book of Shadows and giving you all the lore. Here is a complete timeline of the Charmed cast feud, from the show’s beginnings to dueling panels at Orlando MegaCon.


1980s: Shannen Doherty and Holly Marie Combs meet while as working actresses and become friends. Alyssa Milano has said that their buddy-buddy thing made her feel like an outcast on the set of Charmed. “Holly and Shannen were best friends for like ten years before the show started so it was very much sort of like high school,” Milano said on WWHL. “I would hope that in our 30s it wouldn’t feel like that anymore.”

1990: Doherty gets the role of Brenda Walsh on Beverly Hills, 90210. As the show goes on, Doherty acquires the reputation for being a “bad girl” and feuding with cast member Jennie Garth. Garth has acknowledged the feud was mutual, and is now long over. Doherty also gets stuck with the “difficult” label at this time, which can be career death for actresses. “I have a rep. Did I earn it? Yeah, I did. But, after a while you sort of try to shed that rep because you’re kind of a different person,” Doherty said in 2019. “You’ve evolved and all of the bad things you’ve done in your life have brought you to a much better place.”

1994: The issues between Doherty and the rest of the 90210 cast come to a head, and she leaves the show. “There was definitely a time that I did not want to be there,” Doherty told Entertainment Weekly in its oral history of the show. “I was unhappy. It sounds odd to say that I was on a hit show making a lot of money and I was unhappy, because it makes me sound unappreciative — I wasn’t. It’s just that the sacrifice at the time seemed too large to me. The sacrifice of a camera pointed in my face 24 hours a day while I was desperately trying to grow up, to figure out my spirituality, to figure out my boyfriends. I mean, I was a teenager.” In the same oral history, Aaron Spelling makes clear that Doherty was not fired: “She thought it was time to go. And the cast did too.”


1998: Aaron Spelling casts Doherty as Prue Halliwell in Charmed. Her bestie, Holly Marie Combs, is cast as Piper. “I was very trepidatious of working with Aaron Spelling again and getting involved because they burned me really badly on 90210,” Doherty said in December 2023. “I was probably carrying around a lot of resentment and anger still.” She tossed the pilot script in the backseat of her car, and it was Combs who forced her to take a second look.

For the show’s pilot, Lori Rom played littlest sister Phoebe. When the show is ordered to series, Rom has been replaced with Milano.

During production of the first season, Combs undergoes surgery for a uterine tumor. Production shuts down for two weeks. Combs said the cast rallied around her. “Shannen would leave my hospital room, and Alyssa and her mom would come in,” she told People. “When I went home, Alyssa’s mom had made me chicken soup and food for the week because it was a really major surgery. The girls really pulled together during this time for me.” Even in this telling, Doherty and Milano aren’t in the same room.

On Doherty’s podcast, Let’s Be Clear With Shannen Doherty, the actress claims Milano and her mother actually kept Doherty away from Combs at the hospital. “I waited 24 hours after your surgery to go, and then it wasn’t even easy for me to get in. I was like, being told I couldn’t even get in by Alyssa and her mom. They were blocking people from seeing you, and at the time, you didn’t know,” Doherty told Combs. She said it created a “weird divide between the two of us that then continued throughout season two, where I think I cried every single night of season two.”

1999: Charmed is a hit and everything is fine! Right? “I feel that we’re incredibly lucky that the three of us found each other,” Milano said in 1999. “We all have horses so we all have things that are in common. Holly and I keep our horses at the same ranch so we go riding all the time together and we’re very similar and, um, very close — we’re blessed in that way. It’s like a big slumber party every day. We giggle a lot.”

2001: Doherty leaves the show at the end of the third season. Prue sacrifices herself to save her sisters, and the remaining Halliwells find out they have a half-sibling named Paige (Rose McGowan). “There was too much drama on the set and not enough passion for the work,” Doherty told Entertainment Tonight in 2001“I’m 30 years old and I don’t have time for drama in my life anymore.”

Messaging in the media centers around “difficult” Doherty leaving a Spelling show yet again. “I’m very laid back and passive. I have my Buddha,” Milano said in an EW interview ahead of season four. “I think it’s unfortunate that she left, and that she needed to bad-mouth everyone involved and the audience. She sounds really angry. I just hope I didn’t contribute to that anger.”

Feud Reboot

2013: On WWHL, Alyssa Milano says she doesn’t really know what happened with Doherty’s departure: “I don’t know if she got fired, we never really found out what happened. I can tell you that we were on the air with her for three years and there were definitely some rough days.”

2017: Shannen Doherty announces that her breast cancer, which she was diagnosed with in 2015, has gone into remission. Milano says that she and Doherty have squashed their beef. “I think we’re just at ages now that what happens 15 years ago, or however long ago that was, it’s irrelevant,” Milano told E! “I think that what she has gone through, motherhood in my life, I think it just changes people. I’m so happy that she’s feeling well. I prayed for her every day that she would feel well and I can’t wait to see her.”

2020: Doherty reveals that her breast cancer has returned and is now stage four. “I don’t think that I’ve processed it,” she told NBC News. “It’s a bitter pill to swallow in a lot of ways.”

June 2023: Doherty says her cancer has now spread to her brain and is terminal. She says she is still optimistic. “I don’t want to die,” she told People in November 2023. “I’m not done with living. I’m not done with loving. I’m not done with creating. I’m not done with hopefully changing things for the better. I’m just not — I’m not done.” One of the things she’s not done creating is a podcast, Let’s Be Clear.

December 2023: In a two-part episode of Let’s Be Clear, Doherty and Combs discuss what they now feel was Doherty’s firing from Charmed, which was done at Milano’s behest. Combs said that she had a meeting with producer Jonathan Levin where he explained what went down: “He said, ‘We didn’t mean to, but we’ve been backed into this corner. We’re basically in this position where it’s one or the other. We were told it’s her or [Doherty], and Alyssa has threatened to sue us for a hostile workplace environment.’”

February 3, 2024: At a Who’s the Boss? panel at Orlando MegaCon, Milano refutes what Combs and Doherty said on Let’s Be Clear. Later, she posts her remarks at the Con as an Instagram post, with further statements in the caption. “I don’t know one other show that has had the success that Charmed had where the cast still speaks ill of the experience a quarter of a century later … This was so long ago that any retelling of these stories from anyone is just revisionist history.” Milano refuted Combs’s story, saying instead that things were so bad on set that the show hired a third-party mediator. “There was a professional mediator (I was told Holly and Shannen would not participate in any mediation) and an on-set producer/babysitter who were both brought in to investigate all claims,” she wrote. “It was then recommended by this mediator, after collecting testimony from cast AND crew — what changes should be made if the show was going to continue. The studio, Aaron Spelling, and network made the decision to protect the international hit that was Charmed. I did not have the power to get anyone fired.”

February 5, 2024: The Charmed panel at MegaCon runs. Doherty tearfully defends speaking her truth. “At this point in my life with my health diagnosis,” Doherty said, referring to her cancer diagnosis, “with fighting horrific disease every day of my life, it is also incredibly important to me that the truth actually be told as opposed to the narrative that others put out there for me.” Doherty was flanked by Combs and McGowan as she spoke. “I recall the facts as if I were still living in them, and what I will say is that what somebody else may call drama is an actual trauma for me that I have lived with for an extremely long time,” Doherty said. “And it is only through my battle with cancer that I decided to address this trauma and be open and honest about it, so that I can actually heal from a livelihood that was taken away from me, a livelihood that was taken away from my family, because someone else wanted to be number one on the call sheet. That is the truth.”

That same day, Holly Marie Combs posted a rebuttal to Alyssa Milano’s MegaCon comments. “I feel the need to defend myself after the many continuing attacks that have ensued since Alyssa stepped out on the stage [at MegaCon] and essentially called Shannen and I liars,” she wrote. “Suffice to say I’m a little shocked and a little disappointed especially by the things she posted the next day while texting me simultaneously words to the contrary.” Combs wrote that she found it ironic that Milano said she didn’t have the power to get anyone fired. “This was actually all about power,” she wrote. “But let’s go with that and let me explain what she did have the power to do. She had the power the stop the process at any time.” Ultimately, Combs placed most of the blame on producers. “3 broken pieces were easier to control and manipulate than one united front,” she wrote.

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