While speaking at Orlando’s MegaCon, Alyssa Milano was asked about the nearly 25-year-old “Charmed” feud between herself and costars Shannen Doherty and Rose McGowan (and, to a lesser degree, Holly Marie Combs), including what she described as the “toxicity” on the set while Doherty was part of the show. Both at the Friday panel and Saturday on Instagram, Milano expressed her disappointment that the feud persists.
She wrote in part, “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 is 15 movies and 13 TV shows ago for me. This was 11 years before my 15 year marriage and 13 years before having my first child. This was so long ago that any retelling of these stories from anyone is just revisionist history.”
In December, Doherty and Combs chatted about why the former was booted from “Charmed” on the podcast “Let’s Be Clear with Shannen Doherty.” Doherty’s character was killed off in Season 3 after rumors of on-set fighting between the women. In the podcast episode, Doherty and Combs both agree that Milano was the one who had Doherty fired.
Milano disputed that characterization, writing, “I will add, though, with absolute certainty — everything was documented. 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. 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. Once Shannen left we had 5 more successful seasons and I am forever grateful.”
“Also, footnote: I have the same attorney now that I had then (he’s been my attorney since I was 19),” Milano continued.
She also added, “Thanks to @megaconorlando for having me and believing that I can get people there. (4 hours wait lines! Phew!) And thanks to the fans who have to deal with the chaos and can’t just have the show to love and experience for themselves.”
“As always, I wish Holly, Shannen and Rose, peace and light in their personal and professional journeys. We all have bigger demons to fight.”
The fan who asked about the dispute at the panel apologized for bringing the ongoing feud up, but Milano said she would “just address the elephant in the room.”
She began, “No, it’s OK because I– clearly, you know, you’re all ‘Charmed’ fans, so I knew that this was going to come up in one way or another, and I want to be very thoughtful in how I respond to any of this. And I think we all know I’m talking about Shannen [Doherty’s] podcast and Holly [Marie Combs] and Shannen doing it together, the things that Rose [McGowan] has said in the past.”
“So I’m just going to address it because, I feel like if you can live with a certain amount of honesty and integrity, then you all deserve that,” she continued. “But I want to be thoughtful because I don’t want to add on to anyone else’s pain, because I don’t think that’s cool either.”
“I will just say that I’m sad. And I don’t think it’s really that I’m sad for me or for my life or how it does or does not affect my life. I’m the most sad for the fans. I’m the most sad that a show that has meant so much to so many people has been tarnished by a toxicity that is still to this day, almost a quarter of a century later, still happening. And I’m sad that people can’t move past it. And I’m sad that we all can’t just celebrate the success of a show that meant so much to all of us.”
Milano added, “And I think when I think back to that time, it was hard for me, it was hard for me. And I have worked super hard in my life, in the last 25 years, to heal all of my trauma. And that’s not just, you know, the trauma that I had experienced while shooting, but all of my trauma, and I’ve worked really hard to heal bits because I understand that hurt people, hurt people. And my intention is to be a healed person that helps heal people. So, that’s kind of how I feel.”
On the podcast, Combs had said the show’s producer Jonathan Levin told her, “You know, ‘We’re basically in a position where it’s one or the other. We were told [by Alyssa] that it’s [Shannen] or me, and Alyssa has threatened to sue us for a hostile workplace environment.'” She also said that Milano “built a case for herself” by working with the mediator on set.
The exact details of what did or didn’t happen on the “Charmed” set have not been shared, but all four actresses have spoken about the feud over the years. In her 2018 memoir “Brave,” McGowan admitted that she focused on making herself “look super non-threatening” so fans would bond with her character quickly.
She added, “I found the repetitive days so opposite my natural rhythms that I became sick over and over. And it was at times a very stressful environment. I started to have panic attacks because of everything I was pushing down.”
In 2013, Milano told Andy Cohen, “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.”
“Holly and Shannen were best friends for like 10 years before the show started, so it was very much sort of like high school. I would hope that in our thirties it wouldn’t feel like that anymore,” she added.
Doherty and Combs appeared to prove they didn’t have problems with one another two years later when they worked on the show “Off the Map with Shannen and Holly.”
In 2017, Milano told E! News that she and Doherty had patched things up after the latter was diagnosed with cancer. She said, “I think we’re just at ages now that what happens 15 years ago, or however long ago that was, it’s irrelevant. I think that what she has gone through, [and] 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.”
While it seemed that Doherty, Milano and Combs were more or less on good terms, Milano and McGowan faced off over the #MeToo movement in 2020. In a series of since-deleted tweets, McGowan said in part, “You threw a fit in front of the crew, yelling, ‘They don’t pay me enough to do this s–t!’ Appalling behavior on the daily. I cried every time we got renewed because you made that set toxic AF. Now, get off my coattails you f–king fraud.”
In 2021, Milano admitted to being the cause of at least some of the drama between herself and Doherty. As she put it, “You know, I could take responsibility for a lot of our tension that we had. 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. And I have some guilt about my part in that.”
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