Alyssa Milano, who played Phoebe in the hit WB series “Charmed,” took to a panel hosted by Collider to respond to claims that she was responsible for Shannen Doherty’s exit from the fantasy drama series back in 2001.
While not denying the claims, Milano expressed that it was “sad.”
More from Variety
“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,” Milano said at the panel. “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.”
Doherty was an original cast member of “Charmed” alongside Milano and Holly Marie Combs. Doherty’s character Prue was killed off after three seasons and replaced by Rose McGowan’s Paige.
Rumors of Milano’s role in the firing of Doherty began to circulate in December when Doherty took to her “Let’s Be Clear” podcast to reveal that she was asked to leave the show due to an alleged ultimatum Milano gave producers. A feud among the actors reportedly led to Milano telling “Charmed” producers they had to fire one of them, and if it was her, she would threaten to sue them for a hostile work environment.
Combs, Doherty’s guest on the podcast, confirmed that Milano strong-armed the producers into firing Doherty after three seasons, revealing that “Charmed” producer Jonathan Levin once told her that Milano approached him with the ultimatum.
“He said, 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,'” Combs said, adding that Milano ‘built a case for herself’ by using a mediator to document every time she felt uncomfortable on set.
Origins of the feud were traced back to the promotion and advertising of the show before the airing of the series’ first season, with Doherty saying in a previous episode of her podcast that there was a “lack of female support” when it appeared the show’s marketing revolved around her despite Milano and Combs also being leads.
“I have worked super hard in my life, in the last 25 years, to heal all of my trauma,” Milano said. “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.”
Milano hopes for reconciliation in the future, saying, “Do I wish that we could all sit on a stage? Yeah, because again, this was like almost a quarter of a century ago. How is it possible to continue to hold on to that?”
“I think I’ve been very upfront and taken accountability for and apologized for whatever part I played in the situation. And I’ve been very forthcoming about that. And so I don’t know how else to fix it. I even don’t know if I could put myself out there any more than I already have to try to fix it. But yeah, it’s heartbreaking,” Milano concluded.
“Charmed” ran for eight seasons from 1998 to 2006. It was created by Constance M. Burge and produced by Aaron Spelling and his production company, Spelling Television. The series was rebooted in 2018 on the CW, starring Madeleine Mantock, Melonie Diaz and Sarah Jeffery.
Best of Variety