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Shannen Doherty opens up about ‘horrible marriage’ that led to her Beverly Hills, 90210 firing

The star went into remission in 2017 but, in February 2020, confirmed the cancer had returned to stage four (Getty Images)

Shannen Doherty has opened up about being in a “horrible marriage” and how it ultimately affected her professional life.

The 52-year-old actor spoke candidly about her career during a recent episode of her Let’s Be Clear podcast, which featured her Beverly Hills, 90210 co-star, Jason Priestley. During the conversation with her former colleague, Doherty recalled how her difficult relationship with ex Ashley Hamilton, who she married in 1993, shaped her behaviour when working on the hit 90s show.

“Towards my last season, I was in a really horrible marriage and there were things transpiring in that marriage that made it very hard for me to consistently be on time for work,” she said. “And I know that that became a very big problem for the rest of you.”

The Charmed star continued to acknowledge how her late arrival to work was an issue for her fellow cast mates on the show, in which she played the lead, Brenda Walsh.

“Because if everybody else is on time and you’re waiting for one person, it sucks, right, because it means that you’re now going to work longer hours,” she said. “You’re going to be there for 17 hours, as opposed to only 15 hours hopefully or 14 hours.”

Doherty expressed that while her behaviour on set wasn’t anyone’s “responsibility” except her own, she still wished that one of the producers had spoken to her about her lack of professionalism, before writing her off the program.

“I certainly wish that I had been sort of set down, and sort of looked at and said: ‘Listen, the end result is going to be this…the end result is you’re going to get fired because. None of us are willing to put up with it anymore. And I understand that you have an issue in your personal life, but that also can’t bleed into work. You also have to get your s*** together essentially,’” she said.

She went on to recall that while starring on Beverly Hills, 90210, she wasn’t “transparent” with her peers about her personal life, including her issues with her then-husband, who she split from in 1994 amid his struggles with drug addiction.

“I don’t think anybody knew that my dad was super sick, and I don’t think anybody knew that, my husband was a massive drug addict,” she said, while claiming that her ex would “get incredibly violent” at times during the relationship. “It was all consuming for me. I didn’t even want to leave the house because I was scared that he would go and get drugs.”

Priestley, who played Doherty’s brother – Brandon Walsh – on 90210, explained that it was “incredibly difficult” for him when his friend got fired from the show. He also said that he wished he “would have known more about what was happening in [Doherty’s] personal life at the time,” so he could have been there for her.

“I could have hopefully managed it with more compassion and more caring. But we only knew what we knew,” he said, before describing some of his concerns about continuing the show without Doherty. “The hardest thing for me was the show was about Brandon and Brenda, it’s about the Walsh family,” he added. “And all of the sudden, we were going to lose someone in the Walsh family. And how is that going to impact the show? And how would we find a path to move forward with the show?’”

He further emphasised how Doherty’s departure from the show was “incredibly hard” for him, since there were “so many unknowns” at the time.

“I wish all of us had more knowledge about what was happening in your life so we could have dealt with your situation in a more compassionate way,” Priestley said.

However, Doherty still acknowledged that she took “the blame for” being written out of the show, amid her behaviour on set due to her marriage. “Like I don’t blame anyone else for what transpired and my ultimate firing. I do blame myself because I should have had my personal life more together,” she said. “I should have left a relationship earlier.”

After ending her marriage with Hamilton in 1994, Doherty got married for a second time in 2002 to Rick Salomon. However, the couple announced their split one year later. While the actor married Kurt Iswarienko in 2003, she filed for divorce from him in April 2023.