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Shannen Doherty and Alyssa Milano's feud on Charmed - a timeline of their friendship and fallout

The Charmed co-stars famously didn't get along while making the show

Alyssa Milano, Shannen Doherty and Holly Marie Combs in 1999© Getty Images
Emmy Griffiths
TV & Film Editor
Updated: 2 days ago
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It is so often heard that cast and crews on TV shows and movies become ‘like a family’ while away from weeks and months at a time on a project, so it is always the subject of fascination when this isn’t quite the case. Co-stars don’t always get on amazingly, and this was certainly the case concerning Charmed co-stars Shannen Doherty and Alyssa Milano. So what happened? Here is a timeline of their friendship and fallout… 

Shannen, who very sadly passed away in July aged 53 after being diagnosed with cancer in 2015, and Alyssa both starred in the hit TV show Charmed, which aired between 1998 to 2006. The pair played sisters, with Shannen portraying Prue while Alyssa played Phoebe. The pair reportedly got along well with each other initially, with Shannen even serving as a bridesmaid at Alyssa’s wedding alongside their co-star, Holly Marie Combs. 

Speaking about their friendship in 1999, Alyssa told US Weekly that she felt “incredibly lucky” that they three of them had found one another. 

However, they reportedly soon didn’t get along on set due to personality clashes and different approaches to their work. The reports of their personality clashes resulted in claims of behind-the-scenes arguments and led to a difficult atmosphere on the set. Shannen ultimately left the show following season three when her character was killed off, which led to Rose McGowan joining the show as a new character, Paige.

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight following her exit, Shannen referenced the third lead on the show, Holly Marie Combs, but neglected to mention Alyssa. She said: “There was too much drama on the set and not enough passion for the work. You know, I’m 30 years old and I don’t have time for drama in my life anymore. To me it’s sort of whatever. I’ll miss Holly a lot and that’s really the only thing I want to clear up.

Alyssa Milano from the tv show Charmed© Getty Images
Alyssa Milano from the tv show Charmed

“She is one of my best friends and I love her dearly. And there were never ever ever any problems between the two of us, and we will always be pals.”

Alyssa also spoke out about Shannen’s exit, saying: “I’m very laid-back and passive. I have my Buddha. I come in here and meditate. [Shannen’s] got a lot of energy, she’s very headstrong, she wants to get the job done … 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.”

Shannen Doherty as Piper in Charmed© Getty Images
Shannen Doherty as Prue in Charmed

The show concluded in 2006, but Alyssa spoke about Shannen’s character being killed off in 2013, telling Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen, she said: “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 some rough days. Holly and Shannen were best friends for like ten 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.”

Both Holly and Shannen responded to the comments on social media, with Holly writing: “Working on Charmed was nothing like high school. I went to high school. It was a very important job to me and always will be.” Shannen added: "Yeah, agreed, considering it helped me support my family and pay for my dad's medical issues, but everyone has their opinion and views."

Shannen was diagnosed with cancer in 2015, and in 2017 Alyssa confirmed that they had spoken and made up. She told E! News: “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.”

In 2021, she added to ET: “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.” 

Rose McGowan joined the cast in season 4© Steve Granitz
Rose McGowan joined the cast in season 4

In 2023, Holly claimed that producer Jonathan Levin had told her that Alyssa was the reason why they fired Shannen from the show, Speaking on the ‘Let Me Be Clear’ podcast, she explained: “He said, ‘We didn’t mean to [fire Shannen], but we’ve been backed into this corner. We’re basically in this position where it’s one or the othe. We were told [by Alyssa] it’s her or [Shannen] and Alyssa has threatened to sue us for a hostile workplace environment.’

Shannen admitted that she tried work out why tensions grew so bad between herself and Alyssa, saying she couldn’t remember “being mean to [Alyssa] on set”. 

Alyssa then took to Instagram to call the claims “revisionist history”, claiming that there were several things put in place to help including mediators on set, adding: “I did not have the power to get anyone fired.”

Shannen, Holly and Rose all appeared at the MegaCon Orlando in February 2024 where Shannen read out a statement about the comments, saying: “A lot of things have been said, and a lot of them very hurtful… Holly and I, we were not mean on the podcast, my podcast, Let’s Be Clear. In fact, we went in and we edited out anything that we felt would cause more drama. We simply told the truth because the truth actually does matter. But we wanted to try to save you, the fans, from heartbreak as much as humanly possible. 

Rose McGowan, Shannen Doherty and Holly Marie Combs speak during a Q&A session at MegaCon Orlando 2024 © Gerardo Mora
Rose McGowan, Shannen Doherty and Holly Marie Combs speak during a Q&A session at MegaCon Orlando 2024

“At this point in my life with my health diagnosis — I’m sorry if I start crying — 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. We told it together, we told our truths and we are standing by our truths. There is no revisionist history happening in the truth that I know we told. There is no brush flinging or shoe flinging. There is no lateness to set, there is no mediator for months on end. I recall the facts as if I was still living in them.

“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 somebody else wanted to be number one on the call sheet. That is the truth.” 

On social media, Alyssa posted: “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. 

Alyssa Milano speaks at MegaCon Orlando 2024 © Gerardo Mora
Alyssa Milano speaks at MegaCon Orlando 2024

“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. 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. 

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“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.” 

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