Dark Secrets Of The Cast Of Charmed

Just like the Halliwell sisters, the cast of Charmed (1998-2006) had its fair share of trouble over the years, but no matter the drama, the show's stars have largely kept their dirty laundry away from the public eye — and for eight seasons, at that. Still, no cast is without a few skeletons in its closet, and when The CW revived the show in 2018 — without the original witches — even more drama ensued. Here's everything the power of three previously hid behind closed doors.

Shannen Doherty had a few run-ins with the law

While she was used to taking down the bad guys on TV, Shannen Doherty, who played Prue Halliwell, was apparently up to no good in real life. In fact, Doherty established quite the reputation after fighting at the Roxbury nightclub on Sunset Boulevard and allegedly driving drunk through traffic on the California freeway.

In 1993, Doherty's ex-fiancé, Dean Jay Factor, claimed his former flame had a violent streak (via People.) While petitioning for a restraining order against Doherty, Factor told the Superior Court of California that she tried to hit him with her car, had hired men to hurt him, and had even threatened to shoot him. Factor recalled locking himself in the bathroom after one altercation. "At this point she threatened to shoot me and said, 'I'm going to drop you!' I knew she had a loaded 9-mm automatic," he said. "I heard the chamber pulled back; at that point, I hastily exited the house through a back door connected to the bathroom and escaped."

Rose McGowan was raised in a cult

It's a given that not everyone is fortunate enough to have a fun, carefree childhood, but Rose McGowan's days as a kiddo were spent in a scary setting. McGowan, who played the Halliwell sisters' long lost sibling Paige Matthews, was raised in a cult, according to People. Her family was a part of the Italian branch of the Children of God. Speaking about her experience, McGowan described how poorly the women were treated in the community. "I did not want to be like those women," she said. "[They] were basically there to serve the men sexually." 

McGowan's father eventually planned his family's escape from the cult, apparently afraid that his daughter was in danger of being molested. "My dad was strong enough to realize that this hippie love had gone south," she said. McGowan and her family moved to the United States to begin a new life together.

Holly Marie Combs found romance behind the scenes

As Piper Halliwell, Holly Marie Combs probably enjoyed freezing time and blowing things up in the series up, but we doubt she expected to have so much fun flirting with the on-set crew. The actress hooked up with the show's key grip, David Donoho, in 2001. This wasn't just some quick fling. Combs and Donoho tied the knot on Feb. 14, 2004, marking the actress' second marriage (via E! News.)

Unfortunately, the love didn't last. Combs and Donoho, who share three children together, filed for divorce in November 2011, citing irreconcilable differences. According to TMZ, their relationship had been "rocky" for a while.

McGowan's breakup with Marilyn Manson revealed a shocking past

Romancing rockstars is nothing new for the Hollywood elite. However, Rose McGowan didn't date just any old band member. Instead, she jumped into a serious relationship with shock rock icon Marilyn Manson and got engaged to him in the late 1990s. 

Alas, these two were not meant to be, and they called it quits in 2001 (via Rolling Stone.) The cause of their big breakup? At the time, McGowan said, "There is great love, but our lifestyle difference is, unfortunately, even greater." Whatever that means. She later elaborated on her comments during an appearance on Andy Cohen's Watch What Happens Live in 2015 (via Us Weekly.) "Scarface," McGowan told the host. "Think about it Andy ... What was Scarface about?"

"Coke," Cohen answered. "He did too much blow and you were not down for it."

"It was me, it was me," she replied. "Actually, I don't know. I plead the Fourth [instead of Fifth] ... I'm honest, always, I can't help it."

Did McGowan kick her alleged habit of snorting snow after she and Manson split? Maybe not, considering two bags of cocaine were allegedly found in a wallet she left on a plane in January 2017, according to The New Yorker. McGowan, who surrendered to police in November 2017, insisted she was innocent and claimed the drugs had been planted.

McGowan was allegedly assaulted by a Hollywood mogul

In October 2017, Rose McGowan came forward with a dark secret: She'd allegedly been raped by movie producer Harvey Weinstein. After decades' worth of sexual misconduct allegations against the Miramax mogul were exposed by The New York Times and The New Yorker, McGowan opened up about her experience, which allegedly happened in a hotel room during the Sundance Film Festival in 1997. The actress reportedly accepted a $100,000 settlement from Weinstein and claimed she'd been largely shunned by Hollywood as a result of coming forward about the alleged assault to members of the industry. "I was blacklisted after I was raped, because I got raped, because I said something ... but only like internally, you know," she told The Observer (via The Guardian).

McGowan has since become a voice for victims of sexual abuse, leading the charge against predators in the entertainment industry and beyond. "I have been silenced for 20 years. I have been slut-shamed, I have been harassed, I have been maligned, and you know what? I am just like you," she told a crowd at the Women's Convention in late October 2017 (via People). "What happened to me behind the scenes happens to all of us in this society. It cannot stand and will not stand."

Combs and Doherty's friendship caused drama on set

While the Halliwell sisters appeared chummy on Charmed, the women who portrayed the family of witches didn't exactly get along in real life. Alyssa Milano, who portrayed psychic Phoebe Halliwell, claimed co-stars Holly Marie Combs and Shannen Doherty maintained a close relationship throughout the early seasons of the show, which apparently made Milano a troublesome third wheel.

"Holly and Shannen were best friends for like 10 years before the show started, so it was very much sort of like high school," Milano recalled during an appearance on Bravo's Watch What Happens Live. "I would hope that in our thirties it wouldn't be like that anymore."

In response, Doherty and Combs denied there was any major beef on set, but Combs did get a slight dig in on Sway's Universe: "[Milano] didn't go to high school. What are we talking about here?" Elaborating on her relationship with Milano, Combs added, "We were all friends and, at times, we weren't."

Doherty and Milano couldn't get along

Despite Shannen Doherty claiming there was no drama between her and Alyssa Milano, rumor has it the two butted heads while working on the early seasons of Charmed. Judging by this Entertainment Tonight interview, it certainly seems that Doherty may have been sick of Milano's behavior. "I want to work with actors who really, really care and that want to be there every single day," Doherty said, refraining from naming Milano directly. "I don't want to work with people who b**** about their job and complain about it and say that they hate it or anything else." Yikes! Considering Doherty made sure to clarify that "there were never ever ever any problems" with Combs, one could assume the tension centered around her relationship with Milano.

Their feud may have gotten Doherty kicked off the show

Few productions can survive if the main stars can't maintain a civil working relationship. Given Shannen Doherty and Alyssa Milano's rumored tension on the set of Charmed, it was only a matter of time before somebody left the series. That somebody was Doherty, who said goodbye to the WB show in 2001, after her character was killed off in the Season 3 finale. "It was a sensitive time for a lot of people," showrunner Brad Kern told TV Line. "There were internal issues that were problematic. I'd rather not get into the dirty laundry this many years later, but it is safe to say that there were changes being thought about."

Doherty's exit from the show has never been fully explained to fans or co-stars, though it's largely suspected that she was fired. "I don't know if she got fired, we never really found out what happened," Milano told Watch What Happens Live. "We were told there were creative differences."

It wasn't the first time Doherty was axed from a show

Shannen Doherty had a history of being bad long before she set foot on the set of Charmed. She was also reportedly dropped from her role as Brenda Walsh on Beverly Hills, 90210. During the 2015 Lifetime special Tori Spelling: Celebrity Lie Detector, Doherty's 90210 co-star told viewers that Doherty's exit from that show stemmed from an intense fight Doherty allegedly had with fellow co-star Jennie Garth (via Us Weekly.) "I remember... I could hear the door fly open and everyone screaming and crying," recounted Spelling, whose father produced the popular teen drama. "That's when I was told the boys just had to break up Jennie and Shannen. It was like a fistfight."

Spelling admitted she urged her father to fire Doherty, though she felt a little guilty about it. "I felt like I was a part of something, a movement, that cost someone their livelihood," she said. "Was [Doherty] a horrible person? No. She was one of the best friends I ever had."

Doherty's reputation caused problems for McGowan

After Shannen Doherty left Charmed, Rose McGowan stepped in to round out the core group of witches and preserve the Halliwells' nickname as the "Power of Three." However, viewers at home couldn't help but compare their characters — and the actresses that portrayed them. Rumors of feuding between the old and new Prues overshadowed both stars.

Years later, McGowan remarked on the unfairness of the situation. "We were cast in this weird fake reality show where we were supposed to be enemies," she wrote in a lengthy caption on an Instagram post directed to Doherty. "Fear was drilled into me from day one in this town & you were the barometer by which my behavior was judged. I was under a microscope, one false move and I'd be branded 'difficult' just like you ... I had to prove I wasn't as bad as you or I'd get the axe, too."

McGowen placed the blame for all the drama on the TV execs, saying, "we were never the bad ones, it was them ... the Beige Brained White Dudes in Charge."

There's no bad blood

Despite all the feuds and firings, the cast of Charmed has overcome its tumultuous past and forged friendships with one another. In September 2016, Rose McGowan publicly expressed support for Shannen Doherty's battle against breast cancer. 

Alyssa Milano and Doherty have also put their controversial past behind them. During an appearance on E!'s Daily Pop in June 2017, Milano said, "Shannen and I talk a lot on Twitter via [direct message]. And I spoke to her maybe two or three days ago, and we decided that we're going to get together." Milano added, "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."

Alyssa Milano and Holly Marie Combs basically ran the place

Brad Kern served as showrunner in the final seasons of Charmed, which involved shepherding the creative vision of the series and ensuring the day-to-day business of making television happens, but according to Alyssa Milano, Kern often didn't bother. She and co-star Holly Marie Combs allegedly had to pick up the slack. "Holly and I produced the last five years of the show, and when we would try to get [Kern] on the phone, we couldn't get him," Milano told Variety. "When we would get him on the phone, he wouldn't have the script in front of him, so we just assumed he wasn't in the office." It was supposedly up to Milano and Combs to "make on-set adjustments, because there was no one on set to make those adjustments."

Nevertheless, Kern went on to showrun NCIS: New Orleans ... until he was fired, following allegations that Kern exhibited sexist-fueled abuse and harassment. According to Charmed staffers who spoke to Variety, that's the kind of thing Kern did on their show, too. One source said he called a female network executive a crude nickname, while another said he frequently asked coworkers about their sex lives. He also allegedly referred to the show's cast members as "trash" and "psychos." Kern supposedly even had a staff member grab a copy of Playboy featuring Shannen Doherty so he could loudly analyze "every single photo," a source told Variety.  

The power of three...is not feeling the reboot

The CW revived Charmed in the fall of 2018, a decade after the original wrapped. Now set in Michigan and focusing on three new witch characters, it has attracted a moderate fan base, but likely not among regular viewers of the original show's Halliwell sisters: Shannen Doherty, Holly Marie Combs, and Alyssa Milano.

In January 2018, the CW ordered a pilot for Charmed 2.0, calling it a "fierce, funny, feminist reboot." Doherty had a problem with that. Responding to a skeptical Charmed fan on Twitter, she called the network's description "terrible and a bit offensive." She believed the new description indirectly implied that the original show was none of those adjectives. After the CW picked up the show, Combs weighed in, too. "Let me say first that I appreciate the jobs and opportunities the Charmed reboot has created," she said, according to Entertainment Weekly. "But I will never understand what is fierce, funny, or feminist in creating a show that basically says the original actresses are too old to do a job they did 12 years ago." Shortly before the new Charmed hit the air, Milano told Entertainment Tonight what she thought. "I wish that they would have come to us and we could have been involved since the beginning. But having said that, I do hope that it reaches the newer generation and impacts that generation the way ours was able to do for its generation."