Holly Marie Combs is standing up for Shannen Doherty after Alyssa Milano denied certain recollections of drama on the set of Charmed.
“In the spirit of not being a the [sic] quiet one or the middle child anymore, I feel the need to defend myself after the many continuing attacks that have ensued since Alyssa stepped out on the stage and essentially called Shannen and I liars when she was simply asked what it was like to work with Rose [McGowan],” Combs, 50, wrote via Instagram on Monday, February 5. “Suffice it to say, I’m a little shocked and a little disappointed by the things she posted the next day while texting me simultaneously words to the contrary.”
Milano, 51, and Combs played sisters on The WB’s Charmed from 1998 to 2006. Doherty, 52, played the eldest Halliwell sibling through the first three seasons until her character was killed off. She and Combs recently alleged that Milano had Doherty fired. (McGowan, 50, was introduced as a younger half-sister in Charmed season 4.)
Milano took to Instagram to deny the accusations on Saturday, February 3. “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,” Milano wrote. “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.”
Doherty and Combs both take issue with Milano claiming they are rewriting their past.
“First off, this is not revisionist history,” Combs continued in her statement on Monday. “This is just the history she didn’t want people to know about. And the history Shannen wasn’t ready to talk about until one month ago. We are all thankfully at the age where people are writing books, memoirs and telling their life story. No one should have to lie about their own life for the comfort of another.”
Combs said she often tried to play peacemaker. Her character, Piper Halliwell, was the middle sister and her role in the cast often felt like that of a middle child.
“Although I have long wanted the girls to just get along for the sake of something bigger than all of us combined, it was not in the cards. Clearly,” she said. “We are all very different and equally headstrong which was the essence of Charmed to begin with. I often yelled at one or the other to lay off the other many a time as Alyssa and Rose can attest to. And this was after Charmed. Being the middle child sucks.”
She reiterated that she and other cast members have long held back some stories to protect audiences who considered the show to be a source of comfort. “When Shannen and I went to dinner in Florida this week and the host wanted to tell us how the show saved his life. …. It’s stories like his that made me not want to address this story,” Combs explained. “But alas it’s not my nature to cower in a corner. And I have a big problem with injustice. I heard that Alyssa said she did not have the power to fire anyone which is ironic because this was actually all about power. But let’s go with that and let me explain what she did have the power to do.”
Combs said Milano “had the power [to] stop the process at any time,” noting that Milano didn’t have to speak to the on-set mediator and could have asked producers not to fire Doherty. She even claimed that Doherty told executives not to fire Milano despite their disagreements.
“There was a case being built which is now clear. A case Alyssa and Alyssa alone had the power to stop,” Combs alleged. “And when producers said ok we will let Shannen go Alyssa also had the power to say no I don’t want that. But she did not. She had the power to say no just as Shannen had said no I don’t want you to replace Alyssa when posed with the same option. Because she was a child actor who supported a family just as Alyssa does and understood the great importance and responsibility of that. Even now this pains me to write. It was heartbreaking then and still now.”
She added that she still believes producers are the most at fault for Doherty’s firing. “And I think a lot of blame still remains with the producers who knew it was easier to keep us divided as opposed to united. 3 broken pieces were easier to control and manipulate than one united front. Which would have been more costly and cut into their precious profit margin,” Combs speculated. “But in the end it all worked out as destiny would have it.”
Combs viewed McGowan’s arrival as a blessing. “And we all got Rose who was a beacon in a dark time for me and we went on to develop a deep surprising and supportive connection to this day just as Paige and Piper did,” she said of the actress. “And now Rose and Shannen have a growing friendship and support system all their own which make my little black heart grow. So I will say don’t despair for the Charmed family. You are actually our only common denominator. We are still a family of survivors and we always will be. Truly.”
Combs concluded, “Charmed was made for all of you and lastly the truth of the matter is we all are, despite our differences, incredibly grateful for this dysfunctional family in every way. The End.”
McGowan commented on Combs’ post to show her support. “I love your big black heart and respect you, HMC,” she said. “I love what the show has meant to people worldwide. Sometimes a mess has to be made for things to be cleaned up. This for me is way bigger than a tv show, it goes to years of continuous behind the scenes character assassination and targeted reputation smearing because of narcissistic pathological jealousy. I wish none of it had to be this way. I remain proud of everyone involved for the magic we wove and the magic created worldwide. Truth is uncomfortable, but magic never dies ❤️.”
Both McGowan and Combs were alongside Doherty as she responded to Milano’s denial on Sunday, February 4, at MegaCon in Orlando, Florida. Milano had a separate panel the day prior where she denied Doherty’s claims.
“There is no revisionist history happening in the truth that I know we told. There’s no brush flinging or shoe flinging. There is no lateness to set. There is no mediator for months on end,” Doherty explained, in part, while on stage with McGowan and Combs. “I recall the facts as if I were still living in them. And what I will say is that what somebody else may call ‘drama’ is an actual trauma for me, that I have been living through it for an extremely long time. And 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 from me, a livelihood that was taken away from my family, because someone else wanted to be No. 1 on the call sheet. That is the truth.”