Shannen Doherty is most famous for her role as Brenda Walsh in Beverly Hills, 90210 for the first half of the 90s. The brunette beauty was born in Memphis Tennessee, with Irish ancestry.
Doherty had her first taste of fame on Little House on the Prairie as Jenny Wilder, as well as 1985 classic Girls just Want To Have Fun with Sarah Jessica Parker and Helen Hunt. She was also a memorable part of the iconic dark comedy Heathers which came out in 1989. Safe to say, Doherty was definitely an “it” girl of the 80s and 90s.
Doherty has posed for Playboy multiple times, and after many of these breakout movie roles, featured in Charmed as Prue Halliwell, which is the same show where she dabbled in directing.
In 2006, the actress starred and produced in her own reality show on Oxygen called Breaking Up With Shannen Doherty. The show featured Doherty doing dirty work that regular people don’t want to do, like dumping their partners or telling people what their friends really think of them. It was canceled after only one season.
This actress has always been open and honest about the fact that she is a registered Republican, and doesn’t have any shame although most of Hollywood is Democrats.
Starting with her time on Beverly Hills, 90210, Doherty has faced a bad rep in the media, with magazines like people calling her the “iconic Hollywood ‘bad girl’” resulting from rumors of partying, fights, and late arrivals to the set. This gossip continued into Charmed, where many people spoke of a feud with her fellow co-star Alyssa Milano. In 2010, Shannen admitted that she did earn that rep, but has evolved into a different person.
Today, she supports animal activism through her work with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. And while the star has moved on from her rebellious bad girl past, unfortunately Shannen’s health has taken a turn for the worse.
Back in 1999, she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Then, in 2015, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, which eventually spread to her lymph nodes. The following year, she received treatment to try to shrink the treatment and get a mastectomy. Still, the cancer was more advanced than she thought, and has spread, leading the star to undergo radiotherapy and chemo.
Even after her diagnosis, she appeared on the Beverly Hills, 90210 reboot, BH90210, with the explanation that “life doesn’t end” after getting diagnosed.
Even though her cancer was in remission by 2017, on February 4, 2020 Shannen Doherty announced that the cancer had returned, and was currently at stage four. In September of that year, this brave queen said that she planned on recording videos of herself saying goodbye to family as she battled the difficulties of stage four cancer. Still, her diagnosis doesn’t necessary mean a swift death sentence — with current treatment plans, some patients can live over a decade.
Back in 2020, Doherty said that she couldn’t get pregnant because of what her body had gone through from cancer treatment. She explained that getting out of menopause would require more estrogen from hormone pills, which would be a risk to her health.
Her treatment includes hormone therapy which blocks estrogen, a hormone which can advance the cancer. She is also on a second drug which works towards stabilizing metastatic disease. According to her doctor, her key to moving forward will have to include lots of medication for the rest of her life.
Still, Doherty and her husband Kurt Iswarienko who has stood by her side throughout this process, are considering an egg donor or adoption, but fears of how much time Shannen has left are a worry to the couple. Before Kurt, Shannen has been linked to Dean Jay Factor, Ashley Hamilton and Rick Salomon, who released that infamous tape with Paris Hilton.
Close friends who have stayed by Doherty’s side during this time and really know her — not the caricature the tabloids make her out to be — include Sarah Michelle Gellar, model Anne Marie Kortright, LA oncologist Lawrence Piro, and real estate agent Chris Cortazzo.
Today, she’s using her celebrity status to fight against metastatic breast cancer and raise awareness for the illness. This cancer has been a serious blow to Shannen and her career, but she refuses to slow down or give up from the disease. Instead, it’s made her a fighter, led her relationship to be stronger, and showed her what really matters in life.