‘Charmed’: Shannen Doherty and Alyssa Milano’s Characters Were Close, But They Weren’t

Hollywood has seen its fair share of conflicts between actors, and it’s nothing new to the many people who love celebrity gossip. Celebrity feuds have changed the direction of many popular movies and TV shows, some for the better. Some have changed productions dramatically, making you wonder what could have been if they just got along a little longer. It’s common in your favorite TV shows for you to get attached to the idea of seeing incredibly close characters go through life together, but it isn’t always what it seems. Unfortunately, acting is just that – an act. In many ways, Shannen Doherty and Alyssa Milano’s characters were close, but there were many ways they weren’t in real life.

(L-R) Alyssa Milano, Shannen Doherty, and Holly Marie Combs, looking at the camera
(L-R) Alyssa Milano, Shannen Doherty, and Holly Marie Combs | Paramount Pictures/Getty Images

Shannen Doherty and Alyssa Milano’s Characters

Shannen Doherty played the eldest sister, Prue Halliwell, in Charmed. She was the most dedicated to witchcraft and was often accused of being a workaholic. She had the special ability to move objects with her hands (and later her mind) and was considered the bravest and most powerful Charmed One. She craved time away from work (both in the office and against demons) to explore more romantic and “freeing” adventures. This desire had gotten her in a lot of trouble throughout the series as her heart fights to live for love while her instincts are to work and care for her sisters.

Alyssa Milano played the youngest Halliwell sister, Phoebe. She’s stylish, carefree, intelligent (although she doesn’t put her brains to use until later in the series) and is considered the least responsible. While she can create a spell that wipes out a demon or two in minutes, she also has a bad habit of ditching her sisters to party with boys or explore her wild side. Her special ability is to predict the future, and she finds it to be the least impressive of the three sisters. However, she does step up her game later in the seasons by receiving fighting lessons from her demon boyfriend, Cole, to defend herself in attacks. 

Their relationship on ‘Charmed’

RELATED: Is ‘Charmed’ An Accurate Representation of Wicca?

The relationship between Prue and Phoebe can be considered the most dynamic on the show. As the older sister, Prue is constantly on Phoebe about growing up and taking on more responsibilities. It can come off as annoying or harsh, but the intentions are always good. On the other hand, Phoebe feels strained under pressure to be as developed and responsible as Prue’s expectations. Prue has sacrificed a lot after taking on the caretaker’s role since their mother and grandmother died, and Phoebe can’t relate as the younger sister. She tells Piper in season one, “It’s just so hard for me to talk to her. She’s always been more like a mother.” 

Nonetheless, there was more love than tension between the sisters. For instance, the memory Phoebe remembers from their childhood, “It’ll be just like the summer by the lake. Remember when we made that blood oath to be friends forever, not just sisters?” The most relatable and influential aspect of their relationship as sisters is no matter how much tension arises between them, they’re there for each other when it matters most.

Shannen Doherty and Alyssa Milano’s relationship offscreen

If you’re a fan of Charmed, you’re familiar with Prue and Phoebe’s on-and-off tension in the show. They clash heads on almost everything, but they always make up in the end. What you may not know is that their relationship off-screen is all tension.

Milano admitted to The Huffington Post that she felt alienated because “Holly [Marie Combs] and Shannen were best friends for like 10 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…”

In response to Milano’s comment, Doherty tells Sway’s Universe, “Yeah, I think that when you work that closely together, there’s always going to be times that are rough … but for somebody to say it was like high school, it was probably what high school was like for them versus somebody else just saying like ‘eh, you know sometimes you don’t always get along.'”

Holly Marie Combs, who plays the third sister Piper, jokes, “She didn’t go to high school. What are we talking about here?” It’s clear Milano’s comments haven’t phased her on-screen sisters!