‘Charmed:’ What Happened to Shannen Doherty’s Character, Prue Halliwell?

Shannen Doherty played Prue Halliwell on Charmed but what exactly happened to the oldest Halliwell sister? Find out ahead. 

Known for being smart and responsible, viewers first met Prue when she worked as a museum curator. Even though she spontaneously quit her job, she found work at an equally prestigious auction house. Prue, along with her sisters Phoebe (Alyssa Milano) and Piper (Holly Marie Combs), discovered they had magical powers when the trio found themselves back together living in their ancestral home in San Francisco, Calif., where they grew up. 

Prue Halliwell could move things with her mind

After a fun night of using a Ouija board turned creepy, Phoebe found herself reading from a mysterious old book in the attic that, unbeknownst to her, set in motion the sisters’ magical powers. Strange things began happening to Prue, Piper, and Phoebe as they went about their usual routines. After a few incidents they figured out Prue could move things with her mind, Piper had the ability to freeze time, and that Phoebe had visions. 

Shannen Doherty, Holly Marie Combs, and Alyssa Milano
Shannen Doherty, Holly Marie Combs, and Alyssa Milano | Hulton Archive

Throughout Charmed Season 1, the sisters — known as The Charmed Ones in the magical world  — learned they came from generations of powerful witches. They also learned to control their abilities and fight evil all while trying to have lives of their own. 

Shannen Doherty left ‘Charmed’ after three seasons 

Doherty spent three seasons fighting demons alongside Combs and Milano before she left Charmed. While the exact details remain unknown, it’s been widely reported Doherty left because of growing tensions between her and Milano. 

“There was too much drama on the set and not enough passion for the work,” Doherty said following her abrupt departure from the show during an interview with Entertainment Tonight, according to E! News.

Shannen Doherty as Prue Halliwell in 'Charmed'
Shannen Doherty as Prue Halliwell in ‘Charmed’ | Hulton Archive

Production considered getting a new actress to play Prue Halliwell

Doherty’s exit had happened so quickly that the season 3 finale episode she directed had to be recut, according to Screenrant, to explain her character’s absence. Not sure about which direction to take the show, Aaron Spelling, the producer of Charmed, initially considered getting another actress to take over as Prue. 

He first offered the role to Tiffani Thiessen, who rose to fame as Kelly Kapowski on Saved By The Bell, but she declined. 

“Tiffani was our first choice to take over for Shannen … Tiffani told us she wants to do a half-hour comedy,” Spelling told Entertainment Weekly in 2001

Then he offered the part of Prue to Jennifer Love Hewitt who also said no. While it’s weird to think of another actress playing Prue, Charmed provided the perfect backdrop to make the casting change work.

Jennifer Love Hewitt and Tiffani Thiessen, 1998
Jennifer Love Hewitt and Tiffani Thiessen, 1998 | Dave Allocca/DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

Thiessen, Hewitt, or any other actress, could’ve been written into the show as Prue in a different body without much fanfare. After all, the show had been about magic.

Prue got killed off the show 

With Doherty officially off Charmed and production figuring out how to proceed after two actresses turned down the part of Prue, they decided to kill off the character. When Charmed returned for season 4, viewers learned Prue had died in the final episode of season 3.

In the season 4 premiere, viewers were introduced to Prue’s sort-of replacement, a long-lost fourth Halliwell sister named Paige Matthews played by Rose McGowan. The actress joined Milano and Combs and continued the power of three until Charmed went off the air in 2006.