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LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
- April 30, 2012
- Vol. 77
- No. 18
Shannen Doherty a Wild Child Settles Down
With a Newfound Sense of Calm, 90210's Bad Girl Talks About the Heartbreak That Changed Her Life-and Why She's Finally Ready to Be a Mom
Sitting in the backyard of the sprawling Spanish-style Malibu mansion she shares with her husband of six months, photographer Kurt Iswarienko, Doherty is now clearly-and finally-in a happy place. "It's time people get to know the real me," says the actress, who hopes to do just that with her new WEtv reality series, Shannen Says. The kinder, gentler Doherty, 41, now even laughs off a recent Internet report that called her "fat"-in fact, she's put on a few pounds in an effort to get pregnant. "Go ahead!" she says. "If I'm able to have a child because I'm a little fatter, then great."
It took her decades to develop this laid-back attitude. In the early '90s, Doherty became a star as good-girl-turned-brat, 90210's Brenda Walsh. After being fired from that hit, she got a second chance in 1998 on the WB drama Charmed-where she feuded with costar Alyssa Milano and quit after three years. Says Doherty: "I burned a lot of bridges and hurt people."
But her wild public behavior was masking a private pain. Doherty's father, John Thomas, was severely ill, and the actress, who began working at age 10 on shows such as Little House on the Prairie, was supporting her family. "I wanted him to have the best medical care possible," she explains. "I had to be so responsible in that area of my life that I was acting out in other areas." When her dad, who had suffered multiple strokes, died in 2010 at 66, "it completely changed me," she says, tearing up. "The walls I'd put up to protect myself came down." She's since reconnected with several costars, including 90210's Jennie Garth, whose own rough patch weathering a divorce elicits Doherty's empathy. "I feel for her," Doherty says. "And more importantly, I feel for her kids."
Since marrying Iswarienko, 37, last October after meeting him at a photo shoot in 2009 (their wedding is the subject of Shannon Says), the couple has settled into married life and are building a house, with a nursery. Doherty isn't pregnant yet, but says she can't wait to be a mom. "I feel a peace I've never felt before," she says. "Now I'm ready for the next chapter in my life."
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