As the Tide Turns
And Doherty, the 33-year-old twice-divorced TV veteran and tabloid hellcat, says..., uh, no, thanks. "I wasn't tempted," she insists. "Not even a pinch." Instead, she orders Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story on pay-per-view and jumps under the covers.
What exactly is going on here? Doherty, of course, has long been known for two things: nighttime dramas (Beverly Hills 90210, Charmed) and a dramatic nightlife. Now she's taking another stab at the former, joining FOX's island based soap North Shore as the troublemaking half sister of the show's goody-two sandals (Brooke Burns). Off-camera, however, Doherty swears on the soul of Jason Priestley that what might be called The Shannen Doherty Show—the decade of headline-grabbing behavior that kept her steadily in the gossip columns—is on hiatus and may be—gasp!—gone forever. "I really have mellowed out," she says. "The pace has definitely slowed down in my life, which is good."
Granted, it would have been a very hard pace to keep up. Some highlights: She impulsively married Ashley Hamilton, son of tanmaster George, in 1993, only to divorce seven months later, and in 2002 she married Rick Salomon—yes, the guy who taped and costarred in that notorious Paris Hilton video—a union that lasted nine months. Famously temperamental, Doherty was fired from 90210 by producer Aaron Spelling, who rehired her for Charmed, where she clashed with costar Alyssa Milano. Reportedly, Doherty tried to run down ex-fiancé Dean Factor with her car, later telling Movieline she intended no harm: "Look, I have good aim. If I really wanted to run him over, I wouldn't have missed." And just last February she got into a nasty tiff in South Beach with Tara Reid.
All in the past, Doherty says now. "When I was younger, when I was getting married for the first time, I wasn't on the best behavior," she admits. "I had married the wrong person, and it wasn't working out. It was an incredibly destructive relationship, and [Hamilton] was a drug addict and I didn't know until towards the end, when I left him." The stories in the press, she says, hurt: "It was like all the kindness in the world seemed to have left."
Doherty doesn't apologize for her past but says she has changed. "After a while you get so sick of going out, seeing the same people, doing the same thing," she says. "I have done all that, and it's not much fun anymore." As for men, "I know now that I won't run off and get married after two weeks—men are still on their best behavior at that point." Lately she has been dating Manhattan-based hotelier Jason Pomeranc, 33. "My taste has definitely improved, and I definitely won't be repeating the same personality types," says Doherty. That said, she adds, "I'm human. I still have the right to marry the wrong guys."
Regarding her newfound peace of mind, location probably helps. "How could anyone feel down here?" asks Doherty, who's living in Hawaii while North Shore tapes. She has taken up surfing and says she's often up at dawn for the cleanest and least crowded waves. "Whenever I get stressed, I go jump in the ocean. It purifies and cleanses me. It really does change you. It's like everything melts away." Out of the water, "if I encounter people with a bad attitude or bad energy, I don't let it seep into my own," says Doherty. "I know I sound like such a freak right now talking about all this energy stuff, but it's so true. You get back what you put in."
The North Shore casting would seem to provide an excellent opportunity to test her new resolve. In 2001 Doherty had a brief romance with her Charmed costar Julian McMahon—who at the time was married to, but said to be estranged from, Brooke Burns—who now costars with Doherty on North Shore. Doherty adamantly denies that she had anything to do with the couple's marital problems. "I come from a strong, moral Southern Baptist family," says Doherty, a Memphis native and—a rarity in young Hollywood—a diehard Republican. "For anybody to say that I could be a home wrecker is hurtful." The triangle, says Doherty, has not caused any bad blood on the Honolulu set. She and Burns "laugh together," she says. "She gave me tips on how not to show sweat stains when I'm shooting an outdoor scene wearing silk. Our relationship has been fine despite what people have tried to make it out to be. There have been no catfights."
That said, she knows it will be hard to change the way some people think about her. So she tries to stick to her mother's advice. "My mom always says, 'One person at a time, Shannen.' So I always have that in my head. And you know what?" she asks. "When people meet me, they know who I am."
Ericka Sóuter. Oliver Jones in Oahu