In an interview for GMA, Beverly Hills, 90210 and Charmed’s Shannen Doherty shared an update on her health with some difficult news: She’s been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. As she deals with a legal battle connected with her California home damaged in the 2018 wildfires, Doherty said she wanted to “control the narrative” of her illness in the interview that aired Tuesday (which is also World Cancer Day) and detailed how she continued to work and live despite her diagnosis in mid-2019.
“It’s going to come out in a matter of days or a week that — I’m stage four. So my cancer came back. And that’s why I’m here,” Doherty told ABC News’ Amy Robach. “I don’t think I’ve processed it. It’s a bitter pill to swallow in a lot of ways.”
Doherty, 48, has previously been very open about her experience fighting breast cancer after her initial diagnosis in March 2015 — sharing glimpses into her journey through treatment and eventually her relationship to her body while in remission.
True to form, she talked at length in the GMA interview about how she’s been handling the latest round of devastating news: “I definitely have days where I say why me. And then I go, well, why not me? Who else? Who else besides me deserves this? None of us do. But I would say that my first reaction is always concern about how — how am I going to tell my mom, my husband?”
— Good Morning America (@GMA) February 4, 2020
Doherty also shared that she first found out her cancer had returned shortly after the death of her friend and Beverly Hills, 90210 co-star Luke Perry, 52, in March 2019. At the time, she was working on filming Fox’s reboot BH90210 and said she told only a few people about her health (including co-star Brian Austin Green).
“One of the reasons, along with Luke — that I did 90210 and didn’t really tell anybody because I thought, people can look at that other people with stage four can work, too,” Doherty said. “Like, you know, our life doesn’t end the minute we get that diagnosis. We still have some living to do.”
Ultimately, due to the court case with her insurance company potentially leading to information about her health being shared, Doherty said she wanted to be the one to own when the news became public: “I’d rather people hear it from me. I don’t want it to be twisted. I don’t want it to be a court document. I want it to be real and authentic,” Doherty said. “And I want to control the narrative. I want people to know from me, I just didn’t want them to know yet.”
As for how the star is handling the news becoming public, she’s already offering a taste of her philosophy on Instagram, sharing a sweet Charlie Brown meme that says “we only die once. We live every day.”