Tiffani Thiessen Accused Her "90210" Co-Stars Of Being Mean and "Shunning" Her
Thiessen essentially replaced Shannen Doherty when she joined the series in 1994.
The teen TV phenomenon Beverly Hills, 90210 underwent a major change when its fifth season premiered in 1994. Shannen Doherty, who had played Brenda Walsh since the show premiered, left the series, and then-20-year-old Tiffani Thiessen joined 90210 as Valerie Malone, a family friend of the Walshes. But while audiences were adjusting to the cast change, Thiessen was adjusting to joining an ensemble who had already been working together for four seasons. It initially did not go well.
Years later, the actor shared that she was shunned by some of her co-stars on set, pointing out that the men were nice to her, but the women, not so much. Read on to find out what happened and how she dealt with it.
Thiessen thinks she was ignored for taking Doherty's place.
During a 2012 interview with Howard Stern, Thiessen talked about joining Beverly Hills, 90210 so far into the run and said that she "kind of, sort of replaced Shannen Doherty."
"When I first started 90210, the girls were not very nice to me when I came on to the show," she said. Stern asked if she was "considered a threat" for stepping into Doherty's shoes, and she responded, "I guess. I don't know. I don't know what the real reason was. I think having somebody new come into an already very successful kind of, you know, show that's run on its own, to have a new kind of energy, was probably hard."
Thiessen made a point to say that "the guys were actually very nice," and also noted that she was dating co-star Brian Austin Green when she was cast. "But the girls were not easy," she added. "And I shouldn't say 'all the girls,' because that's not true."
They objected to her wardrobe choices.
Stern said that it seemed like Thiessen's castmates were "shunning" her, which she confirmed. "Yeah, they were. They were. And they were very honest about it afterwards in interviews, so I know I can say that."
Stern then asked if, for example, this meant not speaking to her on set.
"Or we had a photoshoot, and I had the dresses picked out for me by wardrobe, and they didn't like what I was wearing, so they'd make me change," she responded with a laugh, "because they wanted to wear something that was maybe similar."
When the host asked if she ever cried over it, Thiessen said no, adding that she focused on the job at hand.
For more celebrity news delivered right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
When the show was on, she denied rumors of on-set strife.
During an interview with Entertainment Weekly in 1995, Thiessen addressed rumors about the show, including one about her on-set behavior. "First [the press] wrote that I was having temper tantrums on the set, which I really found amusing," she said. "Despite what you read, we all get along, and it's a very relaxed set."
In the same article, producer Aaron Spelling pointed out that Thiessen was brought on the show to ease the behind-the-scenes drama, which had famously involved Doherty.
"When Tiffani's name first came up I wasn't sure she was right for the part," he said. "But she obviously has played it wonderfully. She's getting amazing fan mail … Tiffani doesn't rock the boat. And frankly, after Shannen, it was important to have someone who would bring some quiet to the set. Before we hire now, we ask around. No more problems."
Thiessen and her co-stars had up-and-down relationships.
On Stern's show, Thiessen didn't name the co-stars who were rude to her—women castmates included Jennie Garth, Tori Spelling, and Gabrielle Carteris—but she did imply that Garth was one of them.
She told the host that she and Garth "had a falling out" after being close friends for a time. Thiessen was even in Garth's 2001 wedding. "I was the one who was hurt, let's just say that. I was the one who was hurt," the White Collar star said (via E! News). "It's funny, our relationship started really rough and ended the way it started. It's water under the bridge…I've moved on. I wish her well."
Thiessen also said that her relationship with Tori became strained when Tori split from her first husband, Charlie Shanian, with whom Thiessen was also close. "Our kids go to the same school, and she's moved on," the actor said. "I'm glad she's happy, and she's having tons of kids and she's great. I'm happy for her."
The 90210 castmates made headlines more recently, too.
In 2017, the three co-stars made headlines when Spelling and Garth were guests on RuPaul's Drag Race. A segment from the show made it seem as though they were bad-mouthing Thiessen when a contestant dressed up as her 90210 character Valerie, but Garth claimed it was a trick of editing. She told Us Weekly that she and Thiessen had recently run into each other, and it was fine. "[We] did some small talk and it was great," she said.