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Tori Spelling's Ex Reveals How She Reacted to Brutal Terms of Dad's Will

Producer Aaron Spelling only left his actor daughter a fraction of his $600 million estate.

The late Aaron Spelling was known just as much for his wealth as he was for the successful TV shows he produced. The producer of Charlie's Angels, Dynasty, Beverly Hills, 90210, and more hit series famously lived in what was, at the time, the biggest mansion in Los Angeles, and he died with a reported $600 million fortune. Aaron's daughter, 90210 star Tori Spelling, had been in the public eye for years when her father died, so it made headlines when he left her a only a small fraction of his estate. The producer reportedly left Tori just $800,000, while the rest of his millions went to his wife and her mother, Candy Spelling.

In a new interview, Tori's ex-husband, Charlie Shanian, revealed how Tori reacted when she learned that she was largely left out of Aaron's will. Read on to find out more.

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Shanian said he was there when Tori found out about the money.

Tori Spelling and Charlie Shanian at a Ted Baker store opening in 2005
Donato Sardella/WireImage via Getty Images

Tori and Shanian were married for two years from 2004 to 2006, but had begun dating in 2002. Shanian said that Tori learned about her father's plan for his will a few years before Aaron's 2006 death and prior to their wedding.

"When she found out about the will, and the terms of the will, she was so upset," Shanian told the Daily Mail. He explained that Tori was particularly upset because it meant that Candy, with whom she had a strained relationship, would have more "control" over her finances.
"She was crying and feeling upset, not about the money, but about what it meant that was structured in such a way," the actor's ex said. He added of his former father-in-law, "From what I understand, it was his hope was that it would bring Tori closer to her mom because it would require a connection between them."

Shanian also claimed that Candy had set up trusts for Tori and her brother Randy, but that they were not yet in control of them.

He said the arrangement caused her "pain."

Charlie Shanian and Tori Spelling in Beverly Hills in 2004
EdwinAC / Shutterstock

Shanian said that he reminded Tori of something she had said about being happy with him in any circumstances.

"I said, 'Remember, you once said you would live with me in a log cabin in Montana.' She's crying and she says, 'I know, but I thought I'd do it with my money,'" the 58-year-old said. "She had a great sense of humor about it, yet there's a real pain in there about that."

Shanian and Tori split up in 2005 after she began a relationship with Dean McDermott. Tori and McDermott married in 2006 soon after her divorce from Shanian was finalized. The couple separated in June, as reported by People.

Best Life has reached out to a representative for Tori for comment on Shanian's interview but has not yet received a response.

Tori had a "hard conversation" with Aaron about his will.

Tori, Aaron, and Candy Spelling at the 2000 Carousel of Hope Ball
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

In a 2008 interview with ABC News, Tori revealed that she talked to her father about his will before he died.

"It was a hard conversation to have with him," she said. "I didn't want him to think that I was asking him for the money, or even talking about something so morbid as when he would pass. But I thought it was a conversation I needed to have … for myself and for my brother. We had lunch and he said, 'You're gonna be OK. I made sure. You're getting just under a million.'"

Randy received a similar amount of money from the estate.

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She thinks her life would be different if she'd inherited more.

During a 2021 episode of Overserved, host Lisa Vanderpump asked Tori if perhaps Aaron had done her "a favor" by not leaving her more money, because it encouraged her to become someone who was "kind, compassionate, and hardworking."

Tori responded, "I think I always would have had that drive. I'm built like my dad. What if he had given me $50 million? And what if with that $50 million I had changed the world? What if I am the fierce hustler and businesswoman I am today but with that? … I guess we'll never know."

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Candy said that Tori wouldn't have managed the fortune well.

Candy spoke out herself in a 2014 interview with The New York Times. While she didn't mention the trusts Shanian claimed she set up, she did suggest that Tori wouldn't have managed a large inheritance well due to her shopping habits. "She would close a store and drop $50,000 to $60,000," Candy said. "I never did anything like that. She just went crazy."

Tori has admitted to overspending herself. "Bad shopping habits die hard," she told ABC News. "In all honesty, I grew up a certain way. I never had to worry about money … that was my reality." In that same interview, she said of her mother, "I love my mom. My mom loves me. We don't have an easy relationship. I don't think we ever will, but I'd rather have a complicated, misunderstood relationship than have no relationship at all."

More recently, in 2022, Tori said that she and her mom were texting everyday and that their relationship had become "really close" during an appearance on Jeff Lewis Live.

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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