Shannen Doherty has revealed she kept her stage 4 terminal breast cancer diagnosis secret for a year because she did not want work to dry up and for people to start treating her differently.
The 48-year-old announced on Tuesday that the disease had come back, three years after she was given the all-clear from metastatic breast cancer.
She made the announcement in an interview with Good Morning America before the diagnosis became public in court papers that are part of her ongoing lawsuit against State Farm which she says owes her around $3million to repair damage to her home from a 2018 wildfire.
Since her announcement, the Beverly Hills 90210 star has been inundated with messages of support from celebrities and fans alike.
In the second part of her interview that aired on Wednesday, Doherty said she kept it secret for so long because she did not want people to look at her and think ‘dead man walking’.
‘[People] look at you like, “you’re a dead man walking”, basically, and that the need to say their goodbyes to you or something and also work dries up.
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Shannen Doherty, in the second part of her GMA interview on Wednesday, said she kept her terminal cancer diagnosis secret
‘I enjoy working and it gives me another reason to wake up every morning, its another reason to fight to stay alive,’ she said.
The star said she learned of her diagnosis after telling her oncologist that she was feeling ‘odd’ pains.
‘I started feeling some very odd aches so I called my oncologist and he said let’s just get you in, in the back of your head, you are always suspecting this is going to happen but I definitely in another way had convinced myself that I’d beaten it.
‘I was the true warrior, the true survivor. I was a cancer slayer,’ she said.
Doherty was vocal about her first cancer battle but said she may not share as much of it on social media this time around.
‘I don’t know…I don’t post a lot anymore and I also don’t want to be a bummer.
‘I want to be a positive and a beacon of light for other people or at least somebody that people can relate to and we can have an honest conversation and talk about how hard it is. I do want to be raw about it.
‘Our life doesn’t end the minute we get that diagnosis. We still have some living to do. I’d prefer a little longer,’ she said.
Among those who shared their support for her were her Charmed co-stars Alyssa Milano and Rose McGowan, Sarah Michelle Gellar.
Doherty shared much of her first cancer battle on social media. She said she does not yet know if she will be as open about it this time
Support system: Rose McGowan was one of Shannen’s many celebrity friends to reach out in support
The starlet was inundated with support from other celebrities on social media
Doherty learned the cancer had come back aggressively early last year and has kept it private since then but wanted to reveal it this week before it became public in court papers that are part of her ongoing lawsuit against insurance company State Farm over damage to her home from a 2018 wildfire.
State Farm has given her $1.1million since the fire but she says the damage to her home and property is $4million. She has also spent hundreds of thousands more on temporary housing and now she says the company has caused her additional stress.
In court papers filed hours later that were obtained by DailyMail.com, her lawyers say: ‘Shannen Doherty is dying of stage 4 terminal cancer.
‘Instead of living out her remaining years peacefully in her home, Ms Doherty remains displaced and battling with her insurance company to pay for the repairs necessary to fix the damage her home and personal belongings sustained in the Woolsey Fire in November 2018.’
Doherty’s home was damaged in the Wolseley fire and she says trying to make a claim against State Farm to repair some of the damage has been one of the hardest things she has ever done.
The company says it has paid her $1.1million but she believes she is entitled to more.
Shannen during her last cancer battle with husband Kurt Iswarienko
Doherty and her BH90210 co-stars. The reboot came out last August
Her attorneys did not give a total desired sum when contacted by DailyMail.com.
They said that while State Farm has given her $1.1million, only $311,441 of that was for the repairs.
The remaining $700,000 was for her alternative accommodation since 2018.
State Farm paid her $138,857 for repairs to the home but she says the damage is worth $2.5million.
The company paid her $172,584 to repair her personal property but she says she is 8.7 times that – $1.5million.
The actress’ lawyer says she never anticipated to recuperate all of that money because it exceeds the claim limits.
But because of how she is being treated by the company, she is now suing for additional damages.
‘State Farm’s bad faith insurance tactics have caused Shannen additional damages above and beyond the damages to her home, including unnecessary attorneys’ fees and, more critically, severe emotional distress suffered before, during and after her cancer recurrence.
‘Because State Farm has forced Shannen to go through this and to endure with this lawsuit with the limited time she has left, she is seeking additional damages for State Farm’s bad faith conduct as well as punitive damages to punish and deter State Farm from this unreasonable, inhumane conduct in the future toward homeowners in the wake of losses like the Woolsey Fire,’ her attorney, Devin McRae said.
Doherty revealed she had been given her diagnosis when Luke Perry, her Beverly Hills 90210 co-star, died in February last year. They are shown in the original show together in the 1990s
‘Shannen really just wants State Farm to pay what is owed under her insurance policy to return her home to its pre-fire condition,’ she said.
State Farm told DailyMail.com in a statement: ‘We empathize with Ms. Doherty’s health issues and wish her a full recovery.
Doherty beat cancer once before. She was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 then, after a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, was given the all-clear in 2017. She is shown in 2016
‘We strongly believe we have upheld our commitment to our customer and have paid what we owe on this claim.
‘We are prepared to defend our position in court.’
In her GMA interview, Doherty said she wanted to get ahead of the court filings becoming public and ‘control the narrative’.
‘It’s going to come out in a matter of days or week that I am Stage 4, my cancer came back and that’s why I am here.
‘It’s a bitter pill to swallow in a lot of ways,’ she said, adding: ‘I’m petrified. I’m pretty scared.’
‘I’d rather people hear it from me. I don’t want it to be twisted, a court document. I want it to be real and authentic.
‘I want to control the narrative. I want people to know from me,’ she said.
The State Farm lawsuit, she said, has been a grueling process.
‘My house was severely damaged. You walked in and it just reeked of smoke. I tried – I communicated with my insurance company.
‘I called, I got passed around, claims adjuster or to claims adjuster.
‘I ended up suing State farm and the result has been one of the most horrific processes I have ever been through,’ she said.
She said that she was most worried to tell her mother, Rosa, and her husband, film producer Kurt Iswarienko.
‘My mom is a ridiculously strong courageous human being. So is my husband, but I worry about him,’ she said. Doherty does not have children.
She added that she felt she had to continue with a reboot of Beverly Hills 90210 – one of the shows that made her famous – after the sudden and surprising death of co-star Luke Perry
Doherty had secretly been diagnosed with stage IV when Perry died of a stroke in February last year.
‘Why wasn’t it me? It was so weird for me to be diagnosed and then somebody who was seemingly healthy to go fist. It was really shocking and the least I could do to honor him was to do that show. I still haven’t done enough in my opinion,’ she said.
She added that she wanted to prove that people who had been diagnosed with Stage IV cancer ‘still have some living to do’.