While the beloved characters of Beverly Hills, 90210 were embroiled in the high drama of elite teenage life, the real lives of the actors were often more dramatic and challenging.
From Luke Perry’s heartbreaking death to Shannen Doherty’s persistent battle with cancer, and the financial turbulence of Tori Spelling, the seemingly enchanted cast have weathered their share of trials and tribulations.
Born into Hollywood’s elite, Tori Spelling’s life was once an epitome of opulence. She grew up in a palatial mansion sprawling across 55,000-square-feet in the heart of Los Angeles, boasting 14 bedrooms, 27 bathrooms, and a dedicated ‘museum’ for her mother’s vast doll collection. However, life’s glittering facade often conceals grim realities. Tori’s public Affair with Dean McDermott strained her Relationship with her parents, notably affecting her inheritance. Upon her father’s demise, she received a meager $800,000 from his $600 million fortune — a stark reminder of the fractured family bonds.
In an honest reflection, Tori admitted, “In all honesty, I grew up a certain way. I never had to worry about money… that was my reality.” However, reality soon took a bitter turn. Tori’s lavish shopping habits culminated in mounting debts, legal issues, and lawsuits from credit card companies. Her personal life underwent tumultuous waves too. Despite the upheavals and controversy surrounding their affair, Tori found solace in Dean. Their love story was so strong that Tori confidently stated in her 2009 memoir, “The following day when I woke up next to Dean, I had no regrets.”
Sadly, their fairy-tale romance was not destined for a ‘happily ever after.’ After 18 blissful years and the birth of five beautiful children, the Couple decided to part ways. Dean expressed his sentiments on Instagram, stating, “It’s with great sadness and a very, very heavy heart that after 18 years together and five amazing children, that @ToriSelling and I have decided to go our separate ways, and start a new journey of our own.”
Luke Perry, fondly remembered as the series’ heartthrob, Dylan, suffered a tragic fate when he passed away from complications of a stroke in March 2019. Perry faced a life-threatening situation following a massive ischemic stroke and, despite battling courageously in intensive care, he succumbed to a second stroke only days later, leading his family to make the painful decision to remove him from life support.
Luke left an unfillable void not only in Beverly Hills, 90210 but also in his other major series, Riverdale. Paying tribute to him, the producers brought in his longtime friend and former co-star, Shannen Doherty, as a new character. As she emotionally eulogized Luke, there was a palpable sorrow on and off-screen, with actors openly expressing their grief. Luke’s death also had significant implications on the plotline of Riverdale, particularly for Archie, who was portrayed as losing his guiding moral compass, his father.
Before his untimely demise, Luke also had a brief stint in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood, where he shared screen space with Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt. He is survived by his two children, Sophie Perry and Jack Perry, the latter also being a professional wrestler known as Jungle Boy.
Jason Priestley, who brought the beloved character Brandon Walsh to life in Beverly Hills, 90210, has faced several life-altering experiences. In a stark contrast to his good-guy image on-screen, Jason revealed in his 2014 memoir, Jason Priestley: A Memoir, that he often indulged in smoking and drinking during press interviews, to distinguish his off-screen persona from his character’s virtuous image.
His reckless behavior led to a severe car accident in 1999 when he crashed his Porsche into a telephone pole in Hollywood Hills, resulting in a DUI arrest, five nights in jail, and a year’s suspension of his driving license. The incident also necessitated his completion of an alcohol-management program.
Further, Jason, a racecar enthusiast, experienced a near-fatal crash in 2002 while practicing for the Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series at Kentucky Speedway. The accident left him with a broken back, a concussion, and a broken nose, among other injuries. Jason reflected on this harrowing ordeal, telling The Guardian in 2014, “A thing like that has to change you in some way. If it doesn’t, I think there’s something wrong with you.”
In spite of these hardships, Jason persevered and managed to build a fulfilling personal life. He wed makeup artist Naomi Lowde in 2005, and they share two children: Ava and Dashiell.
Jennie Garth, who played the role of Kelly Taylor, has also weathered her share of hardships, both personally and in terms of her health. Jennie, diagnosed with a leaky heart valve in 2002, didn’t publicly disclose her condition until 2009. In an interview with Access Hollywood, she shared her experience, stating, “It’s a common thing. A lot of people have it. They don’t know they have it … It’s your connection to your heart … your artery, the main artery that goes to your heart, it sort of flutters open and shut sort of a thing.”
While Jennie continues to lead a normal life, her condition necessitates constant monitoring. She added, “Down the road it’s something that could get more complicated or it could not… People have had valve replacements and that kind of thing… but I’m prepared, that’s the key.”
On the personal front, Jennie experienced heartbreak following her divorce from her second husband, actor Peter Facinelli, in 2013, after 11 years of marriage. Recalling the day Peter ended their marriage, Jennie wrote in her memoir, “Peter came home, and told me that he didn’t think he wanted to be married to me any longer, and he thought it best that we separate so that we could get a better sense of where we stood with each other.” Their relationship has since been a source of continued speculation, especially after Peter’s subsequent engagement to his co-star Jaimie Alexander, though they split a year later.
Despite her trials, Jennie found love again with restauranteur Dave Abrams, marrying him in July 2015 after meeting on a blind Date the previous year. The couple briefly separated in 2018, during which time Jennie was shocked to learn about their impending divorce from TMZ. However, they later reconciled, with Jennie attributing their recovery to the time they spent apart. She told People, “We definitely had to part ways completely… We needed that time to grow.”
Shannen has navigated numerous personal challenges with courage. Launching her career in the early ’80s with Little House on the Prairie, Shannen etched a formidable reputation in TV, seamlessly transitioning from Beverly Hills, 90210 to the globally acclaimed Charmed in the late ’90s.
However, behind-the-scenes drama with co-star Alyssa Milano led to an abrupt end for her character, Prue, in season three. Despite this setback, she continued to grace TV screens, making appearances on various films and series, joining the TV adaptation of Heathers in 2019, and even making a return to the revamped 90210.
Her personal life, however, has been marked by an arduous battle with breast cancer, which she has courageously shared publicly over the years. Her hope was to encourage more women to seek early detection and become familiar with the symptoms of this deadly disease. In 2020, Shannen broke the heart-wrenching news that her cancer had returned, in an emotional interview.
Now living with stage four cancer, Shannen continues to display immense resilience, insisting, “I’ve still got a lot of life left in me.” The actress revealed this year that the cancer has metastasized to her brain, yet her determination remains unwavering. She recently shared two videos of her radiation therapy on Instagram, offering a rare update on her cancer journey.
Adding to these trials, Shannen had to cope with the sudden dissolution of her 11-year-long marriage with Kurt Iswarienko. The pair, who began Dating in 2008, announced their split earlier this year.
In a statement to the Associated Press, her publicist Leslie Sloane expressed: “Divorce is the last thing Shannen wanted… Unfortunately, she felt she was left with no other option.” Addressing the unexpected separation on social media, Shannen stated: “The only people who deserve to be in your life are the ones who treat you with love, kindness, and total respect.”