Doherty, who rose to fame playing Brenda Walsh on “Beverly Hills, 90210,” appeared in the “BH90210” reboot that aired last August. She told Robach she kept her diagnosis private for about a year but decided to go public after realizing it would be revealed in court documents pertaining to her State Farm lawsuit. (After Doherty’s Malibu property was damaged during the 2018 Woolsey Fire, she sued the insurance company over how it handled her $1.4 million claim.)
“I’d rather people hear it from me,” Doherty said. “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. I want to control the narrative.”
The actress has been open about her medical journey since her initial diagnosis. In November 2016, for instance, she posted a photo of herself sitting on a CT scanner and detailed the “full panic attack” she had while undergoing the test. In October 2018, more than a year after announcing she was in remission, she shared another photo of herself in a medical gown and encouraged her followers to get mammograms.
Doherty was aware of her cancer’s return when Luke Perry, her longtime friend and “90210” co-star, died last March after suffering a stroke. It was “shocking,” she said on “Good Morning America,” to receive her diagnosis and soon after experience the death of “somebody who was seemingly healthy.”
She honored Perry by appearing in a tribute episode of “Riverdale,” the CW’s television adaptation of the Archie Comics on which he played Fred Andrews, the main character’s kindhearted father. In the episode, which aired in October, Doherty plays a stranger for whom Fred sacrifices his own life.
“The least I could do to honor him was do that show,” she told Robach, later adding that she was also able to process Perry’s death “in a way that was very positive and uplifting” by reminiscing with another “90210” co-star, Brian Austin Green. She credited Green with helping her get through “BH90210,” as he was the only one working on the reboot who knew about her recurrence.
Between her on-camera work and the State Farm lawsuit — “I’m taking a stand for all of us," she said — Doherty’s ultimate goal is to “to be remembered for something bigger than just me.”
“I thought, when I finally do come out [with my diagnosis], I will have worked 16 hours a day,” she added. “People can look at that and say, oh my god, yeah, she can work. And other people with Stage 4 can work, too. Our life doesn’t end the minute we get that diagnosis. We still have some living to do.”