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Shannen Doherty's Husband Became Her 'Rock in Every Way' — Inside Her Love Story While Fighting for Her Life

Bettina Dizon
Mar 18, 2022
04:40 P.M.
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Shannen Doherty walked down the aisle three times, with her last husband being the right man for her. Their relationship was tested when the actress was diagnosed with cancer, but they only got stronger through the rough battle.

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Shannen Doherty had an impressive career throughout her life, and her romance with men was no less colorful. The actress had several high-profile relationships, of which she married quickly. By the time she was 31, Doherty had already been twice divorced.

Doherty dated Max Factor's heir, Dean Jay Factor, in the early '90s and eventually got engaged. However, their relationship ended in disaster, with Factor filing a restraining order against his former fiancee in 1993. 

[Left] Kurt Iswarienko and Shannon Doherty at Paramount Studios on March 27, 2010, in Los Angeles, California. [Right] Kurt Iswarienko & Shannen Doherty arrive at American Cancer Society's Giants of Science Los Angeles Gala on November 5, 2016, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

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According to the cosmetics successor, the "90210" star had tantrums prone to violence that eventually led to a near-death experience. Some instances involved violent threats. "I will live in fear," Factor said.

Doherty's ex-fiance, Chris Foufas, could attest to Factor's claims because of previous experiences with the actress. The health club owner said:

"I could have predicted this before it happened. Things move along smoothly for a while, and then something snaps, and she goes into another drive: rage."

Shannen Doherty and Jason Lee in a scene from the film "Mallrats," 1995. | Source: Getty Images

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Despite what happened, Doherty moved on with her life rather quickly and married actor and director Ashley Hamilton six months later in October 1993. Their short-lived marriage lasted under a year, and in April 1994, they filed for divorce.

It took a few years before Doherty walked down the aisle again with actor and producer Rick Solomon, known for his work on "My Sister's Keeper" and "Alpha Dog."

Shannen Doherty and Rick Salomon arrive at the Maxim Hot 100 Party. | Source: Getty Images

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Like her other

relationships

, her marriage to Solomon also ended in separation. The former couple filed for an

annulment

nine months after exchanging vows.

Soon enough, love came knocking on her door yet again, and this time, Doherty called her third marriage a blessing.

Shannen Doherty and Chris Foufas arrive at the 18th Annual People's Choice Awards at Universal Studios in Universal City, California, United States. | Source: Getty Images

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DOHERTY MARRIES THE RIGHT MAN

In 2011, Doherty married Kurt Iswarienko at the age of 40. Before their union, the "Badass" author said, "Marriage to me is such a gigantic commitment that it's not something I'd ever go into lightly anymore. I've learned my lesson."

Iswarienko, a photographer in the electrical department for films, met Doherty in 2008 while married to actress Taryn Band. Following his divorce, Iswarienko dated Doherty.

Shannen Doherty and Kurt Iswarienko during the Entertainment Weekly And Women In Film's 7th annual pre-Emmy party at Restaurant at The Sunset Marquis Hotel on September 17, 2009 in West Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

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Fortunately, their relationship withstood the test of time and, more importantly, was strengthened by Doherty's cancer battle. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, and while illnesses sometimes derail marriages, hers brought them closer together.

She revealed that her hair began to fall out in one Instagram post. This led her to make a bold decision to shave it off despite loving her hair.

Kurt Iswarienko and Shannen Doherty during The Hennessy Black Event at Voyeur on March 16, 2010, in West Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

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Doherty was in the car with her mom when she called her husband to break the news. She initially wanted to tell him personally but could not wait. When Doherty got home, her husband greeted her by the driveway and said:

"We are going to get through this. You are going to be okay. We are going to get through this, you're strong, and you're powerful, and you're not going anywhere."

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"Cancer solidified us," she said. "Kurt and I have a much deeper appreciation for each other now." Before the diagnosis, Doherty, and Iswarienko, like any other couple, would clash and have silent days instead of resolving issues.

However, as the actress said, cancer does change the diagnosed person and the people around the patient. Aside from her husband, Doherty's mother was also a source of strength in support throughout her battle.

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"A pivotal moment for me was when I was deathly ill from the chemo," she shared. "They were worried about my organs shutting down because I couldn't keep anything in." At one point, Doherty couldn't lift her head nor such on an ice cube. She recalled:

"Kurt was crying, saying, 'Please don't leave me.' I looked at him and thought, 'I can't do this to him.' So I dug deep, gathered everything up, and charged forward again."

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Unfortunately, due to her illness, Doherty can no longer have children the same way she planned. "I'm choosing not to take hormone pills – I can't risk those levels coming up," she said.

However, she and her husband plan to have an egg donor or go through adoption. Her fear is if she doesn't make it through the next decade. "I certainly wouldn't want my ten-year-old burying a mother," she said. "I've always wanted a kid, but maybe I'm supposed to be a mother in a different way."

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HOW CANCER CHANGED DOHERTY

Since having cancer, Doherty has felt more "feminine and vulnerable" than ever. She least expected that the strong woman she built herself to be would come crashing down at one point. However, it taught her to be more lenient and accept that it was okay to struggle at times.

She revealed that her hair began to fall out in one Instagram post. It led her to make a bold decision to shave it off despite loving her hair. Although challenging, it was a defining moment for the actress to come to terms with her situation and accept it.

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In addition, cancer taught her to appreciate the little things in life, such as her dog's reactions, her husband's music, and more. "It's all those little moments," she said. "The ones that make me smile."

She remains grateful to the people around her, including her mother, who provided her strength and guidance amidst war. She and Iswarienko teamed up to care for the person they loved most.

Shannen Doherty and Kurt Iswarienko during the Hollywood Unites for the 5th Biennial Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), A Program of The Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) at Walt Disney Concert Hall on September 9, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

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Several Hollywood celebrities also supported Doherty's battle, including Sarah Michelle Gellar and Alyssa Milano.

Both actresses shared photos of Doherty on social media and cheered her on. Other stars who paid tribute include Tori Spelling, Selma Blair, and Kate Beckinsale. While Doherty may be in the clear, she still hopes that there will be progress in finding a cure for cancer this year.

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