Incapacitating anxiety, skin rashes, stage fight: all these conditions kept former “90120” star Shannen Doherty from accepting past invitations to tap her toes on the set of “Dancing with the Stars.” Until, that is, the occurrence of a life-changing event that will have her cutting a rug to a much different tune come the new season’s premiere on March 22.
“I have a huge fear of live audiences,” Doherty told People magazine. “I break out in hives, full-blown panic attacks and everything else.”
Then last Christmas, the 38-year-old actress’ father suffered a stroke. While watching his recovery, Doherty decided that she too could overcome her perceived limitations. “He lost his speech, he wasn’t mobile,” she explained. “He was really struggling and still is. When I mentioned this to him, he got really excited and he wanted me to do it. I thought, If my dad can fight through having a stroke and the loss of being able to communicate, I think I can do this for him. So I figured I’m going to get over my fear for him.”
Helping her fight those fears will be two-time “DWTS” winner Mark Ballas , who has partnered with past champs Kristi Yamaguchi and Shawn Johnson. Doherty will certainly have to put in some serious work to compare favorably to both those Olympic gold medalists. The actress said she hasn’t been to the gym since leaving “Charmed” in 2001 and hasn’t taken a dance lesson since some tap classes as a child. “I don’t work out,” she said. “I need to get my endurance up.”
“I’m going to get in great shape and everyone who I know who’s been on the show has had a great time,” she added. “It’s with hesitation and fear, but it’s going to be good to conquer a fear.”