They say that familiarity breeds contempt. Often, the quickest way to hate someone is to live or even work with that person.
We all often envy the charmed lives that actors lead and with good reason. However, imagine spending every day with the same group of people for months at a time. Television schedules are hectic, working at a breakneck pace that leaves little time for anything else. Sure, this shared existence can create a surrogate family, with actors forging lifelong friendships. But it can also lead to tremendous resentment and foster feelings of hatred, rather than affection.
We love (or sometimes love to hate) TV show characters, at times even considering them friends of our own. Due to the attachments that we develop to these characters, it is easy to assume that the real life relationships of the actors echo those of their onscreen counterparts.
In certain cases, this drama between costars destroyed the quality of the show, sometimes even causing it to end altogether. Other times, the stars were miserable, but the series managed to soldier on.
Here are 15 Behind The Scenes Feuds That Ruined TV Shows.
15. Golden Girls: Bea Arthur vs. Betty White
We know what you’re thinking. Not the Golden Girls! Unfortunately, Dorothy’s constant annoyance with Rose continued even after the cameras were turned off. Much of this is probably due to their dramatically different personalities. Bea Arthur was eccentric to say the least. This is by no means an indictment of the actress, whose legacy includes a ton of charitable contributions to LGBT causes. She was simply very serious and professional, having come from a background as one of the first members of the Women’s Reserve and later, from Broadway.
Betty White, on the other hand, was impossibly cheerful and was best known from starring in game shows. Apparently, Arthur found it unprofessional that White would hang out with the studio audience between takes, although of course, the crowd adored her.
While most of us struggle to understand how anyone could possibly dislike Betty White, apparently Arthur wasn’t too fond of Rue McClanahan either. There were no knock down, drag out brawls backstage, but according to McClanahan, Arthur did once call White the C word at a lifetime achievement dinner. “Thank you for being a friend,” indeed.
14. The Fresh Prince: Will Smith vs. Janet Hubert
Now this is a story all about how…Will Smith and Janet Hubert turned The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air upside down. Hubert played Aunt Viv for the first three seasons of the series and has had a near constant beef with Will Smith since the day she left. The actress was railing on Smith as recently as 2017, when Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Carlton – and who Hubert also wasn’t fond of – posted a reunion photo on Facebook.
Depending on whose story you believe, either Hubert wanted the show to be all about her or Smith was a spoiled brat. The bottom line is that the actors couldn’t get along and Hubert was recast with Daphne Maxell Reid beginning in the fourth season.
This decision proved divisive among fans, many of whom preferred the original Aunt Vivian. Whatever the real story behind her departure, one thing is certain: Janet Hubert is still very angry about it.
13. Desperate Housewives: Terri Hatcher vs. everyone
This one might not be completely unexpected, considering all of the onscreen drama between these ladies, but if you ask Eva Longoria, Felicity Huffman, and especially Marcia Cross, the real problem was Terri Hatcher. Nicolette Sheridan was even quoted as calling her “the meanest woman in the world.”
There was an incident that occurred during a Vanity Fair shoot, when Hatcher allegedly demanded the center position in the photo, and Cross and Longoria both threatened to walk if she got it. Aside from that, Cross, Huffman, Longoria, and Vanessa Williams gave a joint gift to a beloved crew member, but left Hatcher completely out of it.
That wasn’t the only feud brewing on Wisteria Lane, though. Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry had quite the falling out with Sheridan. According to the actress, Cherry struck her during an argument and her persistent complaints about the incident resulted in her character’s death. She has been attempting to sue him ever since.
12. The Good Wife: Julianna Margulies vs. Archie Panjabi
You know stars are on bad terms when they can’t even shoot their final scene together. Julianna Margulies and Archie Panjabi had to be superimposed together in postproduction, apparently because they couldn’t stand to be in the same room with one another. The Good Wife had a great run, but one of the aspects of the show that fans missed most in later seasons was the close relationship between Alicia Florrick and her former bestie, Kalinda Sharma.
The two characters were incredibly close early on in the series and then were driven apart, never to reconnect in the same way again. It was speculated that this was due to the actresses’ negative feelings for one another. Margulies has been pretty tight lipped about the entire affair, but Panjabi was slightly more vocal.
In an interview, Margulies shot down the rumor that the actresses didn’t get along, stating that the only reason the scene was shot via green screen was because Sharma wasn’t in the area. Well, Sharma took to Twitter to say that she was in New York, ready to shoot the scene, as opposed to out of town shooting The Fall as Margulies had claimed. Since then, though, she’s been unwilling to go into any further detail.
11. Moonlighting: Bruce Willis vs. Cybill Shepherd
In large part, what kept Moonlighting fans tuning in each week was the will-they-or-won’t-they relationship between private eyes Maddie Hayes and David Addison. As the sexual tension between them grew onscreen, there was animosity brewing offscreen as well. According to Cybill Shepherd, “I remember at one point in the show, it had gotten to where we just hated each other.”
The hostility boiled over to the point where Bruce Willis and Shepherd were fighting before most every scene, sometimes barely speaking to one another. When the show reached its end after four seasons, it had definitely run its course. Shepherd was a mom and Willis was launching a film career. Although, if these two had actually liked one another, perhaps Moonlighting would’ve had a fifth season.
10. Star Trek: William Shatner vs. everyone
William Shatner was unequivocally the star of Star Trek— at least that’s what he always thought. Although adored by fans everywhere, according to his costars, Shatner wasn’t the greatest guy to work with. Much of this can be traced back to that whole “Shatner is the star of the show” thing.
Although they were friends at times, Shatner’s feud with with Leonard Nimoy was on and off for years. Nimoy and George Takei were the most vocal about their contempt for Shatner. They weren’t alone though. At the time, Nichelle Nichols was on the verge of quitting the show altogether due to Shatner’s antics and James Doohan later said “I wanted to thump him on more than one occasion.”
Apparently, the more popular Spock became, the more Shatner felt the need to assert his dominance on the series by stealing others lines so that he could be the hero. Takei later said, “Bill is not going to be satisfied until we’re all gone and he gets to do our parts.”
9. Growing Pains: Kirk Cameron vs. Julie McCullough
Kirk Cameron rose to fame with his role as Mike Seaver on the hit ’80s sitcom, Growing Pains. Sometime during the show’s third season, Cameron became a born-again Christian and this greatly influenced the direction of the series from that point on. The most glaring example was Mike Seaver’s girlfriend, Julie Costello, who appeared in only eight episodes before the actress, Julie McCullough, was suddenly written off the show. Apparently Cameron was offended by her past appearances as a Playboy centerfold and wanted her fired.
This wasn’t Cameron’s only interference in the series. Three of the show’s producers quit after Cameron called them pornographers. He had refused to participate in scenes that he deemed inappropriate, which was anything that even remotely resembled adult content. The writers had been attempting to introduce more adult themes, because the characters were getting older. This censorship prohibited Growing Pains from being able to grow much at all.
8. Taxi: Andy Kaufman vs. everyone
Those who know anything about Andy Kaufman won’t be shocked to learn that the actor had an alter ego named Tony Clifton. This is a bit tricky, because it wasn’t necessarily Kaufman himself who was disruptive on Taxi, but Clifton. Several of the actors on the show, including Judd Hirsch and Jeff Conway, were extremely annoyed by Clifton’s outlandish behavior, not so much by Kaufman himself. Tony Danza once even soaked him with a fire extinguisher.
To be fair, Kaufman really committed to his duel identity. Kaufman was a professional, but was always late and never rehearsed. Clifton was a huge pain to work with, but he was always early and wanted to rehearse, so much so that he often delayed production. The two actors even signed separate contracts. It was Clifton who wound up fired – although his forcible removal from the set turned out to be a hoax – while Kaufman resumed work as though nothing had happened.
7. Two and a Half Men: Charlie Sheen vs. Chuck Lorre
The erratic behavior that proceeded Charlie Sheen’s firing from Two and a Half Men has been well publicized. The actor – who clearly had a drug problem – refused to acknowledge his addiction and instead of heading to rehab, chose to trash hotel rooms and rant about how much he was “winning” to any media outlet that would listen. He also viciously attacked his bosses, calling them “maggots” and “silly clowns”, among other things. Co-creator Chuck Lorre maintains to this day that he was attempting to help Sheen, who was unwilling to seek treatment.
Eventually, Sheen was fired and replaced with Ashton Kutcher, which for better or worse, changed the course of the TV show. Not too long after, Angus T. Jones had a meltdown about the series, begging people to stop watching it. Jones felt that series didn’t exactly jive with his religious beliefs, so he exited the show as well.
6. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: David Yost vs. everyone
If you want to keep all of your fond Mighty Morphin Power Rangers memories intact, we recommend that you skip this entry. David Yost, who played the Blue Ranger from ’93-’96 suffered so much harassment on the set, by both cast and crew, that he quit the show altogether. Being a gay man in Hollywood in the ‘90s was vastly different than it is now. Yost was not only closeted and terrified of people discovering the truth, but also suicidal at the near constant name-calling and questions about his sexuality.
After Yost’s departure, he fell into a deep depression, even attempting conversion therapy. Luckily, Yost eventually learned to accept himself for who he is. As for those cast and crew members that were so cruel to him… one producer denies that the abuse ever took place, claiming that Yost quit over a money dispute.
5. Community: Chevy Chase vs. Dan Harmon
In the case of Community, this behind-the-scenes feud actually did ruin the show. Show creator Dan Harmon and Chevy Chase often fought over the direction of Chase’s character, Pierce Hawthorne. These fights resulted in Chase walking off the set more than once. However, his inability to get along with Chase wasn’t the only reason for Harmon’s firing at the end of season 3. Apparently, he was unreliable at times, often showing up late and once even disappearing completely for days. The self-proclaimed “ninja of alcoholism” struggled with all-nighters that led to him sleeping through workdays.
The problem is that firing Dan Harmon was tantamount to ending the series altogether. Season 4 is widely regarded as awful. Without Harmon, there is no Community. In large part, it was Joel McHale campaigning for his return that got Harmon his job back, but it was also the show’s rabid fan base.
4. Beverly Hills, 90210 & Charmed: Shannen Doherty vs. everyone
Shannen Doherty holds the distinction of being fired from not one, but two popular shows, both of which were executive produced by Aaron Spelling. Beverly Hills, 90210 made Doherty a star as Brenda Walsh, but she was notoriously difficult to work with, regularly arguing with cast and crew. Although she and costar Jennie Garth became friends later in life, they fought constantly on the set.
There are different stories about Doherty’s famous firing during the fourth season. One producer mentioned that she cut her hair halfway through shooting the season finale, throwing off the episode’s continuity and majorly angering her bosses. According to costar Tori Spelling, she called her father and begged him to fire Doherty. Whatever the real reason, Brenda Walsh left the famed zip code, never to return and the series was forever changed.
Spelling gave Doherty a chance to redeem herself on Charmed. Despite being besties with Holly Marie Combs, Doherty and Alyssa Milano could not seem to get along. Not even the actress herself is certain of why she lost her job, although it was rumored that her feud with Milano was to blame. Doherty’s character was killed off at the end of the third season, breaking the hearts of Charmed fans everywhere.
3. Castle: Nathan Fillion vs. Stana Katic
The series may have been called Castle, but the reason why fans tuned in for eight years was the dynamic between Kate Beckett and Richard Castle. As is often the case with will-they-or-won’t-they couples, eventually they did and fans rejoiced. However, off screen, words between Stana Katic and Nathan Fillion were more acrimonious than affectionate.
Apparently, the actors spent so much time arguing, that they were sent to couples counseling to work through their issues. The two refused to even speak to one another when they were off set. Their mutual dislike went on for years before Katic finally chose to leave the show at the end of its eighth season. It was her exit that most likely caused the cancelation of the series.
2. X-Files: Gillian Anderson vs. David Duchovny
This one is particularly soul crushing, as fans have relentlessly shipped Gillian Anderson’s skeptic, Dana Scully, and David Duchovny’s believer, Fox Mulder, for decades. Both Duchovny and Anderson have likened their working relationship to a marriage, but it certainly wasn’t a particularly happy one. To be fair, the actors were working sixteen-hour days, constantly together for years. Most marriages would crumble under that kind of pressure.
There have been a slew of awkward comments from both actors about this relationship over the years. Apparently, all that time apart between the second X-Files film and the reboot gave the stars some much-needed perspective. Both actors have agreed that their rapport has greatly improved and that at this point they can actually enjoy working together. As for their past experience, according to Duchovny, “The crucible of doing that show made monsters out of both of us”.
1. Grey’s Anatomy: Isaiah Washington, TR Knight, Katherine Heigl and Patrick Dempsey vs. Shonda Rhimes
Grey’s Anatomy just wrapped its thirteenth season and has been renewed for a fourteenth. More than perhaps any other show on this list, the path of this long-running series has been determined by its many behind-the-scenes feuds.
The drama began when Patrick Dempsey and Isaiah Washington reportedly almost came to blows on set. It was later revealed that during the fight, Washington had used a homophobic slur in reference to T.R. Knight – who hadn’t actually come out yet. Washington then made matters worse by repeating the word in an interview, first apologizing for and later denying the incident altogether. After months of speculation, Washington was fired, and Dr. Preston Burke left Dr. Christina Yang at the alter.
The next controversy came courtesy of Katherine Heigl. Having won an Emmy the year before, in 2008 she withdrew her name from consideration. Her explanation: “I did not feel that I was given the material this season to warrant an Emmy nomination…” You can’t blame creator Shonda Rhimes for being a little annoyed and fans assumed that Dr. Izzie Stevens would meet an unfortunate end. However, despite her character being diagnosed with cancer, she did survive.
Also unhappy with his amount of screen time, as well as the story being told about his character, T.R. Knight chose to leave and Dr. George O’Malley was hit by a bus. Izzie was slowly written out over the course of season 6.
Lastly, McDreamy himself, Dr. Derek Shepherd, was killed off a full year before his contract came to an end. Although the closest Rhimes has come to admitting foul play was stating that she has killed off an actor simply because she didn’t like him, many have wondered if it was Patrick Dempsey that she was talking about.
Did we miss any major behind the scenes drama? Let us know in the comments!
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