She’s been through two divorces – from Ashley Hamilton in 2004 and an annulment from Rick Solomon in 2002 – and now she’s ending things on TV. In Oxygen’s Breaking Up with Shannen Doherty, the former Beverly Hills, 90210 bad girl, 35, is filling the role of interventionist for real-life couples. “It’s like therapy,” she tells us. “Fun therapy.” Doherty recently shared with PEOPLE some of her expert observations.
Is this your softer side?
Sometimes I’m soft and sometimes I’m not. It depends. There was one breakup with a guy who kept putting down his girlfriend, telling her she’s fat. And I was just like, “Oh my God. Are you kidding?” He had to back off.
So are we seeing a new part of Shannen Doherty?
I hope so. I had an image created for me, but I went with it because it was like having a wall around me and nobody ever really knowing me. I was protected. But the disservice I did to myself in the long run was gigantic. It still affects you. I knew it wasn’t me but everyone else thinks it’s me.
But in the show you almost still do play into that persona of being a bitch.
I’m never really a bitch on the show to anyone. It’s tough love. It’s saying, “Don t do this in your next relationship. Don’t call someone fat. Don t be so hard on someone.”
Are you always breaking up with a jerk, or do some innocent nice guys get the shaft?
We actually had a marriage proposal on our show. They’d been living together for years, and he had this fear of commitment. He thought that when you get married you start driving an SUV and wearing a fanny pack. I just did my follow-up interview with both of them. They are on cloud nine. He made her ring for her. It took him four days to pound this quarter out. It was so sweet.
Have you cried?
I have. I am relating. I can look at [the dumpees] and say, “I’ve been here. I know what you’re feeling right now.” It’s not like we do it and we dump them off. We offer therapy for free. We have an on-staff psychiatrist and we do the follow-up calls later.
You’ve had many breakups, but is there one in particular that you use as inspiration for this show?
Unfortunately, for me, almost all of my breakups have been fairly public. [Laughs] I don’t think there’s any specific one I can go into where people would go, “Ooh, that’s new.” Breakups are breakups. It’s hard either way. Very few are gonna be like, “Oh great. I’m so glad you broke up with me.”
Do you find it hard not to give advice when the cameras stop rolling?
No. It’s the opposite. Now, when my friends ask me for advice, I’m like, “I’m so tapped out.” The funny thing is I don’t even think I could have a relationship right now because I’m so exhausted from it.
I thought you had a boyfriend?
Oh my God, no. I haven t had a date in forever.
You’ve joked about doing a follow-up show called Hooking Up with Shannen Doherty. Any reality to that?
I really want to do it. I registered it. I like the idea of hooking up the dumped with others who were dumped. There are so many great people who have been broken up with.