Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Shannen Doherty: Dad’s Stroke Inspired Me to Do DWTS

It’s no secret that Shannen Doherty has been asked to join Dancing with the Stars in the past — and swiftly turned down the offer that her former 90210 costars Ian Ziering and Jennie Garth happily accepted. “I have a huge fear of live audiences,” Doherty explains. “I break out in hives, full blown panic attacks, and everything else.”

So why did the she finally cave? Doherty, 38, tells PEOPLE that she was inspired to take on the challenge after her father suffered a devastating stroke on Christmas Day. “He lost his speech, he wasn’t mobile,” she says. “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.”

Doherty has more than a fear of live audiences to overcome when she appears on the show’s 10th season premiere on March 22: She hasn’t hit the gym since her days on Charmed. “I don’t work out,” she says. “I need to get my endurance up.”

Doherty says she doesn’t have much dancing experience beyond taking tap classes as a kid, but she’s excited for the challenge. “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 says. “It’s with hesitation and fear, but it’s going to be good to conquer a fear.” –Lisa Ingrassia