Melissa Joan Hart is revealing one of the “worst days” of her life was when she says she was nearly fired from Sabrina the Teenage Witch after doing a Maxim photo shoot.
During a recent episode of the Pod Meets World podcast, hosts Danielle Fishel, Will Friedle and Rider Strong showed a photo of Hart with Britney Spears at the New York premiere of the 1999 rom-com Drive Me Crazy. The actress proceeded to recall quite the chaotic 24 hours surrounding that photo, saying, “If you look at my eyes [in the photo], I’d been crying all evening.”
The day started off rough because Hart said she not only was planning to break up with her boyfriend at the time, who was also in the movie, but she had also “been up since 4 a.m.” doing press. Then, once she got to the movie premiere, she remembered being told she couldn’t leave her car until Spears arrived.
“I had to wait on the red carpet,” Hart said. “They wanted me to wait in my car for like an hour for Britney to show up so we could do photos together. And I was like, ‘Can I just go, start doing the press?’ [They were like,] ‘Nope, You’ve got to wait for Britney.’”
Once the red carpet was finished and the film began, Hart said she was then “whisked away to a limo” to head to the airport so she could go shoot the horror parody film Scary Movie in Vancouver.
“I was supposed to be the opening, vivacious, big-breasted one that’s like murdered or something in the beginning,” she said of her initial role in the film. “And I was put in a limo, and I was taken away, and I had just broken up with my boyfriend while we were in the movie, and I’m crying and I’m upset.”
But on the way to the airport, Hart said she got a call that she had been fired from Scary Movie. At that point, she ended up going to the Planet Hollywood afterparty instead.
And though she didn’t think things could get worse following an already exhausting day, that’s when Hart learned about Sabrina. She said while she was at the party, “My lawyer shows up and goes, ‘You did a photo shoot for Maxim magazine?’” Hart recalled. “I’m like: ‘Yes, I did.’ They’re like, ‘Well, you’re being sued and fired from your show, so don’t talk to the press, don’t do anything.’”
She then got a “phone call on my cell phone from my mother, my producer, who was like, ‘What did you do?’ And I was like, ‘I don’t know, whatever my publicist told me to do at the photo shoot. Like I did a photo shoot for Maxim! It’s Maxim, of course you’re gonna be in your underwear.’”
Hart later explained that the whole ordeal was caused by a line on the Maxim magazine cover, which read, “Sabrina, your favorite witch without a stitch.” She said she was accused of violating her Archie Comics contract, which stated Hart “would never play the character [Sabrina] naked.”
Everything got resolved in the end because Hart said they “had no ground to stand on” since “she had no control over what they wrote on the cover.” She added that she also wrote an apology letter.
But Hart said it was an emotional roller coaster for weeks since it took some time to get it all straightened out. She even recalled crying in her father’s arms the initial night she thought she lost her show: “I’m crying even harder because my daddy’s hugging me, I’m being fired from my show, I was just fired from the movie, I just broke up with my boyfriend.”
Hart starred in the hit ABC series, which followed a teen girl who finds out she’s a witch and her two aunts who help her control her newly discovered magical powers, for seven seasons from 1996 to 2003.