Life as a teenage witch wasn't always a fairy tale for Melissa Joan Hart, especially during her days as the lead in the 90s hit sitcom, "Sabrina the Teenage Witch." Recently, during an episode of the "Pod Meets World" podcast, Hart took a deep dive into a particularly challenging time in her career.
At 47, Melissa Joan Hart reminisced about the time she was on the brink of being both "sued and fired" from her pivotal role on Sabrina. The catalyst? A risqué photo shoot for Maxim magazine, where the actress posed in her underwear.
The experience, she recalled, was "the worst day of my life." The trip down memory lane began when the podcast hosts, Danielle Fishel, Will Friedle, and Rider Strong, drew attention to a photo of Hart alongside pop icon Britney Spears at the 1999 premiere of the teen film, "Drive Me Crazy." Though her smile was radiant, Hart disclosed that her eyes told a different story.
"I'd been crying all evening," she admitted.
Hart's Turbulent Premiere Night
The evening itself was an emotional whirlwind for Hart. She was coming to terms with ending a romantic relationship and had already faced a draining day with the press since 4 a.m.
To add to the tension, when she arrived at the film's premiere, she was instructed to wait for Spears for a combined photo opportunity. "They wanted me to wait for, like, an hour for Britney," Hart described, exasperated. Post the photo ops and once the movie screening began, Hart's chaotic evening took another twist.
She was set to leave for Vancouver to film for the horror parody, "Scary Movie," where she described her slated role as "the opening, vivacious, big-breasted one" who meets an early end. But destiny had other plans. Before she could reach the airport, Hart got news that she'd been cut from "Scary Movie" and was directed to attend a Planet Hollywood after-party.
As if the night wasn't tumultuous enough, her lawyer confronted her at the party about the Maxim shoot. And to make matters even graver, she got a call from her mother, who was also her producer, questioning her about the photo shoot.
The controversy revolved around Maxim's cheeky cover line: "Sabrina, your favorite witch without a stitch." Allegedly, this was seen as a violation of her contract with Archie Comics, which had clauses against portraying the character inappropriately.
However, after an apology letter and some intense discussions, Hart managed to retain her role on Sabrina. However, the pain of that night lingered. After the premiere, Hart confided in her father, her emotions raw from the events.
She recalled, "I was crying even harder because my dad is hugging me, I'm being fired from my show, I was just fired from the movie, and I just broke up with my boyfriend." Despite the turmoil, Hart pointed out a silver lining.
The buzz from the Maxim shoot inadvertently generated heightened interest in "Drive Me Crazy," showcasing the unpredictable nature of show business.