Melissa Joan Hart Reveals She Was Almost Fired From Sabrina After Underwear Photoshoot

Sabrina The Teenage Witch alum Melissa Joan Hart recently revealed that a magazine cover she shot in her underwear almost got her fired from the 90s sitcom.

By Hayley Santaflorentina Aug 22, 2023 10:02 PMTags
Watch: Melissa Joan Hart SKEPTICAL About Sabrina The Teenage Witch Reunion

Melissa Joan Hart nearly conjured up a Sabrina the Teenage Witch scandal in the late ‘90s.

In fact, as the actress, who played the titular teen witch on the ABC and The WB sitcom recalled, the show was nearly canceled during its third season over her October 1999 Maxim front cover in which she's posed in her underwear.

"While I'm at my party that's at Planet Hollywood, some of my clothes were being dedicated there," the 47-year-old shared on the August 21 episode of the Pod Meets World podcast, "my lawyer shows up and goes, 'You did a photoshoot for Maxim magazine? You're being sued and fired from your show, so don't talk to the press, don't do anything.'"

Melissa noted that at the time she responded, "I did what my publicist told me to do, I did a photo shoot for MaximIt's Maxim! Like of course you're gonna be in your underwear." 

In the image, the then 23-year-old Melissa is wearing black underwear and is holding a white shirt over her topless chest. However, as she clarified, the issue ultimately came down to the magazine using Sabrina's name on the front cover, rather than Melissa's real name.

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"The magazine wrote, 'Sabrina, your favorite witch without a stitch,'" the Melissa & Joey alum explained. "So in my contract it said I would never play the character naked. So here they were thinking I was in breach because I'm playing the character."

Melissa, who starred in the teen rom-com Drive Me Crazy, that same year, continued, "I was like, 'No, that was supposed to be me promoting my movie, it wasn't supposed to be the character. I had no control over what they wrote on the cover."

Taylor Hill / George Lange via Getty Images

So how did the actress fix this spell gone bad? "I wrote an apology letter," Melissa shared. "And it was all gone." 

But one unexpected perk of the scenario, she admitted, was a lot of free press. 

"The silver lining here is that for weeks, the top news: ‘Can Melissa be sexy'?" she explained. "'Why is she being fired from her tv show?' And all this drama. But it made for Drive Me Crazy to come out and be a huge success. It was insane." 

E! News has reached out to ABC, The WB and Nell Scovell, the show's creator, but hasn't received a comment.

However, Archie Comics responded in a statement to Variety Aug. 23, saying: "Archie Comics knows nothing and has heard nothing about this, and it was decades before the current administration at Archie. It's ancient history."

Since the show came to an end in 2003 after 7 seasons, Melissa has often reminisced about her time on the beloved sitcom. However, don't expect her to hop on the revival train.

"I think we would all have a lot of fun, but I don't think that that necessarily makes for a good show just because we're having a blast," she told E! News at That's 4 Entertainment 90s Con earlier this year. "I think that it's really hard to reboot something, do it smart. I think that people have thought about it for too long and everyone has an idea of what they want it to be, but I don't think it would ever make anyone happy."

This story was updated on Aug. 23, 2023 at 12:53 p.m. PT with Archie Comics' statement.

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