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Fact Checking the '90210' Reboot: Did Jennie Garth and Jason Priestly Date in Real Life?

By Kate Hudson | TV | August 10, 2019 |

By Kate Hudson | TV | August 10, 2019 |


90210-1144744685.jpg

The West Beverly gang is back, and honestly, I could not be happier about it. This summer has been a little, oh shall we say, bleak, yes?! Spending time with the 90210 crew feels like slipping on a favorite sweater, and it’s exactly what I needed, even if it does feel a little bittersweet.

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If you haven’t seen the first episode of the new 90210, it’s excellent. Stop what you’re doing right now and go watch it, you can find it on Hulu. If you need any further convincing, the premise, which I’ll explain, should push you over the edge.

This is not a straight forward reboot, which I’m grateful for since I’m not sure I want to see David and Donna Silver’s inevitable marriage problems. (We know there would be problems, those two were a lot.) So we lucked out when the powers that be decided to reboot 90210 as a meta-take on what the actors who played the core group in 90210 would be up to now, and their struggle to get a fictional 90210 reboot on the air. It’s a genuinely funny, satirical take on what being an aged-out teen star in Hollywood is like once your super popular show has been off the air for years, and you’re in your late 40s (or late 50s in one case) in Hollywood. Plus, it’s anchored by the original cast (minus the very notable absence of Luke Perry, which I’m still not totally ready to talk about) and honestly, I am happy to see them back together. The fact that the pilot episode was funny and entertaining is just a pleasant cherry on top of the nostalgia sundae.

I was a 90210 super-fan back during its original run, so naturally I’m here to help set the record straight on some of the liberties that 90210 took to portray the fictional versions of the real-life actors. In short, you’re about to get a crash course on what Jason, Jennie, Shannen, Tori, Brian, Ian and Gabrielle have been up to since 90210 went off the air in 2000. So sit back, put on some Color Me Badd (or Jeremy Jordan, if you want to go for true authenticity) and let’s catch up with our favorite high school TV show cast of all time (come @ me Riverdale. You ain’t got s*it on West Beverly High.)

First up: What’s changed with the opening credits?

The biggest change to the reboot credits is that it’s now in alphabetical order, which they made a point to put in the opening moments:

You’ll notice that back in the day, Brandon and Brenda were the first up in the cast, since it was originally supposed to be their show, first and foremost.

Obviously, Kelly and Steve had other plans and that’s all changed now, but the most important thing is that the song remains the same.

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So, Did Jennie Garth and Jason Priestley Hook Up Back in the Day?

In the reboot, there’s some obvious tension between Jennie and Jason, culminating in them having sex in a hotel room before they jet back to Los Angeles—but did that happen in real life?

Well, the best answer I can find is maybe. In his 2014 memoir, Priestley admits that the cast did sleep with each other during the original run of 90210:

Priestley confirms that “various combinations of people slept with each other over the years.”

Does this mean they did? Who knows! (Unfortunately not me.) Although, unlike show-Jennie and Jason, real-life Jennie loves her some Jason Priestley to this day:

OK—but did Tori Spelling lose her virginity to Brian Austin Green?

Show-Tori admits to Jennie that she lost her virginity to Brian back in the day (and on the show, because that was a huge deal if you remember) but did it happen in real life?

No, but they did do it, which…yes, girl!

A few years ago, Spelling was on Celebrity Lie Detector Test, when the gossip came out:

She didn’t lose her virginity to any of her fellow Beverly Hills, 90210 stars, but Spelling did have sex with Brian Austin Green. This wasn’t just a no-strings-attached type of relationship; Spelling admitted that, at the time, she had romantic feelings for her fellow TV star. She also got down and dirty with Jason Priestley during a summer fling… and kissed Luke Perry after her 18th birthday party.

So art is imitating life here, as the reboot did address that Tori had a deep crush on Brian back then.

What about Gabrielle Carteris? Is she really President of the Actors Union?

Hell yes! West Beverly High’s Class of 92 valedictorian is the current president of SAG-AFTRA, which is a total Zuckerman move.

So is Carteris a grandma in real life, too?

No, according to ETonline, that’s fake. But she does have adult children now. Perhaps this is a way to let them know to get on that? I dunno, my mom would do that if she was on the 90210 reboot, so why not Gabrielle?

What about *that* kiss between Gabrielle and the lady who looked similar to Emily Valentine?

That’s all for the show, my friend. Real-life Gabrielle has been married since 1992 to a guy, which doesn’t necessarily mean anything about her sexuality, but it’s been debunked on other sources on the internet. It is a long-held belief in some circles that Andrea Zuckerman was a lesbian, and it seems this scene was a way to acknowledge that.

I was more preoccupied with the fact that the lady she kissed bore a striking resemblance to Emily Valentine, friends. Emily was a lot back then.

So, do the real-life marriages line up with the reboot marriages for the cast?

Sort of.

Real Brian Austin Green is married to Megan Fox, not a world-famous pop star but we’re in the same ballpark. He has 4 children, instead of 3 on the show—but his ex-Vanessa Marcil says he’s not involved in their son’s life, so that’s an added layer of “yikes” here, but it seems to have been resolved since.

Jennie Garth is still married to husband #3, although he did file for divorce but later rescinded the request, unlike show-Jennie.

Tori Spelling is famously married to Dean McDermott, and while they have 5 kids instead of 6, the family most definitely had a reality show (or two) in the past, which I may or may not have watched. (Come on, we all know I did.) Their money troubles have been well documented.

Jason Priestly is not married to a publicist, but rather a makeup artist, and they have two kids. As far as anyone knows, she’s not pregnant.

Ian Ziering is married to a younger woman he runs a blog with like on the show, but they have two children together (show-Ian is childless.) No word on if she’s ever cheated on him. However, Ian does love him some pre-nups, which they showed on 90210 which his first wife, Nikki, found out the hard way when they divorced and she basically got nothing:

Eight years, one conversion to Judaism (hers), and one conversion to punchline (his) later, Nikki, 33, is a living ad for the pitfalls of a prenup. A four-poster bed — her one remaining possession from her five-year marriage to Ziering — touches almost every corner of her small studio apartment in Brentwood. The kitchen cabinets double as hair-product storage.

So that part of the show was definitely true to life.

You may be wondering where this show will go next, and frankly, I am too. It’s clear we’re about to see a lot more of Shannen Doherty, so I will most definitely be there to let you know what’s based in fact, and what isn’t—and it’s my hope we see some other 90210 alums along the way, in particular, the actors who played Jim and Cindy Walsh.

In a perfect world, we’d also get to spend some time with the fallen heroes of the series like Toni (Rebecca Gayheart) and Scott (Douglas Emerson.) Don’t hold your breath on Scott, though, Douglas Emerson retired from acting in the early ’90s and joined the Air Force in 1996.

Until next time, friends.

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Kate is a staff contributor. You can follow her on Twitter.


Header Image Source: Getty


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