Melissa Joan Hart starred on Sabrina the Teenage Witch. She almost got fired for a cover shoot.

In 1999, Melissa Joan Hart was about as big as you could get in Hollywood.

She was the star of breakout TV series Sabrina the Teenage Witch and was about to light up the big screen in the rom-com Drive Me Crazy and start filming Scary Movie. 

But in one night, everything almost came crashing down. In a new interview with iHeartPodcast Pod Meets World, the Clarissa Explains It All teen actor opened up about a decision that almost ended her career.

"I get a call in the limo," Melissa told hosts and former child actors Danielle Fishel, Rider Strong, and Will Friedle. 

"They're like: 'You've been fired from the movie, you can go back to your party,' because there was a party at Planet Hollywood."

The movie in question was Scary Movie and at the time, Hart was about the walk the red carpet for Drive Me Crazy.

On the same night Scary Movie pulled the plug, Hart was informed of more bad news, but this time about Sabrina the Teenage Witch. "They're like: 'Well, you're being sued and fired from your show, so don't talk to the press, don't do anything.'"

So, what apparently prompted all this? Hart had just fronted the cover of Maxim, doing a cover spread in her underwear. The actor was accused of breaching her contract by seemingly portraying Sabrina Spellman naked on the cover of a men's magazine. 

The cover's headline read: "Sabrina, your favourite witch without a stitch." 


Melissa recalled a conversation she had with her mum during the traumatic saga. "I did a photoshoot for Maxim, it's Maxim, of course you're going to be in your underwear," she said.  

"They're like: 'We're being fired from the show,' I'm like, oh my god, so I'm crying, then the movie gets out and everyone shows up."

Hart then had to walk the Drive Me Crazy red carpet with Britney Spears, as the pop star's song 'You Drive Me Crazy' was on the film's soundtrack. Awkwardly looking back, it's rather obvious that Melissa had been crying in the photos. 

Melissa Joan Hart and Britney Spears in 1999. Image: Getty.


 "I had been crying! If you look at my eyes, I had been crying all evening," she reflected.

"At the time, I thought this was the worst day of my life." The actor added that along with finding out she had potentially been fired from her TV show and movie, she'd also broke up with her boyfriend earlier that night. 

Luckily for Melissa, the alleged threats of legal action from Sabrina's executives didn't eventuate. She said that ultimately, the people who wanted to sue her "had no ground to stand on."

As for Scary Movie, the actor never appeared in the film. "I was supposed to go and shoot the movie Scary Movie in Vancouver. I was supposed to be the opening, vivacious, big-breasted one that's murdered or something in the beginning," she claimed.

The role in question was portrayed by Carmen Electra. According the Wayans brothers, Hart merely auditioned for the part. 

Sabrina the Teenage Witch ended up airing from 1996 to 2003. 

Feature image: ABC + Maxim. 

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