Already have an account?
Get back to the

15 Shocking Behind-the-Scenes Secrets About ‘Melrose Place’ + Rumors of a Reboot!

Hint: one of them may mean a return to the small screen

If you tuned in every week to see what Billy, Jake, Jo, Jane, Michael, Sydney, and Alison were up to, who was dating whom, who stabbed whom in the back, and who stole a husband or blackmailed their ex, you weren’t alone. For much of the 90s, millions were glued to their TVs to watch the wacky drama unfold on Melrose Place, the campy primetime soap that followed a group of attractive young singles living in an LA apartment complex. 

MUST READ: ‘Melrose Place’ Cast Then and Now: Catch Up With the Stars of the Hit ’90s Drama

Cast of Melrose Place
Cast of Melrose Place (1993)mikel roberts / Contributor / Getty

While the show — a spin-off to the popular teen drama Beverly Hills 90210 — lasted just seven seasons from 1992 to 1999, its legacy lives on.

So much so that after over three decades, a planned reboot is in the works with some of its original stars including Heather Locklear. Back then, we simply couldn’t resist the juicy storylines and revolving door of cast members on Melrose — and we’re still here for the secrets about Melrose Place now. 

MUST READ: After Years of Struggle, Heather Locklear Is Bouncing Back — See What She’s Up To Now!

Whether a character was stealing another’s baby, joining a cult, or coming back from the dead, each week had us on the edge of our seats. Undoubtedly, the fictional apartment building at 4616 Melrose was built on more secrets and lies than bricks, but the show itself had a few secrets of its own. 

Here, we take a trip down memory lane and uncover 15 shocking secrets about Melrose Place. 

1. Show writers had to work around the stigma against gay people

Boy smiling; secrets about melrose place
Doug Savant in “Melrose Place” (1992) Star Productions

One thing about Melrose that you won’t find in other shows of its time was the progressive plot lines pushing the envelope of socially acceptable.

One example is the main character, Matt, an openly gay man with HIV. Show creator Darren Star told Variety in 2015 that it was important to show gay characters, but the network’s stance was ‘talk about it, don’t show it.’

That led to writers reportedly being told to ensure Matt and his boyfriend were never seen kissing or in the same bed. Fortunately, things have changed over the last 20+ years, and it’s no longer taboo. 

2. The show launched many careers: Secrets about Melrose Place

Two women side by side
Marcia Cross // Courtney Thorne-Smith (1992) Star Productions

Before Marcia Cross was Bree Van de Kamp in Desperate Housewives and an Emmy award nominee, she was blackmailing and blowing things up as memorable character Kimberly Shaw on Melrose Place.

Courtney Thorne-Smith went on to star in Ally McBeal, According to Jim and Two and a Half Men

MUST READ: 12 Startling Behind-the-Scenes Secrets You Didn’t Know About ‘Desperate Housewives’

3. Andrew Shue wasn’t the original Billy

Man leaning against a wall
Andrew Shue in “Melrose Place” (1992) Star Productions

In a 2012 reunion special, Andrew Shue recounts that another actor named Stephen Dale was initially hired to play Billy Campbell but was soon replaced because he lacked chemistry with Courtney Thorne-Smith’s character Alison Parker. It’s hard to imagine Melrose without Billy and Alison’s spark and subsequent rocky relationship drama. 

Another little-known fact? Shue wasn’t a well-known actor before joining the Melrose cast. He was a professional soccer player and did background work in several films.

After Melrose, he quit acting and started a successful media company. He’s also the younger brother of Karate Kid actress Elisabeth Shue

MUST READ: ‘The Karate Kid’ Turns 40 This Year — See the Cast Then and Now

4. This isn’t the show’s first attempt at a revival: Secrets about Melrose Place

Cast of Melrose Place
Cast of “Melrose Place” (1994) Star Productions

Thomas Calabro, who played Dr. Michael Mancini for all seven seasons, says he tried to help revive the show in 2009, but it flatlined after one season. Calabro was among the few original cast members who joined the reboot before Fox canceled it. 

5. Heather Locklear was brought in to shake things up

Woman posing; secrets about melrose place
Heather Locklear in “Melrose Place” (1992) Star Productions

Actress Heather Locklear was a longtime favorite of show creator Aaron Spelling (the man behind Dynasty and Charlie’s Angels) and quickly became a fan favorite on Melrose.

MUST READ: The Original ‘Charlie’s Angels’ Cast Is Unrecognizable Today

After a lackluster first season, Spelling brought Locklear into the fold to play “vixen” ad exec Amanda Woodward, stating that the show needed a “cat amongst the pigeons.”

She signed on to guest star for four episodes, and ratings soared. Locklear, now 62, stayed for all seven seasons and received four Best Actress Golden Globe nods for her role. 

6. Melrose Place existed, but not on Melrose Place

The exterior of Melrose Place is real, but its address is not. The apartment complex you saw on the show is actually located at 4616 Greenwood Place, a different Los Angeles neighborhood than the actual Melrose Place. Residents say fans still frequent the spot to catch a glimpse of the famous facade.

7. Every character’s apartment was the same

In 1995, set decorator Deborah Siegel told Soap Opera Weekly that she had just two apartments to work with for all eight cast members. “We just keep redressing them for different characters,” she revealed to the magazine.

8. The show had some controversial firings: Secrets about Melrose Place

Woman scowling
Lisa Rinna in “Melrose Place” (1997) Star Productions

Were Spelling and Star bad bosses? According to some former cast members, they were fired for the wrong reasons. Actress Hunter Tylo sued Spelling — and won to the tune of $5 million — after she was cut loose for getting pregnant. She was replaced by Lisa Rinna, who soon got pregnant herself, and a storyline was written into the show.

Meanwhile, actress Vanessa A. Williams, who played aerobics instructor Rhonda Blair in season one, was reportedly let go because writers didn’t know what to do with her character. Williams has alluded to the reason being because her character was Black. 

9. The show was inspired by real life

Man smiling
Darren Star (2016) Jason LaVeris / Contributor / Getty

With its far-fetched plots, it’s hard to believe anything rooted in reality inspired this show. But Darren Star has reportedly said he was inspired to create the show by the goings on his own West Hollywood apartment complex. 

10. The show contained hidden political messages: Secrets about Melrose Place

According to the Decoder Ring podcast, Melrose Place producers joined a group of artists to form the GALA Committee, an initiative to bring art out of galleries and into primetime TV.

In several instances, art featured on the show contained hidden political messages. One example is a quilt Alison receives while pregnant, which is decorated with the molecular structure of the abortion pill RU-486.

11. The show had as many romances off-screen as it did on-screen

Woman with two men
Laura Leighton and Grant Show// Laura Leighton and Doug Savant (1992/1998) Star Productions // Brenda Chase / Stringer / Getty

It’s not unheard of for actors and co-stars to become romantically linked after spending long hours together on set. But Melrose Place had more than its fair share of ‘office romances.’

For starters, Laura Leighton, who played Sydney Andrews, dated Grant Show but ended up marrying Doug Savant. Courtney Thorne-Smith dated platonic roommate Andrew Shue in real life before moving on to Grant Show (who made the rounds).

One of the secrets about Melrose Place is that one of the writers said Grant Show was the reason Thorne-Smith exited the show.

Real-life couple Josie Bissett and Rob Estes started the show as newlyweds and ended up splitting after 13 years of marriage. During filming, Heather Locklear was amid her divorce from Tommy Lee and got engaged to Melrose costar Jack Wagner. They later called it quits. 

12. Grant Show could have been as famous as Brad Pitt: Secrets about Melrose Place

Man in a cowboy hat
Brad Pitt in “Thelma and Louise” (1991)é Entertainment

Pitt’s breakout role was in 1991’s Thelma and Louise, a role that Melrose actor Grant Show (Jake Hanson) turned down due to scheduling conflicts. Naturally, Show told the New York Times he regretted not taking the part. He went on to star in numerous TV shows, including Swingtown, Private Practice, and Big Love

13. Writers had to rewrite a season finale due to tragic events

Man and woman scared
Jack Wagner and Heather Locklear in “Melrose Place” (1999) Star Productions

In the season three finale, viewers saw Marcia Cross’s character Kimberly Shaw blow up half of Melrose Place. But one of the secrets about Melrose Place is that five scenes were cut from that show because it would have been insensitive to show them in light of the Oklahoma City Bombing that occurred just a month earlier, killing 168 people.

At the time, Cross told Entertainment Weekly that she felt “guilty in a way” as if she were “perpetuating violence.” 

14. The decision to end the show was based on logic

Cast of Melrose Place
Cast of “Melrose Place” (1992) Star Productions

Writers told Vulture the decision to end the show after its seventh season was based on simple logic. Successful twenty-somethings wouldn’t stay in the same small apartments for all that time. “You tried to ignore it, but it would come up in the writers’ room all the time: Why haven’t they moved?” shared co-executive producer Carol Mendelsohn.

15. The show had a famous guest star

Woman in nurse outfit
Priscilla Presley in “Melrose Place” Star Productions

One of the exciting secrets about Melrose Place is that Priscilla Presley guest-starred in season five as a nurse in a psych ward who falls for Jack Wagner’s character, Dr. Peter Burns. Alas, the romance didn’t last, and neither did her role. Presley was only on for three episodes.

MUST READ: Priscilla Presley Young: 10 Rare Photos of Elvis’ Bride

Use left and right arrow keys to navigate between menu items. Use right arrow key to move into submenus. Use escape to exit the menu. Use up and down arrow keys to explore. Use left arrow key to move back to the parent list.