"It's so nice for me to have a female friend that feels no threat, no jealousy. We have never felt that with each other," Doherty told Gellar in ET's exclusive sit down. "We've done nothing but lift each other up and support each other in our careers and champion one another."
The two sat down for an intimate conversation at the Beverly Hills, 90210 star's California home, with Gellar serving as ET's special correspondent, to have an in-depth talk about how they've supported one another over the years, Doherty's stage IV cancer diagnosis and their careers.
Their closeness, respect and admiration for each other are just some of the many factors that make their relationship one of a kind. Here is everything we learned about their longtime friendship from their emotional and raw chat.
They're More Than Friends, They're Family
Doherty was first diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2015. While it went into remission after treatment, she revealed in February that her cancer came back as stage IV and had spread to her spine. Leading up to the announcement, she told her closest friends and family, including Gellar, during an intimate dinner with her oncologist on hand to answer questions.
"I knew that typically someone like you would have more questions and so for me to have my oncologist be there so that he could answer the questions, to squash any doubts that people had or to comfort, I think it was really to help you guys," Doherty expressed, noting the importance of having the Cruel Intentions star be there.
Gellar added that the biggest learning experience for her was educating herself on her friend's diagnosis and not being afraid to ask questions, saying: "You never know as a friend, as family, what is your place, what are you supposed to do?"
For Doherty, she expressed that she never wants her friends and family to think they are "bothering" her with questions or that she gets "uncomfortable." She would rather have them ask her or a doctor who is more knowledgeable about the situation than Googling and get misinformation.
Doherty also expressed how much she adores Gellar's two children, expressing, "They are now like my children. I love them madly. It's even better than having my own children."
Right from the start of their sit down, the two couldn't help but crack jokes about how ET sent an "unprofessional" correspondent to interview Doherty. "I'm super disappointed," Doherty quipped. "I mean, this is going to be rough."
Throughout their chat, the two friends touched on difficult topics in their lives, but always kept it light and added their personal stories and inside jokes.
"So as special correspondent, my notes say I'm supposed to talk to you about people in your life that have helped you get through this time," Gellar said. "So I'm thinking specifically they're asking about me. But it actually doesn't say that, it says your mom and [your husband] Kurt [Iswarienko], which has to be a misprint on my card, right?"
"They excluded you completely," laughed Doherty, with Gellar adding, "Great, how have I been…kidding."
"She's not joking," Doherty added. "Yeah, I'm not joking at all."
They Push Each Other
Doherty was hesitant to do the 90210 reboot, but Gellar, who was a fan of the show, joked that she "forced" her to do it.
"You're right, I didn't want to do it," Doherty admitted, explaining that she had exhausted herself playing Brenda Walsh and wanted to leave the character behind. However, after Luke Perry's death, as well as her cancer diagnosis, she had a moment of reflection which made her rethink her decision.
Gellar was right by her side as she committed to the role and encouraged her all the way. "I had so many friends that were crew members, and everyone kept saying, 'Oh my goodness, Shannen is the most professional. These hours were so long, and no one hits their marks [like her],' and I was like, 'Yep, that's my girl,'" the Scooby Doo star noted.
Additionally, Gellar also joked about pushing Doherty to work out every week -- even if the Heathers actress doesn't want to. "It's annoying and inspiring, no," Doherty joked of Gellar texting her to be her gym buddy. "I'm super appreciative that I can go work out with you…It's great…I need a little push, sometimes, to work out because I'd rather go lay by the pool or work in my garden."
As an ambassador for Stand Up to Cancer, Doherty is all about raising awareness, funds and is hopeful that a cure will be found.
"I am an ambassador to Stand Up to Cancer…They are leading the charge in research…They have support teams that help not just the person, but families as well," Doherty explained. "Getting diagnosed earlier, is going to save your life…When someone says to me, 'Do you think there is going to be a cure?' I say, yeah. Yeah, because an organization like Stand Up to Cancer."
Gellar, who has since informed herself about taking precautionary measures, also stressed the importance of going to get your mammogram and getting checked out. "It is not one of those things that should be put off," she noted.
They Learn From Each Other
It wasn't easy for Gellar to see her friend in remission and learning about her diagnosis. But seeing her thriving and living her life has helped the actress have a new perspective on life.
"I see the impact that it has on people and I'm proud with how open you've been about it, Gellar told her pal. "Nobody ever wants to see their friends suffer, but I think more than that, and I think this year has been proof that life is short and vulnerable for all of us, and we have to live for each moment."
It's a two-way street for Gellar and Doherty, who both expressed that they are constant students in their relationship. "My strength doesn't come from me, it comes from you," Gellar admitted, with Doherty adding, "And vise versa. When you find your people, you just feed off of each other in a positive way."
And as difficult as 2020 has been amid Doherty's stage IV cancer and the coronavirus pandemic, it has only strengthened their relationship.
"I have been able to either physically be with or emotionally be with [you] during this," Gellar reflected. "I think that slowing down has been really beneficial to those relationships and growing those relationships."
Their Support for One Another Is Unconditional and Never-Ending
After all these years together, Gellar and Doherty know the value of their well-rounded and full friendship.
"Your support [is the best thing about our friendship], but it's not just your support, it's your intelligence," Doherty expressed. "It's so nice for me…to be able to have intelligent conversations. That to me is the most precious thing about the two of us."
Gellar noted that throughout her career, she hasn't had the easiest time working with a lot of women, but is so grateful to have had and still have Doherty on her journey.
"To have someone that believes in me the way you do when I don't believe in myself and that shows me how to fight for the things that are important to me and the things that I want and the things that I deserve," Gellar shared. "Who makes me laugh, who's always willing to try any ridiculous challenge that I bring...to have someone that I know loves me for me, I'm very lucky."