Shannen Doherty has Irish ancestry on her father's side and English, Scottish, and Scots-Irish ancestry on her mother's side.
Shannen Maria Doherty was born on April 12, 1971, in Memphis, Tennessee, the United States, to Rosa, a beauty parlor owner, and John Thomas Doherty, a mortgage consultant. The younger of two siblings, Doherty grew up idolizing her older brother, Sean, a focused student whom Shannen refers to as "brilliant." Her early years in Memphis were spent riding horses and dreaming of landing a spot on the Olympic equestrian team.
Shannen was brought up in Memphis in Tennessee, but in 1978, at the tender age of seven, she and her family moved to Los Angeles, where her father started a West Coast branch of the family transportation business. It was while being in Los Angeles Shannen knew she wanted to pursue an acting career. She was an exceptionally well-behaved kid, raised by strict but loving parents. Shannen has always been very close to her family, who have always supported her.