I loved you more than I ever thought I could love anybody
Brenda & Dylan is a romance on Beverly Hills, 90210, portrayed by Shannen Doherty and Luke Perry.


The story of Brenda and Dylan is an intense, passionate, whirlwind love – a deep and powerful connection between two young romantics. Their love inspired them and saved Dylan's life in his struggle with alcohol and parental abandonment. Eventually, they grew into a Romeo & Juliet story as Brenda's parents started a war against Dylan. This abandonment by his surrogate parents broke Dylan's heart and he drifted away from the Walshes towards something more simple, and broke Brenda's heart by cheating with her supposed best friend. Brenda eventually forgave them both, but she never stopped loving Dylan – and he never stopped loving her. Slowly, during their freshman year in college, they found their way back to each other and reconciled a week before Brenda moved to London. Dylan's loss of his money and Brenda combined broke him and his addiction resurfaced tenfold, but the support of his friends helped him get clean. After Toni died tragically, Dylan left Beverly Hills for good and went to the only home he had ever truly known – Brenda.


Brenda and Dylan first meet at the Walshes', and Brenda decides to dye her hair blonde as she thinks Dylan prefers blondes. Her hair comes out looking orange and, embarrassingly, she happens upon Dylan while out for a run in the neighbourhood, where he assures her that the hair color doesn't matter to him. This is the first time the two are seen flirting.[1]


They don't really reconnect until Brenda tags along on a hangout with Brandon and Dylan, and when Brandon gets sick, Brenda and Dylan hang out alone. This is the episode where they actually end up kissing and embarking on possibly the most iconic relationship of the series. The same episode also sees the beginning divide of the Walsh household where Dylan is concerned, notably Jim's prejudices that Dylan is like his imprisoned father.[2]

Brenda learns that Dylan is a recovering addict when Dylan helps Brandon, after the latter gets into a car accident while intoxicated[3]. This does not seem to faze Brenda as she and Dylan continue their relationship throughout the remainder of the season. Aside from the common teen relationship hurdles, such as whether both Dylan and Brenda become attracted to other people while together and how they handle that[4], they also experience some true difficulties, such as when Brenda fears she has a malignant tumor[5].

A pivotal moment in their relationship occurs at the 1991 Spring Fling, when they sleep together for the first time.[6] When Jim gets offered double the fees and a promotion back in Minnesota, he takes it and Dylan and Brenda are faced with separation. At the last moment, Jim decides against moving, after seeing the impact the presence of the Walsh family has had on their community.[7]

Intensity and family


brenda ends things

Brenda feels overwhelmed by the maturity of her relationship with Dylan[8] after a pregnancy scare and decides to end things with him. Dylan is devastated and has a tough time following the break-up, but briefly reconciles with Brenda when he's injured and offered hospitality at the Walsh house. Brenda is adamant about her decision, though, and the couple does not get back together.[9]

Dylan is tempted to drink again and does so on a group camping trip where he is very mean to Brenda as he feels rejected by her, while she tries to reassure him that they can be friends and that she is there for him. Brenda doesn't know Dylan is drinking again, but Brandon helps out his friend and Dylan's drinking is abated.[10] Once the group starts up school again and enter their junior year, Dylan's attracted to a biker girl, who just transferred and they go on a date. Brenda is furious and lashes out at the girl for dating more than one guy. This provides a catalyst for Brenda to realise that she is still in love with Dylan and they get back together.[11]


The couple are happily reunited, but hit a snag when Dylan begins drinking upon his estranged mother's arrival in town, and Brandon reluctantly admits to Brenda that Dylan was drinking on their camping trip.[12] Brenda is frustrated and hurt that Dylan didn't confide in her, but adamant that she support and stand by him. Brenda also gives Iris McKay a talking to regarding her abandonment of her wayward son, and the two women eventually find common ground.


Brenda and Dylan continue their romance, with Dylan doing better and handling being a recovering alcoholic, with the support of Brenda and her family. They spend time hanging out with their friends and going to parties, like when Brenda's cousin visits[13] and even dress up together for Halloween, which is unusual for Dylan, who otherwise isn't much for group activities.[14] They support each other through Scott dying, when Brandon is drugged by Emily[15] and, worried, Dylan watches as Brenda is able to reach out to Emily and save Emily from herself when she is going through something.[16]


Bonnie & Clyde

Brenda suggests the two try to imbue their relationship with cultural exploits as she finds things are a little too focused on "one area" of their relationship and they attend classical violin concerts, as they share an interest in arts. Brenda supports Dylan when he decides to visit his father in prison at Christmas time, and Dylan's Dad encourages him to spend the holidays with Brenda, sensing that Dylan finally has someone who cares about him in his life.[17]


Valentine's Day 1992

Dylan supports Brenda when she gets in a minor accident with what turns out to be a con-woman.[18] At the same time he is somewhat flustered by her sudden salesperson enthusiasm[19] when Brenda starts working at a high end boutique. Although Brenda and Dylan share a deep, soulful connection it's much older than they, which comes to light in some of their conflicts. Brenda, being brave and open, wants to share the experience of her first time when sexual education is censored at West Beverly, but she doesn't ask Dylan, who feels his privacy would be invaded by the publication of such a personal account.[20] Dylan plans an incredibly romantic first Valentine's Day celebration for he and Brenda. They go to see a play but as the main event donate blood, which has Dylan open up and share why he got his scar.[21]


Dylan comforts Brenda

The return of alcoholic Sarah, who needs a friend and more emotional support than a teen is able to provide, has Dylan and Brenda temporarily feeling distanced from one another and drawn to other people, as Brenda flirts with a guy she meets in aerobics class. However uncertain it makes them feel about their future together[22], they stay close as Brenda faces PTSD after being held at gunpoint alone at the Peach Pit.[23]


don't dream it's over | CROWDED HOUSE
their very first kiss!
losing my religion | R.E.M.
Plays on the radio in Dylan's car when Brenda breaks up with him
wicked game | CHRIS ISAAK
Brenda and Dylan get back together


Brenda, I love it that you think. Not a lot of people do
—Dylan to Brenda[src]
BrendaDo you know how lucky I feel that I met someone like you?
DylanI feel lucky too
BrendaWhat we've got is much more than just physical
DylanBren, I'm not here because of that. I never was. I'm here because I love you
Your relationship with Dylan isn't over. This is just one moment in a very long lifetime
Iris to Brenda[src]
DylanI guess you just gotta find the right guy
BrendaWell I had the right guy. And I lost him
―Dylan and Brenda[src]
I've never really gotten over you, Dylan. How can I fall in love with someone else when I'm still in love with you?


  • Luke Perry's favourite couple on the series is Brenda and Dylan[24]
  • Shannen Doherty and Luke Perry never dated off-screen[25]
  • Showrunner for 4 seasons and Executive Producer Charles Rosin would, had he and the original writing team done the series finale, have had Brenda and Dylan end up together[26]
  • Executive Producer Charles Rosin said this in a 2010 interview regarding Brenda and Dylan's Season 2 break-up:
"90210 was a show that not only celebrated girl-empowerment but had this wonderful character named Brenda Walsh [Shannen Doherty] who represented the notion that a teenager could be sexually active and not be careless, but actually a role model. Unfortunately, my first set of network executives did not see the world as I did. Someday I will write a long article about the censorship that occurred after Brenda lost her virginity at the Spring Dance to her boyfriend (who had been AIDS tested) because she was happy and not full of remorse."[8]
  • In a 2012 interview with Glamour, Doherty had this to say about the love triangle:
"I actually remember getting that storyline and being incredibly upset about it. And it wasn't because Brenda was losing Dylan. I thought that it was really wrong that we were putting that out there, that we were saying, 'Yes, it's okay for a best friend to fall in love with her best friend's boyfriend and cheat with him.' Where's loyalty, where's friendship?"[27]


Brenda and Dylan/Gallery


Notes and references