Ella was way to dedicated to family. Her family was messed up. And to like remarry the guy that she divorced for cheating on her... I don't understand her at all.
Holly talks about Ella

Holly Marie Combs portrays Ella Montgomery on Pretty Little Liars. She received star billing for the first three seasons. Since then (seasons 4-7), she is credited as a Special Guest Star each time she appears.


Holly Marie Combs was born on December 3, 1973, to Lauralei Combs (née Berckhem). Her mother was sixteen when Holly was born, while her father was only seventeen. Her parents married but divorced after just two years. While Combs was learning to walk, she hit her head on a marble table, resulting in a scar over her right eyebrow. Holly and her mother moved a lot, due to Lauralei's pursual of her own acting career. When Holly was seven, she and her mother moved to New York City, where they took-up a semi-permanent residence. When Holly was twelve, her mother remarried. In New York City, Holly attended Beekman Hill Elementary, then The Professional Children's School of Acting. In February 1993, Combs married Brian "Travis" Smith, but the marriage ended rather quickly in 1997.

Holly Marie Combs (left) as Piper in Charmed

In 1998, Holly was cast as Piper Halliwell, the timid middle-sister with the ability to freeze time, in the CW's adaptation of Charmed. She starred alongside Alyssa Milano (Phoebe Halliwell), Shannen Doherty (Prue Halliwell), and later Rose McGowan (Paige Matthews), who each portrayed one of her sisters. Her role as Piper earned her many acknowledgments, and her work as Piper is often praised. She maintained her role as Piper until the shows ending in 2006. Since the shows ending, Holly has participated in a number of cons, panels, and meet-and-greets, and has been open to the idea of reclaiming her role.

In 2004, Holly married Charmed key-grip David Donoho, on February 14th. They have three children together, Finley Arthur Donoho (born April 26, 2004), Riley Edward Donoho (born October 26, 2006) and Kelley James Donoho (born Tuesday, May 26, 2009). Holly filed for divorce from David Donoho in November 2011, citing irreconcilable differences. Additionally, she has smoked since she was fifteen, but only when she was nervous, though she finally quit when she was pregnant with her first son, Finley Arthur. Holly also has two younger half-sisters through her father.



Year Title Role Notes
1985 Walls of Glass Abby Hall Classmate
1988 Sweet Hearts Dance Dens Boon
1989 New York Stories Helena Costume Party Girl
1989 Born on the Fourth of July Jenny Turner
1991 Nobody Can Hear You Scream Melinda Ashwood
1992 Simple Men Kim Fields
1992 Dr. Giggles Jennifer Campbell Lead role
1992 Chain of Desire Diana Richards
1994 A Perfect Stranger Amanda Hale
1995 A Reason to Believe Sharon Digby Independent movie
1995 Evil in the Basement Karen Ford
1997 Love's Deadly Triangle: The Texas Cadet Murder Diane Zamora Lead role
2001 Ocean's Eleven Herself Cameo


Year Title Role Notes
1990 Guiding Light Louisa Young 2 episodes
1991–1994 As the World Turns Denise Jones 5 episodes
1992–1996 Picket Fences Kimberly Brock Main role (83 episodes)
1994 Island City Erin Sloan PTEN movie
1996 Sins of Silence Sophie DiMattio CBS movie (Lead role)
1997 Our Mother's Murder Alex Morell Lifetime movie (Lead role)
1997 Relativity Anne Pryce Episode: "Billable Hours" (1.14)
1998–2006 Charmed Piper Halliwell Lead role (179 episodes)
Producer (seasons 5–8)
2003 See Jane Date Natasha Nutley ABC Family movie (Main role)
2007 Panic Button Katherine Alden Lifetime movie (Lead role)
2010–2017 Pretty Little Liars Ella Montgomery Series regular: seasons 1–3
Special guest star: seasons 4–present
2014 Hell's Kitchen Herself / restaurant patron Episode: "15 Chefs Compete"
2015 Off the Map with Shannen & Holly Herself Great American Country reality series (6 episodes)


  • Holly was a producer and writer on the show, Charmed.
  • Holly's second pregnancy had to be hidden on Charmed, due to her character not being pregnant at the same time. However, her first pregnancy inspired the Chris-plot line.
  • She is a huge fan of horror movies and was excited to be in Pretty Little Liars for that reason.
  • She loves country music.
  • She is best friends with her former Charmed co-star, Shannen Doherty, and took the role of Charmed partially due to Shannen's involvement in the show.
    • Additionally, Piper (Holly) and Prue's (Shannen) closeness was inspired by the friendship between Shannen and Holly.
  • She has a scar on her right eyebrow from when she hit a marble table at the age of three.
  • Her favorite color is blue.
  • Her favorite books are The Garden of Eden (Ernest Hemingway) and Practical Magic (Alice Hoffman).
  • She is still very close to her on-screen daughter, Lucy Hale, and supports each of her current projects.


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