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Image / Living / Culture

We finally know the reasons why Mischa Barton REALLY left The O.C.


by Jennifer McShane
02nd Jun 2021
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But, it's all a bit confusing because her former co-stars have their own thoughts on it.

Viewers will remember feeling surprised when after three seasons on the US teen drama, Barton’s character from 2003 to 2006, Marissa Cooper, was killed off in a fiery twist, whilst the actress herself said she felt “very unprotected” behind the scenes, leading her to want to leave the show. Prior to now, her exact reasons for departing have always been rather vague.

“It started pretty early on because it had a lot to do with them adding Rachel [Bilson] in last minute as, after the first season, a series regular and evening out everybody’s pay – and sort of general bullying from some of the men on set that kind of felt really shitty,” she told E!

“But, I also loved the show and had to build up my own walls and ways of getting around dealing with that and the fame that was thrust specifically at me.”

“Just dealing with like the amount of invasion I was having in my personal life, I just felt very unprotected, I guess is the best way to put it.”

“I was working so hard, the longest hours probably out of all the characters,” she continued.

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“So halfway through season two, I would say, when we started doubling up on episodes and shooting [became] so much harder, and again a lot of that was too much for me.

“I’ve always felt ashamed in a way to really talk about what went on behind the scenes because I’ve always been a very private person and very aware of people’s feelings.”

“I didn’t know where the character was going. I look back on it pretty fondly, but there’s stuff I think people did wrong and the way they handled it. So, I just didn’t feel I could keep going.”

The response

Now, The OC‘s Rachel Bilson and Melinda Clarke have addressed Barton’s comments during the latest episode of the Welcome to The OC, Bitches! podcast.

“The one thing going into this podcast – and Rachel and I discussed this – I can tell you about my experience with total honesty and transparency, I cannot speak for somebody else’s experience,” Clarke began.

“It kind of breaks my heart a little to know – we knew there was a lot of pressure on her – but if it was really that bad of an experience, that’s not right for any young person. But some of the comments were very perplexing to me, so I don’t know what the truth is about that. I do know that, yes, this was an enormous amount of pressure.”

“I’m definitely pretty confused by most of it and I don’t know who she’s referring to,” Bilson added.

“I didn’t personally witness any of that… because I didn’t see it myself. I would actually like to talk to her and find out what her experience was from her perspective. I saw things a little differently, I guess.”