Mischa Barton starred in the first three seasons of The O.C. ahead of when her character, Marissa Cooper, was killed off in the season three finale.
Now, the 35-year-old actress is speaking out about her decision to leave the show in an extensive and candid interview.
Click inside for what Mischa Barton revealed…
“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,” Mischa told E! News. “Now that we’re living in this era where we do speak out about our experiences and women do come clean about what was really going on behind the scenes and how they were treated, it’s a slightly different thing.”
She continued, “It’s a bit complicated. 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 s–tty. But, you know, 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.”
Mischa continued, “I was working so hard, the longest hours probably out of all the characters. It wasn’t an easy character for me to play because it wasn’t me, which is why I think people liked it or thought Marissa was funny and latched on to her. They felt like this is entertaining because she’s all over the place and who is this girl? It’s like because this New York girl was trying to play this ditzy L.A. rich kid, you know?”
“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 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,” she added.
Mischa then revealed, “This has been said before, but they kind of gave me an option. The producers were like, ‘Well, do you want your job and to sail off into the sunset and potentially you can come back in the future in some bizarre TV scenario or we can kill your character off and you can go on with your career that you want and what you want to do?’ I was getting offers from big films at the time and having to turn them down. I had always been supporting in The Sixth Sense and any of those things. My dream was to be offered those lead roles, so that’s what happened.”
She added, “It just felt like it was the best thing for me and my health and just in terms of not really feeling protected by my cast and crew at that point.”
She then commented on her character’s epic death scene, saying, “But I also do really love that she had this epic death and that it ended like that because it’s memorable and it’s not just another flash in the pan. People still come up to me to this day and they’re like, “I remember where I was when your character died!” And they’re still emotional about it, like it was really me. I think that that’s cool that people actually took something away from it. There were lessons to be learned from Marissa, for better or for worse.”
Finally, she added, “I was really sad I was going because that was like my family, but there had also been some things that weren’t so cool and I would be lying to say I wasn’t a little bit relieved that I was going to extricate myself from that situation. For whatever reasons, years later, certain people, when they see me from the show they are so excited to see me and they only remember the good times. So it’s a bit of a mixed bag how we all feel about it. I was young, but I was excited to try and get to do new stuff, too, and didn’t know if I could keep handling the stress of that environment that I was put in.”
The creator of the show recently revealed which actors were almost cast as the leads in the show.