Mischa Barton is finally sharing the reason why she left “The O.C.”.
Talking to E! News, the actress, who starred as Marissa Cooper on the hit teen drama, explained why she exited the series during its peak popularity in 2006.
“The O.C.” viewers were shocked when Marissa was killed by a drunken Kevin Volchok (Cam Gigandet) after sending Ryan (Ben McKenzie) and Marissa’s car off the road.
Now, 15 years later, Barton is sharing her story.
“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,” she explained.
Adding, “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?”
Soon, the hours on set started taking their toll.
“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,” Barton said. “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.”
“The O.C.” continued for one more season following Marissa’s death. McKenzie, Adam Brody and Rachel Bilson also starred.