If you were a fan of “The O.C.” and wondered why Mischa Barton’s character “Marissa Cooper” died tragically in season 3, 15 years ago, get ready for some sad answers. The actress who describes herself as a “very private person” is finally opening up the alleged bullying she endured on set. “I’ve always been a very private person and very aware of people’s feelings,” she told the outlet. “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.”
According to the actress, everything started when they added Rachel Bilson in “last-minute” after season 1 as a series regular, “evening out everybody’s pay.” Then there was “general bullying from some of the men on set,” that ”felt really s***ty” and left her feeling “unprotected.” “I just felt very unprotected, I guess is the best way to put it,” she said. “There were people on that set that were very mean to me. It wasn‘t, like, the most ideal environment for a young, sensitive girl who’s also been thrust into stardom to have to put up with.”
By the show‘s second season, Barton felt like she couldn’t keep going. The producers eventually gave her the choice to kill her character or leave the door open. “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?’” Barton explained. She, of course, decided to step away from the show. “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 said. Her character’s death lives on as one of the most shocking TV deaths of all time. In the season 3 finale, one of her ex-boyfriends drives her and “Ryan Atwood’s” car off the side of a road. Marissa is pulled from the wreckage but dies in Ryan’s arms. As for her male castmates, the show‘s cast included Peter Gallagher, Ben McKenzie, Adam Brody, Chris Carmack, Tate Donovan, and others.
Barton appeared on the 2019 “Hills” sequel but will not be back for season two which premieres on MTV Wednesday. Last week, Brody Jenner, the half-brother of Kendall and Kylie Jenner, showed just how ruthless cast-mates can be and took aim at the actress. He told The Daily News having her there was “sort of awkward.” “I personally love the new dynamic,” Jenner, 37, told the outlet. “No offense to Mischa, but we don’t really miss Mischa,” he added. “Bringing Mischa on, to begin with, was just, it was sort of awkward.”