Rachel Bilson Reveals Rami Malek Asked Her to Delete Their High School Throwback Instagram Photo

Rachel Bilson is opening up about the time Rami Malek asked her to delete an old photo of him on social media. The O.C. alum told Dax Shepard and Monica Padman on their Armchair Expert podcast about the time she shared an old throwback photo of herself and Malek in high school to celebrate his success (and eventual Oscar nomination and win) with his performance as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. She captioned the February 2019 Instagram photo — which can be seen below — "Hey [Rami Malek] where'd you get that gold chain? #tbt #oscarworthy," but it didn't stay up for long.

"Rami was a good friend of mine," Bilson said during Monday's podcast, noting the two attended Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California. "We were in the same crew. We did The Crucible together senior year, we were the leads in it together. We kind of kept in contact a little bit." She continued to gush over Malek's talent, saying, "I had posted a throwback of us from our senior trip to New York/Broadway, we're super like nerdy ... it's the dorkiest picture of both of us, but I (posted it) because it's funny and I think it's so important to be able to make fun of yourself."

Bilson said she doesn't usually check her direct messages on Instagram, but after about a week noticed that Malek had messaged her. "It wasn't like, 'Hey, how are you?' It was straight to, 'I would really appreciate it if you take that down, I'm a very private person,'" she said. "I was like, 'Oh, s—!' I get really hot, I start sweating and I'm all nervous, like, 'What do I do?' He was a good friend, it's a funny picture … you know? I don't take myself that seriously."

She ultimately removed the photo from her Instagram feed and said she wrote Malek a "really nice message" apologizing and wishing him the best, but he never responded. "I was super bummed because he always so nice and we were good friends," Bilson explained. "I'm a big fan of not taking yourself seriously, especially at that level of fame and talent, but look, he wants to be super respected — it's his thing, so I respected it, I took it down. I was just a little bummed at how it was handled."

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Bilson said she later heard from Malek's stylist that he didn't approve of the photo because he didn't think he looked good in it. "She was like, 'Well, it's not a great picture of him.' OK, I'm sorry. We were 16!" Bilson said. "It was what it was. It was right before the Oscars, and I remember [The O.C. creator] Josh Schwartz being like, 'You did him dirty! He's about to be nominated.' And I'm like, 'What do you mean? This was my friend; it's a funny picture.'"