The O.C. star Mischa Barton finally shared more details about her departure from the beloved show, accusing some of the men on the set of "general bullying" during production, in an interview last month. Now, weeks later, an anonymous source is claiming that Barton herself was a "nightmare" on the set and was often late to filming. In response to the new allegations, Barton said that her own tardiness didn't "excuse certain behavior" from powerful individuals on the show.
Barton, 35, starred on the first three seasons of the Fox show, playing Marissa Cooper. At the end of the third season, her character was killed in a car accident. After the episode aired in 2006, the then-20-year-old Barton said her character had "been through so, so much and there's really nothing more left for her to do." In 2017, creator Josh Schwartz told the Daily Beast that Barton was not "actively" looking to leave the show.
On the 15th anniversary of Marissa's death, Barton decided now was the time to speak out. In an interview with E! News published on May 18, Barton said her departure came after a "complicated" sequence of events. "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—ty," Barton explained.
However, Barton said she "also loved the show," so she "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." Barton went on to say that she worked "the longest hours" compared to the other actors. She noted how hard it was to play Marissa because the character was the opposite of her own personality.
Almost three weeks after Barton's interview with E! News, an anonymous source told Page Six that Barton was a "nightmare" to work with. "So now she wants to go say that she was bullied," the source claimed. "It wasn't that she was bullied. People didn't appreciate waiting for hours for her to show up." The source accused Barton of having an "annoying" momager, adding, "It was a mess."
"There was a lot going on," Barton told Page Six in response. "Whether I was late or not doesn't excuse certain behavior from individuals in powerful positions. Everyone experiences things differently and where I acknowledge some of my past behavior may not have been helpful in certain instances, I will tell my truth when I feel ready."
Barton recently starred in The Hills: New Beginnings. Page Six's source claimed Barton was "definitely more mature" while filming the MTV series. The O.C. ran on Fox from 2003 to 2007 and is now available to stream on HBO Max.