'The O.C.': Mischa Barton Reunites With Her On-Screen Parents Melinda Clarke and Tate Donovan

The O.C. alum Mischa Barton reunited with her onscreen parents recently in Charleston, South Carolina. Barton joined Melinda Clarke and Tate Donovan, who portrayed Marissa Cooper's parents Julie and Jimmy in the 2003 teen soap opera, at Ep-ix and Chill. It was a major fan convention that brought together stars of other popular series from the time, including Teen Wolf, Gilmore Girls, and Charmed. Many participated in specialized curated panels. Clarke shared a selfie on Instagram, captioning the photo: "SO THIS HAPPENED! Cooper family reunion! Warmed my heart to see these two." Barton also shared a candid moment to her Instagram Story, which included the group running into Gossip Girl alums Chace Crawford and Jessica Szohr. "It was truly great to catch up with mom and dad," Barton wrote atop the photo.

It was a big reunion, being Barton's first major reunion with her former co-stars since the series ended in 2007. It ran for four seasons. A series favorite, Marissa Cooper was notoriously killed off in the season 3 finale amid a fiery car crash. Barton addressed her departure from the series in an interview in 2021, admitting that she felt relief because of a complex working environment.

"It's a bit complicated," she told E! News at the time. "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 sh---y."

She added: "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."

The O.C. followed Ryan Atwood, a troubled and gifted young man from a broken home. Atwood is adopted by the wealthy and philanthropic Sandy and Kirsten Cohen. He and his foster brother Seth tackle life as outsiders in the high-class world of Newport Beach and spend much time with Marissa Cooper, Seth's childhood crush Summer Roberts.