Checking In on The O.C. Cast After Mischa Barton's Bombshell Revelations

In a recent E! News interview, Mischa Barton looked back at her role as Marissa Cooper and her departure from The O.C.. Scroll on to catch up with the rest of the show's stars.

By Elyse Dupre May 19, 2021 11:21 PMTags
Watch: Why Mischa Barton REALLY Left "The O.C."

It's been 15 years since fans said goodbye to Marissa Cooper on The O.C.

The character, played by Mischa Barton, was killed in the season three finale of the early 2000s series. Barton didn't really speak about her exit from the show. But in a recent interview with E! News, the 35-year-old actress addressed her departure. 

Barton said conversations about her leaving The O.C. "started pretty early on" after Rachel Bilson joined as a series regular, "evening out everybody's pay." She also cited "general bullying" from men she declined to identify by name.

"There were people on that set that were very mean to me," she later added. "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." 

It was halfway through season two—when the cast and crew "started doubling up on episodes and shooting [became] so much harder"—that Barton knew she couldn't continue.

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She said the producers gave her two choices: "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?" she recalled. "Or, we can kill your character off and you can go on with your career that you want and what you want to do?"

Ultimately, Barton decided to move on.

While Barton thought it was a "great ending" to Marissa's story, bidding farewell wasn't easy. "I was really sad I was going because that was like my family," she told E! News, "but there had also been some things that weren't so cool and I would be lying to say I wasn't a little bit relieved that I was going to extricate myself from that situation."

Warner Bros. TV declined E! News' request for comment and Fox did not respond.

To see how the rest of Barton's co-stars' lives have evolved, scroll on.

Ben McKenzie

After making white tanks and leather chokers trendy as Ryan Atwood, Ben McKenzie won critical praise for his role as an L.A. cop on Southland. He was then cast as the leading role, Commissioner Gordon, on Fox's Batman origin series Gotham. He's married to Deadpool actress Morena Baccarin, and they have two children together: Arthur and Frances. Baccarin is also mom to son Julius, who she shares with her ex Austin Chick.

Adam Brody

Adam Brody's iconic character Seth Cohen is responsible for many trends: Emo/Indie music's popularity (Death Cab For Cutie!) and ironic T-shirts, to name but a few. The actor has focused on feature films since the end of The O.C., appearing in Promising Young Woman, Shazam!, Scream 4, The Romantics, Jennifer's Body and The Oranges. He's also appeared on TV shows like StartUp. Brody is married to Gossip Girl star Leighton Meester and they have two kids.

Rachel Bilson

Originally slated to be a minor character, Summer Roberts' charm and wit won over viewers, as did her relationship with Seth (played by Rachel Bilson's former real-life beau Brody.) After the show, style icon Bilson continued to star on TV shows and played Zoe on the CW's Hart of Dixie. She's a proud mom to daughter Briar Rose Christensen, who she welcomed with ex Hayden Christensen.

Mischa Barton

Mischa Barton played Marissa Cooper for three seasons before the character's shocking and sad death in the third season's finale. Since The O.C., Barton has acted in movies like Starcrossed and starred on TV shows like The Hills: New Beginnings.

Peter Gallagher

Sandy Cohen is still considered one of the best TV dads ever: He surfed, he schmeared bagels every morning, he sang and he took a chance on Ryan when no one else would. Peter Gallagher went on to appear on a number of shows, including Covert Affairs, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Grace and Frankie and Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist. He's married to Paula Harwood, and they have two adult children: Kathryn Gallagher and James Gallagher.

Kelly Rowan

After playing Kirsten Cohen on The O.C., Kelly Rowan went on to star in other series, including Perception

Melinda Clarke

After playing Marissa's complicated mother Julie Cooper, Melinda Clarke took on the role as the villainous Amanda on the CW's Nikita. The actress also made a memorable turn as Matt (Zach Roerig) and Vicki's (O.C. guest star Kayla Ewell) mother on The Vampire Diaries and played the Devil's girlfriend on Reaper. What's more, she hosts a podcast with Bilson.

Autumn Reeser

Autumn Reeser played Taylor Townsend on The O.C. Over the years, the actress has starred on shows like Last Resort, The Arrangement and America 2.0. She has two kids, Dash and Finn, whom she welcomed with her ex Jesse Warren.

Willa Holland

After playing Kaitlin Cooper a.k.a. Mini Coop on The O.C., Willa Holland headed over to creator Josh Schwartz's other teen drama Gossip Girl to mess with Taylor Momsen as model Agnes. The actress then found herself back on the CW playing Oliver Queen's little sis on the network's hit series Arrow.

Amanda Righetti

 The former Mentalist star played Kirsten's little sis Hailey. She made a quick-but-memorable appearance at the end of Captain America: The First Avenger and appeared in shows like Colony. Amanda Righetti is mom to son Knox.

Paul Wesley

The Vampire Diaries' stud (he played brooding vamp Stefan Salvatore) is barely recognizable in his turn as bad boy Donnie a.k.a. the angry bus boy who shot Luke and delivered the infamous "Abercrombie and Bitch" diss. Paul Wesley also acted in shows like Everwood, American Dreams and Tell Me a Story.

Samaire Armstrong

Samaire Armstrong played Anna Stern, the comic book-reading, pixie-haired bestie of Seth. After leaving the series, the actress starred on shows like Dirty Sexy Money, The Mentalist and Resurrection. She is mom to son Calin.

Olivia Wilde

Olivia Wilde played Alex Kelly and kissed Barton in season two. After starring on House, Wilde found herself on the A-list thanks to roles in Tron, In Time and Cowboys & Aliens. She was in a relationship with Jason Sudeikis, and they welcomed two children together: Otis and Daisy. The stars broke up in 2020, and she is now dating Harry Styles. Wilde has also moved behind the camera, directing movies like Booksmart and Don't Worry Darling.

Cam Gigandet

Cam Gigandet's character Kevin Volchok is infamous in The O.C. universe. Why? Because he killed Marissa Cooper. The stud hit it big when he played the villain James in the first Twilight movie. He's since appeared in films such as The RoommateEasy A and Burlesque. He's also acted in shows like Reckless and Ice.

Nikki Reed

After making a name for herself with Thirteen, which she starred in and wrote, Nikki Reed played Sadie Campbell, a girlfriend of Ryan's, in season three of The O.C. She then played Rosalie in the Twilight series. She's married to Ian Somerhalder, and they're parents to daughter Bodhi.

Jackson Rathbone

Reed's Twilight sibling (who played tortured vamp Jasper Hale) starred as Justin, Kaitin's schoolmate from boarding school who accused her of stealing. Jackson Rathbone also acted in series like Aim High, Finding Carter and The Last Ship and appeared in movies like The Last Airbender. The actor is married to Sheila Hafsadi, and they have three kids: Presley, Monroe and Felix.

Taylor Handley

Taylor Handley played Oliver Trask on The O.C. Afterwards, the actor guest-starred on McKenzie's series Southland before taking on the role of Dennis Quaid's son on CBS' drama Vegas. He's set to appear in Mayor of Kingstown and is married to Audra Handley.

Chris Pratt

Chris Pratt scored big laughs as Summer's college friend Ché, an environmental activist. He also acted in shows like Parks and Recreation and starred in movies like Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World. He is married to Katherine Schwarzenegger, and they have a daughter named Lyla. He also shares a son named Jack with his ex Anna Faris.

Logan Marshall-Green

Logan Marshall-Green, who played Ryan's older brother Trey Atwood, and later went on to act in movies like Prometheus. He also appeared in a number of TV shows, including Shadowplay, Damnation and Dark Blue. He's also a photographer.

Michael Cassidy

Michael Cassidy's character Zach Stevens was Seth and Summer fans' enemy in season two after it was revealed he was dating Summer. (And he played water polo!) After the teen drama, he appeared on several shows, including SmallvillePrivileged, Men at Work and People on Earth.

Chris Brown

Chris Brown played Will Tutt, a geeky school friend of Kaitlin's in the show's fourth and final season. The singer continues to make music and is father to daughter Royalty and son Aeko.

AnnaLynne McCord

AnnaLynne McCord's nameless character had a small, but important role: She was the prom-goer Marissa caught her date Kevin Volchok hooking up with. The actress later went on to star as Naomi Clark in 90210 and appeared in movies like Excision.

Johnny Lewis

The late Johnny Lewis played Dennis "Chili" Childress before joining FX's hit show Sons of Anarchy. He died in 2012.

Kayla Ewell

Kayla Ewell's character was no fan of Marissa's thanks to her BF Johnny's interest in her. Ewell went on to play a troubled teen-turned-vamp on the CW's hit show The Vampire Diaries. The actress also appeared in The Bold and the Beautiful and Roswell, New Mexico. She's married to Tanner Novlan, and they're parents to daughter Poppy.

Shailene Woodley

The eventual Golden Globe nominee (for her work in The Descendants) got her start as the original Kaitlin Cooper (before the role was re-cast). After her ABC Family series The Secret Life of the American Teenager came to an end, Shailene Woodley played Mary Jane Watson in The Amazing Spider-Man's sequel opposite Andrew Garfield. She also starred in Divergent, The Fault in Our Stars and Big Little Lies. She's engaged to Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

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