Hilarie Burton Remembers Crying in Her Trailer Over One Tree Hill Sex Scene

One Tree Hill's Hilarie Burton remembers the "inappropriate" sex scene with Chad Michael Murray that left her feeling shaken.

By Cydney Contreras Aug 09, 2021 11:03 PMTags
Watch: From "One Tree Hill" to "Everyone Is Doing Great"

Hilarie Burton continues to open up about her experience on the One Tree Hill set.

In the Monday, Aug. 9 episode of the Drama Queens podcast, the 39-year-old actress recalled filming one of her first sex scenes with onscreen love interest Lucas (Chad Michael Murray), describing the "inappropriate" experience to co-hosts Sophia Bush and Bethany Joy Lenz. As she remembers, the particular moment required Peyton to plant kisses "all the way down his body" before taking off Lucas' belt.

Watching the show back, Hilarie said she thought it was enough for their characters to just "open-mouth kiss," but she felt like she "couldn't question it" and went through with the scene as it was written.

"Chad was cool to leave a white tank top on underneath his button-up shirt so I wasn't just kissing his bare body because that's weird," she explained. "We'd all known each other for a couple of months, a couple of weeks? … I was so whacked out about it you guys. They wanted me kissing all the way down his body, down to his belt. I don't know that you see it, but I had to undo his belt."

One Tree Hill: Where Are They Now?

She said that the director knew she was "very concerned" with the sexual nature of the scene and had told him she'd do "three takes max," something Hilarie laughs at because she imagines she looked like a "little monster" making demands.

The WB/Timothy White

Ultimately, she went back to hair and makeup and spoke to her manager about her discomfort. "I was, like, crying in my trailer. I'm like, ‘I don't want to do this. It feels dirty. It feels like they're trying to sex everything up,'" the mother of two described.

Sophia said she agreed, that it felt like the writers "turned it up to a 10 out of nowhere."

"I felt like a prostitute. It was the first moment that I was, like, ‘I'm kissing someone for money. I'm getting paid to do this, like, performative [thing]'," Hilarie explained. "There's a morality thing where you're like, ‘Am I a sex worker in a way? Is this OnlyFans in 2003?'"

Hilarie mustered up the courage to go back on set after her hairdressers and makeup artists took a shot of grapefruit vodka with her, and she recalled on the podcast how this moment made her realize she wasn't alone. "All the women in the trailer got together and they're like, ‘You may feel like you're in this all by yourself, but we are here. We are standing right behind the monitor. Cheers to you being a badass, kiddo,'" Hilarie shared. "It was such a moment of sisterhood that really solidified my friendships behind the camera, because I knew that we were going to continue to do stuff that felt weird."

Sophia Bush instagram

Sophia said she always felt "so grateful" to have the support of the behind-the-scenes crew, because she "struggled" with her character Brooke being a "mean girl." 

After the podcast aired, Hilarie took to Twitter to discuss the questions raised by her experience. "It's a real question I still have," she wrote. "What is the difference between sex workers (whom are wrongfully vilified in our culture) and the moms who join OnlyFans to pay the bills , and ACTORS who win awards in jobs that require performative sex acts? We're all strippers, babe!"

The female cast-members previously spoke out about their experience on the set of the show, including the hyper-sexualization of their teen characters.

In March, Hilarie expressed that while she loves One Tree Hill, she wonders what it would've been like to have a larger female presence guiding them through all nine seasons. "Teen girl sexuality was a cornerstone of #oth so its gross to me that there were no women in positions of power there," she wrote at the time. "No one we could turn to advocate for us. Men telling the stories of girl sexuality is a red flag. I want a do-over with a girl boss."

One Tree Hill showrunner Mark Schwahn was previously accused of sexual harassment by 18 One Tree Hill cast and crew members in 2017. He has not addressed the allegations since numerous women came forward that fall.