by Samantha Schnurr | Tue., May. 22, 2018 1:51 PM
Jessica Bielfamously played the daughter of a minister—a character that wasn't always easy to portray on-screen or off.
As the actress recalled during an interview on the Awards Chatter podcast, starring as Mary Camden throughout nine seasons of 7th Heaven had its limitations.
"I think I definitely sort of butted up against those limitations and those boundaries for a multitude of reasons. Because, yeah you know, you can only do so much with a particular character specifically on a show like that," she explained. "We really had to sort of stay in the boundaries of a somewhat religious family and teaching lessons, and when ya know you're 16, 14, 15, 16, you get to a point when you're like oh man, I just want to do something different. I just want to cut my hair, and I just want to dye it a different color and I can't do all these things because I have this contract."
The contract may have existed, but it ultimately didn't stop her. "I did cut my hair and I got in a lot of trouble for that," Biel remembered. "I had to apologize to everybody, which is sort of the theme of my experience on 7th Heaven. I was always apologizing."
However, in hindsight, their supposed bad behavior seems like nothing compared to today's Hollywood. "We were angels," she quipped. "We were really."
The CW, The WB
Biel famously faced her first scandal when she posed scantily clad for former men's magazine, Gear, when she was 17 years old. The pictures, released after her 18th birthday, were an immediate controversy.
"I certainly had to apologize to Aaron Spelling. I think my entire crew and cast were, needless to say, shocked," she recalled of the fallout. "The worst part was I had to go back to work. The thing comes out and literally I had to go back to work that next morning. Everybody was… they didn't know if they should look me in the eye and I was just a mess. I didn't…you're young. You don't mean to hurt people. You don't mean to do this."
A lesson, but not a calculated move to shift her public persona like some had speculated at the time.
"It definitely wasn't a calculated move on my part. I was not that smart to be making these calculated moves," she said with a laugh.
"I think I was 17, I'm a woman now, I'm a grown up now. I'm sexy, ya know, this type of vibe and honestly, it just went a little awry. It definitely never was meant to be some shocking, exposing situation and whether it was my own sort of ya know ability to try to be my own person by myself, ya know, confident woman. I said yes to things that probably I should've said no to. It was just one of those things that got out of hand."