Mischa Barton Confirms Previous Relationship With The O.C. Co-Star

"We threw ourselves all into it very fast," Mischa said of the "complicated" romance.
Mischa Barton in 2019
Mischa Barton in 2019
Paul Archuleta via Getty Images

Mischa Barton has confirmed that she once dated co-star Ben McKenzie during their time working together on The O.C.

Although Mischa and Ben always shut down speculation that they were an item while working together on the noughties teen drama, she confirmed they were briefly together in an interview on the Call Her Daddy podcast.

Reflecting on the “complicated” relationship, she explained: “We threw ourselves all into it very fast, and then you know when you break up, and things don’t work and they see you dating different people. Notoriously there was a lot of inter-dating on that show.

“It was definitely tricky that it happened, like, right out of the gate.”

Mischa confirmed her relationship with Ben, who is around seven years her senior, began when she was still 17.

Benjamin McKenzie and Mischa Barton in 2003
Benjamin McKenzie and Mischa Barton in 2003
Albert L. Ortega via Getty Images

She added that the age gap between herself and Ben was a concern of producers, who even “went to my parents”, which she described as “kind of a whole ordeal”.

Elsewhere in the interview, Mischa recalled feeling intimidated when she first met her co-stars, as the youngest member of the cast.

I went into [The O.C.] a virgin, a kid, really feeling like I needed to grow up quickly,” she said.

“Acting with people older than me was a bit like, ‘Oh wow. They know what they’re doing. And there’s gonna be relationships on this show and you’re gonna need to play that part’, and I didn’t feel really ready for that because I was always a really late bloomer in school and I hadn’t really dated.”

Mischa at the Emmys in 2004
Mischa at the Emmys in 2004
Carlo Allegri via Getty Images

Mischa eventually left The O.C. at the end of season three, when her character, Marissa Cooper, was killed off.

As part of an oral history of The O.C. published in Vanity Fair last year, members of the cast and crew said it was “not a secret” that Mischa had wanted to leave the show going into the third season.

Many also reflected on Mischa’s celebrity status and the media’s treatment of her at the height of the show’s success.

In recent history, the British-born American star appeared as part of the cast of the reality show The Hills: New Beginnings, as well as joining the 2023 revival of Neighbours.


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