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.