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Mischa Barton Dated Ben McKenzie When She Was 17, He Was 25

The OC star, now 38, reflected on her time on the hit 2000s show during the podcast conversation. Mischa, who portrayed Marissa Cooper on The OC from 2003 to 2007, delved into her on-screen romance with Ben McKenzie’s character, Ryan Atwood.

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Mischa Barton Dated Ben McKenzie When She Was 17, He Was 25

Mischa Barton revealed on the Call Her Daddy podcast that she dated her co-star Ben McKenzie despite their significant age gap.

The OC star, now 38, reflected on her time on the hit 2000s show during the podcast conversation. Mischa, who portrayed Marissa Cooper on The OC from 2003 to 2007, delved into her on-screen romance with Ben McKenzie’s character, Ryan Atwood.

Host Alex Cooper initiated the discussion by acknowledging Mischa’s on-screen relationship with Ben McKenzie and the age difference between them during the show’s airing. Mischa disclosed that their connection extended beyond the screen and became complex for her.

Entering the show as a teenager, Mischa felt the need to mature quickly amidst her time on The OC. She confessed that Ben McKenzie was her first real-life romantic interest, which caused some stir among the production team due to their age difference.

Mischa recounted how their relationship raised eyebrows on set, with concerns about her age and their involvement surfacing among producers and her parents. Fans, too, expressed dismay over the situation on social media platforms like Twitter, criticizing Ben for dating Mischa when she was a teenager and he was an adult.

Despite the controversies surrounding their relationship, most of the cast from The OC maintained amicable relationships with each other. However, Mischa’s recent comments about her departure from the show raised eyebrows, particularly Rachel Bilson’s.

In a 2022 interview with E! News, Mischa attributed her exit from The OC to the addition of Rachel Bilson’s character and alleged mistreatment by some male cast members. Rachel and Melinda Clarke, another cast member, were taken aback by Mischa’s claims and expressed a desire to understand her perspective better.

Rachel refuted Mischa’s assertion that she was added to the cast at the last minute and emphasized the need for clarification and open dialogue. She and Melinda expressed willingness to invite Mischa onto their podcast to discuss her experiences further.

While Mischa hinted at being bullied by some of the men on The OC, Rachel disagreed with her characterization of the set environment. Alongside Mischa, Ben McKenzie, Rachel Bilson, and other cast members like Adam Brody, Peter Gallagher, Tate Donovan, and Chris Carmack, The OC remains a significant part of television history.

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