Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Whatever Happened To Mischa Barton From The O.C?

Mischa Barton was one of the breakout stars from the teen drama series "The O.C." The series, created by Josh Schwartz, ran for four seasons (2003-2007) on Fox. The show centers around Ryan Atwood (Ben McKenzie), a teenager from the wrong side of the tracks who moves in with the affluent Cohen family in Orange County, California. In addition to Barton, who played Marissa Cooper, the series' young cast members featured a handful of rising stars, including Adam Brody, Rachel Bilson, Chris Carmack, Autumn Reeser, and Willa Holland.

Barton's character, who embarks on an on-and-off-again relationship with Ryan, is a beautiful but troubled young girl who struggles with drug and alcohol abuse and depression. Viewers were shocked when Marissa died in a fiery car crash during the Season 3 finale. Barton seemed destined for bigger things despite her surprising exit from the series that turned her into a household name, but her career stalled. What is she doing now?

Mischa Barton starred in a series of forgettable films and a short-lived CW series

In a 2019 interview with The New York Times, Mischa Barton said she left "The O.C." because she "had a lot in my career I wanted to do and accomplish." As a central character, Barton found it difficult to pursue other roles. "I felt like things were really heavily reliant upon me, and I was getting no time to do any of the other offers that were out there." However, in May 2021, Barton told E! News that her departure was due in part to "general bullying from some of the men on set."

Following her exit from "The O.C.," Barton studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. Barton worked steadily from 2007 to 2018, appearing in TV movies and on the short-lived CW series "The Beautiful Life" about male and female models living together in New York City. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the 2009 series was canceled after two episodes due to low ratings. Barton also appeared in a string of forgettable feature films.

Mischa Barton was plagued with legal troubles

Mischa Barton became better known for her troubled personal life than her professional one. In December 2007, the actress was arrested for drunk driving, and according to the Los Angeles Times, police also found marijuana and an "undisclosed controlled substance" in her vehicle. In 2009, In 2013, Barton told People she was hospitalized, an involuntary hold at Cedars-Sinai psychiatric ward. Her recovery led to criticism about Barton's weight. " "It was always, 'She's too skinny, she must be sick. Then it was, 'She's too big.' I was never the right weight," she told People. In January 2017, Barton was hospitalized after someone reported the actress wandering around a West Hollywood neighborhood and behaving erratically, according to the Los Angeles Times.

More legal woes followed. In May of 2017, Barton began a lengthy court battle involving two ex-boyfriends over a sex video filmed without her consent by one man, with the other making copies with the intent of distributing them. "You cannot be too careful. Young women especially — truly anybody — and that was prior to the #MeToo thing, where now it's burst wide open," Barton told The New York Times.

Mischa Barton dabbled in fashion and dancing

Barton, who was a fixture on the cover of fashion magazines during her time on "The O.C.," became a style icon, and she parlayed that into a business in 2008 by starting a handbag line. She opened a London-based boutique in 2012, but both ventures proved unsuccessful. Barton struggled to keep the businesses afloat after a licensing partnership fell apart. Barton told The New York Times, "Retail is not exactly a cakewalk, so just taking care of the store and dealing with production, quality and employees ... Just the whole thing became overwhelming and beyond expensive."

In another career misstep, Barton signed on to appear on Season 22 of "Dancing with the Stars" in 2016. Her brief stint on the reality series proved to be another disappointment. Barton told The Ringer, "Ugh, I had no idea it would be so bad. I got told off by my dancer. I was supposed to control the costumes, I was told that I could do the design aspect of it, that's kind of the reason why I agreed to do it." Barton and her partner Artem Chigvintsev were eliminated in week two.

Mischa Barton joined the cast of The Hills: New Beginnings

In October 2019, Mischa Barton signed on to star in the MTV reality show "The Hills: New Beginnings," a reboot of "The Hills," which aired on the network for six seasons (2006-2010). "People seem to have always associated me with one thing, and I thought it would be a good opportunity for them to get to see the real me," Barton told The New York Times. She joined original cast members Spencer and Heidi Pratt, Audrina Patridge, Whitney Port, Stephanie Pratt, Justin Brescia, aka "Justin Bobby," and Brody Jenner. Barton failed to make much of a splash, and she didn't return for the show's second season.

In October 2021, Deadline reported Barton will play "aspiring detective" Miranda Green in the crime thriller "Invitation To A Murder." The plot involves a "reclusive billionaire" who invites "six seemingly random strangers to his island estate." When one of the guests is murdered, "Miranda must get to the bottom of the malicious plot behind the gathering to prove herself and maybe save her life," per Deadline.