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The Untold Truth Of One Tree Hill

"One Tree Hill" was undoubtedly one of the most iconic teen drama series of its time. First airing in 2003, the series lasted a total of nine seasons, following the characters from their teen years until well into their adult lives. Audiences were along for the ride as each character gradually went from their teen love triangle phases to worrying about adult matters such as parenthood and career building. Plenty of audience members probably felt like they grew up alongside the fictional teens on the show. 

And while "One Tree Hill" will always be remembered as one of pop culture's most relevant teen shows, it also had its fair share of behind-the-scenes drama within the cast and crew. From marriages, divorces, tell-all books, inappropriate on-set culture, and "Tree Hill" podcasts, we've compiled the best and most unknown facts about this beloved series 10 years after it left the airwaves. Buckle up and get ready to dive into the drama that only "Tree Hill" can produce. As resident Tree Hill mom Karen says, "There's only one Tree Hill," and we are here to spill the tea.

Chad Michael Murray almost played Nathan

Series star Chad Michael Murray was well on his way to fame when he was cast in "One Tree Hill." The rising star had already appeared in big-time teen drama projects such as "Gilmore Girls," "Dawson's Creek," and "Freaky Friday." However, a little-known fact about Murray's casting is that he was originally eyed for the other lead male part on "One Tree Hill."

In Season 1 DVD set extra feature "The Making of One Tree Hill," producers said they initially wanted Murray for the role of Nathan Scott after his performances as "bad boy" characters in "Gilmore Girls" and "Dawson's Creek." But Murray had other plans. Once he read the script, he felt more connected to the role of Lucas Scott and petitioned to be cast as that character instead. In "The Making of One Tree Hill" Murray detailed how his life was very similar to Lucas' and he felt like he had the opportunity to deliver the truth underneath the story of his character. Because of his determination, Murray got the role and was the first person cast in the series.

Romance between The One Tree Hill and Supernatural cast

"One Tree Hill" is a show that details the love lives of each character. While the series showcases some pretty spicy romantic entanglements, the drama behind the scenes was just as exciting for the cast of "One Tree Hill" as well as another CW show, "Supernatural."

Danneel Harris (currently Danneel Ackles) joined the cast as Rachel Gatina in Seasons 2 and 3 of "One Tree Hill." While she quickly became a memorable character, it's her behind-the-scenes romance that makes her even more interesting. Harris met "Supernatural" actor Jensen Ackles after they co-starred together in "Ten Inch Hero" in 2007, and they got married in 2010 (via People). When Jensen Ackles was on "Supernatural," Jeffrey Dean Morgan played his father. Ackles introduced Morgan to Harris' co-star Hilarie Burton who portrayed Peyton on "One Tree Hill." The two hit it off, eventually had two children together and officially tied the knot in 2019 (via Entertainment Weekly). Morgan said in an interview with HuffPost Live, "I happened to be single and Jensen said, 'I've got a girl you should meet' and so I went to a bar and I met Hilarie at a bar with Jensen and Danneel and the rest is history."

Sophia Bush dated three of her co-stars

One star of the series who evidentially wasn't opposed to mixing business with pleasure was Brooke Davis' actress, Sophia Bush. As one of the breakout stars from "One Tree Hill," Bush's character became a fan favorite, with many viewers picking a side in the Brooke-Lucas-Peyton love triangle that became a staple romance of the show (via TV Line).

When Bush met co-star Chad Michael Murray, there seemed to be an instant connection. He proposed to her a year after they met on set, and the two got married in 2005. Unfortunately, their romance wasn't meant to be as they divorced just five months later (via US Weekly). Murray met Kenzie Dalton when she played an extra on the show in the same year and the two quickly began a relationship. Bush and Murray amicably shared the screen together a few years after their split, with Bush going on to date her other "Tree Hill" co-star James Lafferty who portrayed Nathan. While the two didn't publicly discuss the relationship, Murray did in an interview in 2008 (via US Weekly).

Sometime after Lafferty and Bush broke up, Bush's on-again-off-again guy Austin Nichols became her regular guy and joined the "One Tree Hill" cast for Season 6. Bush told E! News, "I think someone taking a job and moving their life across the country to show you how much they care is pretty much the most romantic gesture that a person could make." The two split in 2012 after the show wrapped.

The problematic behavior of creator Mark Schwahn

Hilarie Burton starred on "One Tree Hill" for six seasons before leaving. In 2017, she came out to discuss the inappropriate behavior she and many other female co-stars experienced at the hands of show creator Mark Schwahn.

Speaking to Variety, Burton said that by Season 3 of the show, Schwahn looked at her as his muse and began to sexualize her character. Burton explained that things only got worse. She recalled times that he would touch her inappropriately, was verbally abusive to the women on set, and would attempt to kiss her without consent. Other women spoke to Variety with claims of their own troubling experiences working with Schwahn.

Burton detailed some of her experiences in her book The Rural Diaries: Love, Livestock, and Big Life Lessons Down on Mischief Farm and in her podcast shared with former "Tree Hill" cast members called "The Drama Queens." She outlined how Schwahn would attempt to manipulate the female cast members against each other in order to keep them separated and create a toxic environment (via E! News).

Upon these allegations coming to light, Schwahn was suspended from his post-"One Tree" series, "The Royals" (via US Weekly). His IMDb cites no new projects as of 2018. 

One cast member was told to stay away from James Lafferty

More animosity brewed behind the scenes of "Tree Hill" when newcomer Jana Kramer was cast to play the role of Alex Dupré. Initially, the character was meant to be a romantic interest for Julian and to cause drama between him and Brooke. As the show continued, Alex became a main character with relationships and friendships of her own.

However, one character she didn't cross paths with often was James Lafferty's Nathan Scott. According to her, there's one big reason why. In her podcast "Whine Down with Jana Kramer," she said, "When I was on the show ... there was just some, not cattiness, but just, 'You can't talk to this person if you're friends with this person ... So I wasn't very close to James because of certain situations on the set at the time." She went on to say that one person in particular would make it "hell" if someone "chose the wrong friend," stating that anyone hanging out with the "wrong" people would be "destroyed." While she didn't name anyone in particular, clearly there was some untold drama that kept her far away from Lafferty (via E! News).

Bethany Joy Lenz had a major crush on her co-star

Bethany Joy Lenz, Sophia Bush, and Hilarie Burton created a podcast called "The Drama Queens" where they detail their lives, friendship, and talk about all things "One Tree Hill." In Episode 2, "Take Me to the Pilot," the ladies revealed Lenz had a secret crush on one of her Season 1 co-stars – none other than Craig Sheffer, who portrayed Uncle Keith. Sheffer's Keith was a fan favorite who many saw as the heart of the series for the first three seasons (via Life & Style). Sorry, Naley shippers — it seems like the true romance was between Haley and Keith.

The podcast explained that Lenz went for dinner with Sheffer and their other co-star Paul Johansson who portrayed Dan Scott on the show. During this meal, Johansson told Sheffer about Lenz's amorous admiration for him, and Lenz was understandably mortified. She's able to laugh about the incident now, but it's probably fair to assume that it took her a while to get to that peaceful place.

The original Haley

"The Drama Queens" podcast revealed plenty of behind-the-scenes trivia about "One Tree Hill," but one piece of information that might shock audiences is that Bethany Joy Lenz wasn't the original actress intended to play Haley. In fact, the character wasn't even supposed to be named Haley at all.

The podcast hosts Sophia Bush, Hilarie Burton, and Lenz explained that the character Haley was originally named Regan and portrayed by actress Samantha Shelton. However, once it was decided that the character later named Haley and Nathan were going to become a couple, production chose to recast Shelton as her chemistry with James Lafferty wasn't there. The podcast also details how the age difference between the two actors was a concern as Lafferty was only 18 years old when he was cast to play Nathan. Burton recalls thinking that Shelton was "so cool and so fun" but that things unfortunately just didn't work out. Once Lenz was cast, the show had to reshoot several scenes in order to include the character Haley in all places that Regan previously appeared.

Hilarie Burton started out as a host on MTV's Total Request Live

Prior to landing the role of Peyton on "One Tree Hill," Hilarie Burton was well known on television for a completely different reason. She started out as a host on MTV's "Total Request Live" (TRL) where she would often interview celebrities in front of a live audience.

Burton reposted a memory on Instagram about her hosting days. She captioned the video by saying that she discovered she would be given the opportunity to host during her college orientation. Burton has been known to repost memories to her social accounts about different times she hosted on MTV. She fondly looks back at these times, calling them "fun memories." To this day, Burton seems thankful for the opportunity, citing TODAY co-host Carson Daly for his major help with launching her career.

According to Yahoo News, the video she shared on Instagram documents a big break for Burton, as she went on to become a "TRL" VJ for MTV. This gave her a wide range of exposure and led to a guest appearance in "Dawson's Creek" starring alongside her future co-star Chad Michael Murray in Season 5, Episode 19.

Moira Kelly was pregnant in a surprising season

If you're a fan of "One Tree Hill" then you'll likely remember the storyline when Lucas' mother Karen gets pregnant with Keith's baby. After Keith's death, she gives birth to a little girl who she names Lily Roe Scott. What may surprise you about this storyline is that actress Moira Kelly wasn't pregnant during the filming of that season — she was pregnant during production of the show's first season.

The Season 1 DVD extra feature "The Making of One Tree Hill" revealed that Kelly was pregnant throughout the season, causing the writers to come up with colorful solutions to hide the pregnancy on camera. Kelly discovered she was pregnant after being cast and filming the pilot episode. Instead of trying to fit her pregnancy into the story, production did their best to conceal her baby bump for as long as possible. Once it was time for the baby to come, they wrote Karen out of the show for a few episodes by saying that she got accepted to a prestigious cooking school in Italy. Kelly returned to set once she delivered her baby and continued to work as a main character on the show for three more seasons.

Michael Jordan's interesting connection

"One Tree Hill" was set in the fictional town of Tree Hill, North Carolina. While the show was filmed in North Carolina, it was actually shot in the town of Wilmington. At its heart, the show is a tale of family, love, and basketball. For the first couple of seasons, the scenes in the shows high school gym held some of the most important moments for the characters.

What you might not know is that the gym is iconic for reasons entirely unrelated to the Tree Hill Ravens. According to Sole Collector, it's also the gym Michael Jordan played in during high school. The gym is in Emsley A. Laney High School in Wilmington where Jordan went to school and began his basketball career. In the summer of 1996, the gym was renamed the Michael J. Jordan Gymnasium to honor the accomplishments of their star player.

As "One Tree Hill" expanded, there was talk about building a gym for the cast and crew to shoot out of, but creators made the decision to stay where there were at Laney (via Star News Online). After all, they were filming in the gym that helped to foster one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Keeping the show where it was seems like kind of a no-brainer.