Barton, who played Marissa Cooper on the early 2000s Fox drama, revealed in a May 14 E! News interview that “working the longest hours,” Bilson being added to the show “last minute,” bullying, and “invasion” of her personal life were what led to her character being killed off in Season 3 so she could leave the show.
“I look back on it pretty fondly, but there’s stuff I think people did wrong and the way they handled it. So, I just didn’t feel I could keep going,” Barton said.
Bilson and Clarke responded to the interview during a Tuesday episode of their podcast “Welcome to the O.C., Bitches.”
“Melinda and I were talking immediately after (the interview) came out and we were like ‘Wait, what?’ ” said Bilson, who played Summer Roberts in the series.
Clarke, who played Julie Cooper, said she agreed that Barton was under “an enormous amount of pressure” in her role as Marissa but that other comments from Barton were “perplexing.” Bilson said some of the things Barton said were “completely false.”
“In one of her first comments she says that I was added last minute after the first season, which is actually completely false,” Bilson said. “I was like ‘Well, that’s misinformation.’ Where are we going with this and what is she trying to say?”
Both Clarke and Bilson said they are open to conversation with Barton to learn more, especially while the public is learning more more about the “scrutiny” celebrities like Barton and Britney Spears were under in the early 2000s.
“If she wants to come and talk to us and share her story, we would love to explore that. I think it’s something that we are all becoming aware of and it’s important for us to learn in our culture what can be very damaging to young people,” Clarke said.