Mischa Barton has Cooper family reunion with The O.C. parents Melinda Clarke and Tate Donovan
Welcome to South Carolina, bitch: The O.C. alum Mischa Barton reunited with her onscreen parents at a fan convention in Charleston.
The actress joined Melinda Clarke and Tate Donovan, who portrayed Marissa Cooper's parents Julie and Jimmy in the 2003 teen soap, at Ep-ix and Chill, a convention that brought together stars of other beloved teen titles like Teen Wolf, Gilmore Girls, and Charmed, for a panel on Sunday.
Clarke shared a selfie of the family reunion on Instagram. "SO THIS HAPPENED!" the fictional Cooper matriarch captioned the post. "Cooper family reunion! Warmed my heart to see these two."
Barton also shared a photo with her onscreen parents to her Instagram Story, which featured the group running into Gossip Girl alums Chace Crawford and Jessica Szohr.
"It was truly great to catch up with mom and dad," Barton wrote atop the photo.
Mischa Barton/Instagram Mischa Barton's IG Story post
The event marked Barton's first major reunion with her former costars since the series wrapped in 2007 after four seasons. A series staple, Marissa Cooper was notoriously killed off in the season 3 finale following a fiery car crash. Barton addressed her departure from the series last year, admitting that she felt some relief about her character's death due to the filming environment.
"It's a bit complicated," she told E! News of the conversations she had about leaving. "It started pretty early on because it had a lot to do with them adding Rachel [Bilson] in last minute as, after the first season, a series regular and evening out everybody's pay — and sort of general bullying from some of the men on set that kind of felt really sh---y."
"But, you know, I also loved the show and had to build up my own walls and ways of getting around dealing with that and the fame that was thrust specifically at me," Barton continued. "Just dealing with like the amount of invasion I was having in my personal life, I just felt very unprotected, I guess is the best way to put it."
Everett Mischa Barton and Melinda Clarke on 'The O.C.'
Clarke and Bilson, who portrayed Marissa's best friend Summer Roberts, addressed Barton's comments in an episode of their OC rewatch podcast Welcome to the O.C., Bitches! soon after, with Clarke expressing understanding of the pressures faced by her young costars. "Someone who's 16, 17, 18 — that amount of hours of work, pressure, at such a young age — at best you're exhausted, and at worst, it's overwhelming and chaotic," she said.
"It kind of breaks my heart a little to know that," Clarke continued. "We knew there's a lot of pressure on her, but if it was really that bad of an experience, that's not right for any young person. Some of the comments were very perplexing to me, so I don't know, I don't know what the truth is about that, but I do know that yes, this was an enormous amount of pressure — for everybody."
Bilson noted that her experiences on set were different from what Barton described. "I don't know who she's referring to, because I didn't personally witness any of that," she said of her former costar's remarks about meanness on set.
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