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The OC Scandal! Mischa Barton Says She & Ben McKenzie Secretly Dated When She Was Underage!

Mischa Barton Says She & Ben McKenzie Secretly Dated When She Was Underage

The O.C. fans, prepare yourselves for a bombshell confession from Mischa Barton!

You may recall there were rumors that she and her co-star Ben McKenzie had dated when they were on the show together between 2003 and until Mischa left in 2006. The pair both denied the claims for years, with The Hills: New Beginnings alum even telling Cosmopolitan in 2004 that the rumors were “terribly weird.” Why? Because she was so young when she started on the show! Unlike the rest of the cast playing teens, she actually was a teen. And Ben, unlike TV boyfriend Ryan, was a grown man.

But now, the truth has come out, all thanks to Mischa. And the details are scandalous…

Related: Adam Brody Called Out For Bad Behavior On The O.C. — And He Responds!

During an interview on the Call Her Daddy podcast on Wednesday, she finally admitted their romance “wasn’t just on screen either.” Mischa and Ben secretly dated IRL during the early days of The O.C. But the huge problem with their relationship? She started it while she was underage, only 17 years old, while Ben was 25! Mischa recalled being a teenager while in an on-and-off-screen romance with the Gotham star:

“I went into that [show] a virgin, a kid. Acting with people older than me was a bit like, ‘Oh wow, they know what they’re doing. There’s going to be relationships on this show and you’re going to need to play that part.’ I didn’t feel really ready for that. I was always a really late bloomer in school, and I hadn’t really dated. I just had no idea what I was doing really. So, I felt like I needed to catch up.”

In fact, the 38-year-old former reality star says her relationship with Ben was her “first!” Oh, that makes it even ickier… Looking back on that time now, Mischa feels they got into an offscreen romance way too fast:

“I think that kind of set things off on the wrong foot too because it was like people hook up on these shows and, whatever, and these things happen, but we threw ourselves all into it very fast. Then when you break up and things don’t work, and they see you dating other people. Notoriously, there was a lot of dating on that show and different people getting together.”

Sounds like they both dated others on that set later, too. We wonder which other secret relationships will come to light…

Mischa pointed out this particular relationship was “tricky” for multiple reasons. First, it “happened right out of the gate.” Not only because she was a minor still (and Ben was NOT), but she felt “overwhelmed and not ready for any of that” back then. Plus, producers eventually caught wind of their romance and became concerned about the age gap. Yes, even in the early 2000s a 17-year-old dating a 25-year-old was known to be problematic! They even told Mischa’s parents about what was going on. She said:

“I remember they were like, ‘Mischa’s disappeared with Ben and like, she’s only 17-and-a-half, 18,’ The producers went to my parents. It was kind of a whole ordeal. That’s in the very beginning of the show before we’re even halfway through a season. There was a lot going on there. So much happened in three seasons.”


Ben has not responded to Mischa’s confession yet. What are your reactions to this bombshell, Perezcious readers? Sound OFF in the comments…

[Image via The O.C./Hulu]

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Feb 21, 2024 14:58pm PDT