Mischa Barton Reveals She Dated Her ‘O.C.’ Co-Star Ben McKenzie: It Happened ‘Right Out of the Gate’

Feb 22, 2024 4:07 am | entertainment, News

Ben McKenzie and Mischa Barton


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Mischa Barton just confirmed that she dated her The O.C. co-star Ben McKenzie. Long after her character, Marissa, was shockingly killed off in season 3, the 38-year-old actress revealed that her and Ben’s characters’ relationship “wasn’t just onscreen.” Ben played Ryan in the series. 

While appearing on Alex Cooper’s “Call Her Daddy” podcast, Mischa explained how she felt about Marissa and Ryan’s relationship, considering their age gap. At the beginning of the series, Ben, now 45, was 25 years old, whereas Mischa was 17 when they both landed their roles. 

“It wasn’t just onscreen either,” Mischa noted, referring to Marissa and Ryan’s romance. “I mean, it was kind of complicated for me because, like I said, I went into that like a virgin, like a kid, like really feeling like I needed to grow up quickly to portray … acting with people older than me was a bit like, ‘Oh, wow. Like they know what they’re doing.’”

Mischa Barton and Ben McKenzie
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The Neighbours star also acknowledged that she didn’t “feel ready” to portray a character who has a serious romantic relationship. 

“There’s going to be relationships on this show, and you’re going to need to play that part,” Mischa began. “And I didn’t feel really ready for that because I was always a really late bloomer in school, and I hadn’t really dated, and I just had no idea what I was doing, really. I felt like I needed to catch up I think a lot of the time.”

After being asked whether she was romantically involved with anyone from the set, Mischa responded, “Yeah. I mean, that was my first … like, I had no idea like what I was doing, you know?” 

“And I think that kind of set things off on the wrong foot too because it was like, you know, people hook up on these shows and whatever and these things happen, but we threw ourselves all into it very fast,” Mischa continued. “And then, when you break up, and things don’t work and they see you dating other people. notoriously, there was a lot of inter-dating on that show and different people getting together, but it definitely was tricky that it happened like right out of the gate and that, like, I felt overwhelmed and not ready for any of that.” 

While recalling a moment when she was either 17 or 18 years old, producers approached Mischa’s parents after she and Ben vanished together. “It was kind of a whole ordeal,” Mischa pointed out. 

Up until now, Mischa and Ben did not confirm that they ever dated. Her latest interview is the first confirmation of their past relationship. 

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