Mischa Barton warns of dangers of teen stardom

WASHINGTON • Sitting down for an interview on Dr Phil on Monday, former child actress and The O.C. star Mischa Barton said she wanted to set the record straight about her life. The episode mostly served as a reminder of the dangers of becoming famous at a young age.

In the last decade since her character was killed off on the teen drama, The O.C., the 31-year-old has made headlines for excessive alcohol and drug use, a lawsuit against her mother-manager and a hospital visit in 2009.

Last month, she hired a lawyer after the Daily Mail reported that a sex tape featuring her was being shopped around to pornography sites.

Barton, who was 18 when The O.C. debuted, had a frenzied lifestyle that led to the breakdown in 2009.

As she told talk-show host Phil McGraw, she had barely any time off between acting and advertising jobs. Then, her team wanted her to star in a new television show (The Beautiful Life), she said, so it gave her prescription pills to help with exhaustion and anxiety.

However, she said, eventually her agents and parents became concerned about whether she was truly ready to star in another series and they forced her to go to the hospital.

Once there, she threatened suicide and doctors put her under an involuntary psychiatric hold.

She said she was not really suicidal. "I just didn't want to be there. Didn't think it was fair."

"Were there people medicating you to keep you working?" McGraw asked.

"Yes. Everybody was very concerned that I wasn't ready to jump back into a whole new show. And there was a lot of pressure to do right by the show and to helm a new series," Barton said, adding that she was given Xanax and other medications that were "not appropriate" for a 23-year-old.

"Again, I hate to disappoint. It's my least favourite thing. And I was very young... But an entire team of people felt that they knew best for me at that time."

When asked to name the biggest misconception about her, she reiterated that she is not the "spoilt rich girl" she played on The O.C.

In January, she was in the news when she was filmed by a neighbour as she hung off her fence of her West Hollywood home, yelling incoherently.

After she was taken to hospital for a mental evaluation and released, she said someone had slipped the drug GHB into her drink earlier that night.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 06, 2017, with the headline 'Mischa Barton warns of teen stardom'. Print Edition | Subscribe