Mischa Barton did not survive the ’00s unscathed.
The O.C. alum, 35, wrote an essay for Harper’s Bazaar U.K. about feeling pressured to lose her virginity and struggling a number of breakdowns as a younger star, which left her with PTSD. Barton — who just lately mentioned bullying led to her O.C. exit and opened up about relating to the Framing Britney Spears documentary, having been attacked within the media on the similar time — mentioned whereas she’s grateful for the alternatives Hollywood has given her, “they’ve come at a price.”
Quarantining amid the pandemic “introduced a contemporary life perspective and prompted me to replicate upon the trauma I’ve been so scared to communicate out about for a few years,” Barton wrote, saying she’s lengthy fearful about “backlash and sufferer blaming,” however that she will be able to longer keep silent.
Barton mentioned that whereas she beloved being a younger actress, beginning at age eight in an Off-Broadway play, “From a younger age, I used to be sexualized.” She pointed to her first movie, 1997’s Lawn Dogs, which “explored themes of kid molestation, and — whereas the crew did every thing to be sure that I wasn’t uncovered to the realities of what all that meant – once I did press for the movie, it grew to become clear that it was very mature content material.”
Two years later, she was in Pups with Burt Reynolds, and had “my first kiss on display and in actual life, in entrance of a complete crew. My character had her first interval in a single scene, one thing I hadn’t even skilled in life but. The film blew up in Asia, and I grew to become an odd intercourse image over there. I used to be 13.”
She went on to name the aughts “a loopy time” as a younger girl in Hollywood, which the Spears doc confirmed. Barton was solid as The O.C.’s Marissa Cooper at 18 — “and contemporary out of highschool. While everybody at my age was having fun with the carefreeness and untroubled pleasure of being an adolescent, I used to be working prolonged hours on set, continually pressured into assembly wants, calls for and targets set by individuals twice my age or older. I by no means had the choice to communicate up for myself. As an adolescent in an grownup world, I felt a perpetual worry that it’d backfire, turning my profession on its head.”
Barton made the purpose that even when she “discovered the braveness to open up a dialog about my experiences on set as a younger lady” simply final month, she was shut down once more and “publicly referred to as a ‘nightmare’ to work with,” by an unidentified set supply. “References have been made about my mom being ‘annoying’ just because she labored onerous to information and defend her youngster in a wild business. I used to be informed by many people that I wouldn’t have the option to hold working if my mom remained on my group, which led to extra sophisticated dynamics with my household through the years.”
But being Marissa was sophisticated for different causes, too. Barton mentioned being a virgin in actual life whereas “enjoying a assured character who was quick and unfastened,” led to her accelerating her intercourse life.
“The children within the present have been quintessential wealthy, privileged American youngsters ingesting, taking medication, and naturally having intercourse,” she mentioned. “I knew it was vital to get this factor — my virginity — that was looming over me, the elephant within the room if you’ll, out of the way in which. I began to actually fear that I couldn’t play this character if I didn’t hurry up and mature a bit. Did I ever really feel pressured to have intercourse with somebody? Well, after being pursued by older males of their 30s, I ultimately did the deed. I really feel a bit responsible as a result of I let it occur. I felt a lot stress to have intercourse, not simply from him, however society typically.”
It did not finish effectively. When she met somebody new and needed to “take away myself from the scenario, it created a poisonous and manipulative atmosphere. I felt managed inside an inch of my life.”
During her time on The O.C., Barton mentioned “no person was glad that there was a lot media consideration on me over different solid members.” Her co-stars, whereas not naming any particularly, “thought I used to be courting publicity… I wasn’t consideration looking for, however by that time it had begun to snowball.”
She tried “for a very long time to be unfamous,” she mentioned, however that labored in opposition to her, with the paparazzi turning into extra aggressive. It received to the purpose that she did not like leaving house. When she did, “They chased my automobile. They tried to climb over the partitions to my home. They’d observe my telephone and my automobile. They’d make offers with eating places in order that once I went to one, somebody would notify them. They’d purchase cell telephones for the homeless, instructing them to name as quickly as they noticed me strolling down the road. I used to be stalked. They’d shoot immediately into my house to the extent the place I couldn’t even open my blinds.”
That was only one half. Along with the pictures got here the hateful tales on superstar web sites and in tabloids. She mentioned, “It grew to become an excessive amount of to examine myself daily and to have these publications snicker at my ache.”
That was when her “psychological well being declined,” she wrote. “The fixed feeling of being hunted affected me solely. I had a couple of breakdowns,” together with in 2009 after a DUI arrest. “But nobody questioned why I used to be having these breakdowns. I grew to become a goal of nasty assaults once I was clearly expressing indicators for needing assist.”
Barton mentioned it led to PTSD. Like Prince Harry saying digicam flashes set off him, she mentioned that “any noises that appeared like a shutter would give me a panic assault and make me extraordinarily paranoid. I‘d have full blown panic assaults.”
As a outcome, “I went to very darkish locations,” she mentioned, including, “I‘m proud to say that I definitely am a survivor.”
Barton additionally wrote about coping with revenge porn in 2017
“I took my ex-partner to court docket for promoting a intercourse tape of me that he had recorded with out my consent whereas we have been collectively. The movies have been then supplied to the best bidder on-line,” she mentioned. “My thoughts had boggled once I heard he had mentioned, ‘I knew that she was one of many solely ladies, not like Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian, who didn’t have a intercourse tape.’ He then thought that he may surreptitiously file all our intimate moments, even covertly filming me within the bathe. With the assistance of an unbelievable lawyer, to whom I owe so much, we received the case and stopped the movies being bought.”
Today, Barton has “lastly learnt what it means to be in charge of my very own sexuality. I’ve grown to love watching girls break by these taboos. The extra we discuss what we’ve completed to generations previous, whether or not or not it’s Britney Spears, who was so poorly handled by the press, or Natalie Portman speaking about how she felt overly sexualized as a toddler, the earlier we are able to defend our younger girls and study from our errors as a society.”
Barton’s interview final month with E! about “bullying” from males on The O.C. set drew backlash, however she mentioned it isn’t going to silence her.
“I notice that these are very sophisticated conversations to have, with repercussions for many individuals however I can’t sit again and let individuals tear me down anymore,” she concluded. “I’m not only a headline, I’m a girl, a human being and I’ve a narrative to inform. I can’t keep quiet anymore, as a result of these items are nonetheless occurring — the exploitation of younger ladies, to individuals of shade, to all girls, sexualized whereas being picked aside and shamed for being alive in their very own our bodies. If my story may help even one younger lady arise for herself and never let the world tear them down, then all of this will probably be price it.”
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