Mischa Barton was living a charmed life. She was a young, beautiful, popular, rich TV star, and then all of a sudden, she went off the radar.
In a revealing interview with People magazine, Barton, who starred in popular teen drama, “The O.C.,” explained that the pressure of her hard-partying lifestyle became too much. In 2009, she was committed to a psychiatric ward after an alleged suicide threat.
She described the event as “a full-on breakdown.”
“It was terrifying,” Barton said. “Straight out of ‘Girl, Interrupted.’ Story of my life.”
So how did the life of such a promising star become so derailed?
Barton said she was totally unprepared for the pressure that would come with the fame of playing Marissa Cooper on “The O.C.” when she was just 16 years old.
“There were a lot of enablers around, people to make it all possible,” she said.
Not only was she partying hard, but she was working nonstop, too.
When she was a teenager, “everybody was depending on me,” Barton said, adding that she asked to get out of jobs all the time and was told she couldn’t.
The lifestyle caught up with her.
She was arrested in December 2007 and charged with D.U.I. and marijuana possession. After pleading no contest to the charges, Barton was sentenced to attend alcohol education classes, 36 months probation and a fine.
In 2009, when she was starring in “The Beautiful Life,” her parents staged an intervention. Barton told People that she took a prescribed Xanax to handle the anxiety and blacked out.
“I was never suicidal,” she told People. “I was just overworked and depressed. But one slip of the tongue in a heightened moment and you find yourself in that situation.”
Her hospital stay brought her increased media scrutiny.
She retreated from Hollywood, going first to London, and then to Paris, in order to heal. She gained weight, which got her more tabloid scrutiny.
“When you’re 16, you’re not what you are at 25. I was really young and just had not filled out at all,” Barton said of the changes in her body. “Not everybody stays the same body type. It was always ‘She’s too skinny, she must be sick.’ Then it was, ‘she’s too big.’ I was never the right weight.”
Barton, whom the People article described as having “now-healthy curves,” said she had to learn to ignore the mockery and stand up for herself.
The actress, now 27, said she’s learned a lot and plans to do things differently.
Now, she only drinks occasionally — a glass of wine at dinner. She works out and doesn’t deny herself food, and she’s happily single and focusing on herself, she told People.
“She was in a good place and felt it was a good time to talk about the things that she has learned through all of this,” said People magazine’s Raha Lewis.
Barton is making her comeback in Hollywood with new movie projects and a television pilot in the works.
“I needed to take this time for me,” Barton said. “I’ve learned a lot. I’m stronger now and excited for what’s ahead.”