Mischa Barton Just Confirmed She Dated Her 'O.C.' Love Interest Ben McKenzie in Real Life

The actress just sat down with Alex Cooper of 'Call Her Daddy.'

Benjamin McKenzie and Mischa Barton during Premiere Party for New FOX Show "The OC" in Santa Monica, California, United States.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Mischa Barton just confirmed '00s rumors that she dated her The O.C. costar Ben McKenzie while they were filming the show. This romance mirrored the on-screen one between their characters Marissa Cooper and Ryan Atwood.

"Yeah, it wasn't just on-screen either," Barton revealed about the relationship during the latest episode of Call Her Daddy with Alex Cooper. She also stressed how strange that time was—especially considering she was 17, while McKenzie was 25.

"I mean, it was complicated for me, because like I said, I went into that like a virgin, like a kid, really feeling I needed to grow up quickly to portray... acting with people older than me was a bit like, 'Oh, wow. They know what they're doing, and there's going to be relationships on this show, and you're going to need to play that part,'" Barton explained, adding that she was a "late bloomer" and "hadn't really dated" until that point.

Benjamin McKenzie and Mischa Barton during The Cast of the Fox TV Series "The O.C." YM Cover Party at LQ in New York City, New York, United States.

The O.C. costars Mischa Barton and Ben McKenzie dating while filming the show.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The actress also said that dating McKenzie made things really complicated on set, both with him and with other members of the cast and crew.

"Yeah. I mean, that was my first... I had no idea what I was doing," she said.

"And I think that 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.

"And then when you break up and things don't work and they see you dating other people, and notoriously, there was a lot of inter-dating on that show, and different people getting together. But it definitely was tricky that it happened right out of the gate and that I felt overwhelmed and not ready for any of that."

The other two leads on the show—Rachel Bilson and Adam Brody—famously also dated during filming.

Adam Brody and Rachel Bilson during Premiere Party for New FOX Show "The OC" in Santa Monica, California, United States.

Adam Brody and Rachel Bilson also dated while filming The O.C.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

While speaking to Cooper, Barton also revealed that she's currently single, and that what she's looking for in a partner has changed over the years: She's now looking for someone she can be her whole self with, as opposed to her previous relationships, which she said were "so intense."

As for what she's working on these days, Barton is preparing to release a rom-com, which is the best news I've heard in ages. So happy for her! And for me!!!!

Iris Goldsztajn
Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Bustle and Shape. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.