- Sophia Bush said she and her costars didn’t want to “break hearts” talking about their “OTH” experiences.
- Bush and her costars now want young women to realize they deserve to work on positive sets.
- Bush said the trio felt a “cloud of excitement and happiness” reuniting onscreen in “Good Sam.”
Sophia Bush opened up to Variety about why she and other cast members stayed quiet about the negative experiences they had working on “One Tree Hill,” the teen drama that ran on the WB and The CW from 2003 to 2012.
“We were so scared to break hearts,” Bush said in a joint interview with Bethany Joy Lenz and Hilarie Burton Morgan, her former costars on the show. “This thing that people love so much, how could we taint it?”
In 2017, Bush, Burton, and Lenz were among the many women from the cast and crew of “One Tree Hill” to sign a letter in support of writer Audrey Wauchope (published by Variety), who had detailed her negative experiences working with the show’s creator, Mark Schwahn.
“Many of us were, to varying degrees, manipulated psychologically and emotionally,” the letter read in part. “More than one of us is still in treatment for post-traumatic stress.”
“Many of us were put in uncomfortable positions and had to swiftly learn to fight back, sometimes physically, because it was made clear to us that the supervisors in the room were not the protectors they were supposed to be,” he continued. “Many of us were spoken to in ways that ran the spectrum from deeply upsetting, to traumatizing, to downright illegal. And a few of us were put in positions where we felt physically unsafe.”
In the years since the open letter, Lenz, Burton Morgan, and Bush have teamed up on several projects after privately comparing their experiences on “One Tree Hill” and spending years being “scared” to work together again because their “time on ‘One Tree Hill’ was so tempestuous,” Lenz said in the Variety interview published on Wednesday.
First, they started the “One Tree Hill” rewatch podcast “Drama Queens,” in which they reflect on their positive and negative experiences filming the show in Wilmington, North Carolina.
“We’ve forged such a friendship and been able to, as a unit, reclaim so much of what was good and joyful about our first job together while taking out the respective trash,” Bush previously told Insider about recording the podcast with her friends in an interview about her partnership with Lenovo.
Burton Morgan told Variety that after waiting “a long time” for an apology from unnamed people who treated her badly on the show, “I don’t need the ‘I’m sorry.'”
“That silence has spoken for itself, and what we have is so much better than anything I could have expected that I feel very good about the position we’re in right now,” she added.
Bush said that doing the podcast has helped the former costars realize that for fans “it’s us inside of the show that they love,” including their characters and positive memories.
“We have a major vision for helping young kids, especially young women in this industry, be able to work in a creative environment where the younger ones don’t feel like they’re just sort of feral and left to their own devices on a set,” Lenz said.
The three actors reunited onscreen for the first time since season six of “One Tree Hill” (at which point Burton Morgan exited the show) on Wednesday’s episode of Bush’s CBS medical drama, “Good Sam.”
“There was I think pent-up excitement and decades of friendship energy that just came in with us in this cloud of excitement and happiness,” Bush told Variety of working with Lenz and Burton Morgan again.
“Good Sam” airs Wednesdays at 10 pm ET on CBS, and new episodes of the “Drama Queens” podcast are released on Mondays.