Hilarie Burton Blames ‘The O.C.’ for ‘One Tree Hill’ Being So Sexy: ‘I Was Prude Growing Up’

Hilarie Burton is all about the feel-good movies these days! The actress, 36, joined this week’s “Watch With Us” podcast to talk all about her new Lifetime holiday movie, The Christmas Contract, which includes many of her One Tree Hill costars, including Robert BuckleyAntwon Tanner, Danneel Harris and Tyler Hilton. She also spoke to Us about the culture of the show, her early exit and keeping the Peyton legacy alive with conventions and cast friendships.

Lifetime's Leading Ladies

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Listen to the full podcast above, download for free here and get the highlights below.

Hilarie Burton
Hilarie Burton at The 2011 Olevolos Project Fundraiser at Le Cirque in New York City on May 21, 2011. Michael Stewart/WireImage


On filming The Christmas Contract three months after giving birth:
We have been together through thick and thin, good and bad, and I knew that if I was having a post-partum day that it would be Rob Buckley to buy me hotdogs and lift my spirits. Fortunately, there were no post-partum days, everything was really fun and really light-hearted, and I couldn’t have asked for more in my first job back.

'One Tree Hill' Cast, Then and Now

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On One Tree Hill being very sexy:
I blame all of that s—t on The O.C. That’s The O.C.‘s fault, because our show was not that at all when I signed up for it, and then The O.C. aired on Fox over the summer before any of our other shows aired, and it was sexy, and it was scandalous … And all of a sudden everyone was getting notes from the networks like, “Sex this up!” I was horrified. I was a prude growing up, so this new normal of no parents and teenage promiscuity, was just, I had the vapors the whole time. It was awful … I wasn’t allowed to watch Dawson’s Creek cause it was too salacious!

One Tree Hill Hilarie Burton
Tis the Season: A One Tree Hill Cast Reunion Courtesy of A&E

On keeping the legacy of the show alive, attending conventions, despite the toxic environment:
That’s me wanting to take ownership of my work back. I put a lot of effort into One Tree Hill, you know? After our first couple episodes we were supposed to be canceled because our numbers were awful … MTV was nice enough to step in and do a documentary about us and have us on TRL, and they really did a lot to promote us, and in turn we did a lot of extracurricular work. We did mall tours, we did big parties with corporate sponsors like Sunkist. We worked every weekend to make sure our show was gonna stay on the air. In leaving the show, I felt betrayed, because this thing I’d put so much love and energy into didn’t love me back, and that was really upsetting to me. … Going back and seeing everyone [at my first convention] was really wonderful. It was the best possible scenario, and I missed all those people. I missed the fun we had and getting to reclaim our life together and our work, and now work together in new capacities that we’re proud to talk about. That’s an important part of the healing process.

On getting over the teen drama hump:
I had a really wonderful mentor in Tiffani Thiessen, because when I went back to work after One Tree Hill, I went to work on White Collar, and talk about a girl’s girl and a wonderful powerful force. Tiffani and I had babies at the exact same time. She was back at work in no time. She is so kind and so outgoing and so generous, and I had talked to her about overcoming the whole teen drama thing. She was like, “The more you push against it the stupider you look. The more you embrace this thing that everyone else on the planet loves … You own it, you’re sincere about it. It has made your life special and wonderful, and it’s touched the lives of other people, so don’t ever deny that thing that you did that everyone wants to talk about.”

Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Hilarie Burton’s Best Quotes About Marriage and Family

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On watching her husband on The Walking Dead:
I love watching Jeffrey [Dean Morgan] in that show, because a behemoth like that is really difficult to enter into, especially if it’s been established after years. What I like that Jeffrey was able to do is go in there and go in really upbeat with a brand new cadence. It’s a sad show. It’s a depressing show. It’s a show about heartache and strife, and Negan just came in grinning from ear to ear and he plays a really good bad guy. I like watching him be a bad guy cause he’s so nice in real life. I mean, he’s like a sweetheart. I like watching him put that hat on.

Watch Burton in The Christmas Contract on Lifetime Thursday, November 22, at 8 p.m. ET. Directly following the film, Lifetime will air ‘Tis the Season: A One Tree Hill Cast Reunion.

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