Changing the course of her career. After speaking out against One Tree Hill creator Mark Schwahn, Hilarie Burton wasn’t sure she’d ever get cast again. Today, she still feels that way, she shares exclusively in the latest issue of Us Weekly.
“You Google my name and these stories come up. And for anybody that’s hiring, why would you hire me if you could hire someone that’s unproblematic?” Burton, 37, tells Us. “I have this bad habit of saying what I think and that’s not always well received. So yeah, I still think it. I hope that that’s not the case, but I don’t know. I don’t know how many jobs I’ve been up for that I didn’t get the call because they were like, ‘Hmm, that one. She’s trouble.'”
Burton left One Tree Hill in 2009 and in 2019, the former VJ and other former costars came forward and accused their then-boss of sexual harassment. He never spoke out about the claims and was later fired from his job as showrunner of E!’s The Royals.
“Mark could be incredibly malicious, and I was afraid to be the one to strike first,” she writes in her memoir, The Rural Diaries, recalling that after she told her story to Variety, other costars were going to tell theirs, but that didn’t happen. “Worse had happened to other women. When he tried to follow up with some of the others, they were reprimanded by their management firms, their publicists and their agents and told that doing this was career suicide. … I looked around at my life and thought, If I never work on another show or film, I’ll be OK. Mischief Farm was in the middle of its full autumn display, similar to the way it had looked when we’d seen it for the first time. This is real, I thought. This is who I am.”
The Virginia native has landed multiple roles since exiting the series — but only accepts jobs with people she knows.
“I would never sign up for a series with people that I don’t know because it’s like signing up for six-year marriage. And how do I know that you’re not a psycho? Or you don’t have a God complex? Or there’s not all sorts of layers of drama?” the Council of Dads actress says. “So every single job I’ve taken has been the result of a preexisting relationship and that’s worked for me. I think that’s a healthy way to handle our business. It’s a weird business, you know that.”
Now, she isn’t looking at roles with that as her focus “as opposed to the ambition angle, which is like, ‘I want to be a movie star,'” she shares. “I don’t want to be a movie star. I want to make nice things with people I love and it’s a different way to do it.”
In the book, Burton also detailed more about her experience on the set.
“I was the loudest and rough around the edges, and I feigned an ‘I don’t give a s—t ‘ attitude. But in the end, I was a young girl who wanted approval and was assaulted anyway,” she pens. “I never tried to tell the truth to the media after I left One Tree Hill because I believed it was a lost cause. And I was a coward. I had walked away from jobs I loved just to remove myself from toxic situations. I stopped auditioning. I abandoned my childhood dreams of being an actress because playing the game was simply not worth it to me.”
The Rural Diaries is available now.
For more from Burton, pick up the latest issue of Us Weekly.