Hilarie Burton Had to Fight for Sophia Bush Friendship on ‘One Tree Hill’: We Were the ‘Love Story of the Show’

Sticking together. Ever since One Tree Hill began in 2003, Hilarie Burton and Sophia Bush have been best friends. However, that didn’t always come easy.

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“I thought the story line between Peyton and Brooke was the love story of the show. The love stories with all the boys, those were fun, those were important, but Sophia and I had to fight for our own friendship,” the Rural Diaries author, 37, revealed on the Wednesday, May 6, episode of the “Chicks in the Office” podcast. “A lot of people wanted to pit us against each other. You know, it’s like, ‘Oh, Hilarie won’t do this, but Sophia will,’ and ‘She’s the pretty one,’ and ‘She’s the this one.’ There’s so much comparison that, as a young person, it’s hard to navigate.”

Hilarie Burton Had to Fight for Sophia Bush Friendship on 'One Tree Hill': We Were the 'Love Story of the Show'
Hilarie Burton and Sophia Bush. Dave Allocca/Starpix/Shutterstock

However, as time passed, she and the Chicago P.D. alum, 37, learned to shake that off. “She and I now can look back at it and be like, ‘All those bastards. No, no, no. We’re the love story,'” the White Collar alum said. “The female friendships were important on that show.”

Burton joined the series she was only 20 — Bush was seven days younger than her. “We literally turned 21 together, and just, like, had our first big break on this TV show and she and I hit it running,” she shared.

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While promoting her new memoir, she also reflected on some of her favorite and least favorite story lines that her character, Peyton Sawyer, was given. One that stood out in the negative column was the “psycho Derek” story, in which Peyton had a stalker who attacked her multiple times.

Hilarie Burton Had to Fight for Sophia Bush Friendship on 'One Tree Hill': We Were the 'Love Story of the Show'
Hilarie Burton and Sophia Bush. MediaPunch/Shutterstock; Jason Merritt/Radarpics/Shutterstock

“That story line is not one of my favorites. I remember being told as a young 24-year-old actress that, ‘The ratings and male viewership went up so much when you got punched in the face by a man,’ [and] ‘Boys like watching you get brutalized,'” the Friday Night In With the Morgans cohost recalled. “That was really upsetting to me that it was something that my bosses were celebrating. The actor that I was working with was so sensitive and so lovely and just a gentleman. So even when they brought him back to brutalize me all over again, I was just happy to see Matt [Barr].”

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Burton recently opened up about her decision to speak out against creator Mark Schwahn. In the wake of the #MeToo movement in 2019, she, Bush and 16 other women who worked on the drama accused Schwahn of sexual misconduct in an open letter. She also detailed her personal claims against him in an in-depth interview. Afterward, she feared she’d never work again.

“I have this bad habit of saying what I think and that’s not always well received. So yeah, I still think it,” she told Us Weekly exclusively. “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.'”

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