The Fox series ran from August 2003 to February 2007 and focused on the lives of affluent teenagers in Newport Beach, California. McKenzie (Ryan Atwood), Brody (Seth Cohen), Barton (Marissa Cooper), Bilson (Summer Roberts), Peter Gallagher (Sandy Cohen), Kelly Rowan (Kirsten Cohen) and Melinda Clarke (Julie Cooper) starred on the show.
The drama made headlines for its story lines on more than one occasion, but no one — casual viewer or longtime fan — can forget the death of Barton’s Marissa in season 3. “I just had a lot in my career that I wanted to do and accomplish,” the actress told The New York Times in May 2019. “I felt like things were really heavily reliant upon me, and I was getting no time to do any of the other offers that were out there.”
Barton, who claimed it was her idea to leave, added: “Making the show was a lot towards the end. I really feel like everything sort of worked out in the way it was probably supposed to. I may never have gotten a job or a career if I hadn’t just taken it then.”
The Dancing With the Stars alum further alleged that she pushed for her character’s controversial demise. “I fought tooth and nail for [the alternate ending in which Marissa moved] to not happen because I just don’t think that’s Marissa Cooper. I just don’t think sailing off into the sunset’s the proper goodbye,” she said. “She’s one of those burnout characters where I don’t know how much more we could have done with her anyway.”
While fans know what happened to Marissa, Bilson was only left to speculate as to Summer and Seth’s future. “Yeah, sure. Why not?” the Hart of Dixie alum exclusively told Us Weekly in December 2019 when asked if the couple would still be together. “You always want a happy ending.”
Scroll down to see what the cast of The O.C. has been up to since the iconic series ended.