Mischa Barton Opens Up About Being Sexualized At A Young Age & Feeling Pressured To Lose Her Virginity

Mischa Barton got candid about difficulties growing up as a young actress.

The 35-year-old recently spoke with Harper’s Bazaar U.K. about her rise to fame, including the long period of time where she was sexualized at a very young age:

“My film debut, Lawn Dogs, explored themes of child molestation, and — while the crew did everything to ensure that I wasn’t exposed to the realities of what all that meant — when I did press for the film, it became clear that it was very mature content.”

It didn’t end there, as she went on to experience other mature themes in films she did as an early teen, recalling:

“Two years later, I did Pups with Burt Reynolds. Lead roles in coming-of-age films are always directly tied to sex and sexuality, and this was a prime example. It was for Pups that I had my first kiss on screen and in real life, in front of an entire crew. My character had her first period in one scene, something I hadn’t even experienced in life yet. The movie blew up in Asia, and I became a strange sex symbol over there. I was 13.”

What the actual f**k?! No matter your opinions on Mischa, you cannot deny how messed up and disgusting it was for her to be recognized as a “sex symbol” at such a young age. She was literally just starting her teenage years. And unfortunately, it only seemed to have grown worse for the celeb as time went on.

The Hills: New Beginnings star went on to share how she felt pressured to have sex for the first time while playing the role of Marissa Cooper on The O.C., saying:

“Even being a virgin at the time in that context made me feel like a fraud. Here, I was playing a confident character who was fast and loose, and yet I was still a virgin.”

While she ended up losing her virginity, Mischa didn’t considered it to be such a great experience, expressing:

“The kids in the show were quintessential rich, privileged American teenagers drinking, taking drugs, and of course having sex. I knew it was important to get this thing — my virginity — that was looming over me, the elephant in the room if you will, out of the way. I started to really worry that I couldn’t play this character if I didn’t hurry up and mature a little. Did I ever feel pressured to have sex with someone? Well, after being pursued by older men in their 30s, I eventually did the deed.”

Barton even admitted to feeling “a little guilty because I let it happen. I felt so much pressure to have sex, not just from him, but society in general.”


Of course, the fame stemming from the popular teen drama also meant dealing with constant harassment from the paparazzi — something she attempted to avoid as much as possible with little to no success. And the more Barton tried to steer clear of them at the time, the more the paps swarmed her everyday life, explaining:

“I didn’t want to leave the house. But even if I had wanted to, it wouldn’t have been safe because of the dangerous situations that the paparazzi created. They chased my car. They tried to climb over the walls to my house. They’d track my phone and my car. They’d make deals with restaurants so that when I went to one, someone would notify them. They’d buy cell phones for the homeless, instructing them to call as soon as they saw me walking down the street. I was stalked. They’d shoot directly into my home to the extent where I couldn’t even open my blinds. It was lockdown before there was a name for it.”

We can’t even imagine living like that, but it’s, unfortunately, the price you tend to pay as a celeb. Years later, the London native confessed how the time still deeply affects her mental health:

“What happened gave me PTSD. In the years afterwards, cameras would bother me; any noises that sounded like a shutter would give me a panic attack and make me extremely paranoid. I‘d have full-blown panic attacks. I went to very dark places.”

While she didn’t add more details about those “dark places,” we can assume she was talking about the time where Barton was arrested for a DUI in 2007 and placed on a 5150 psychiatric hold two years later. Either way, it sounded like an extremely difficult period for the reality star.

What are your thoughts on Mischa’s candid discussion about sexualization and growing up in the industry? Let us know in the comments (below). And if you’d like, take a look at the entire Harper’s Bazaar article HERE!

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