Sophia Bush Says One Tree Hill Producers Exploited Her Breakup with Chad Michael Murray
"It was opportunistic and ugly and when you run a show, you're like a parent. You're supposed to protect your flock and it was the opposite of that," Sophia Bush alleged about the One Tree Hill producers
During an in-depth sit-down interview on Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast, the 36-year-old actress reflected on her breakup from her ex-husband and former costar — and alleged that producers on One Tree Hill exploited their broken relationship when the series was still on TV.
“The reason that I don’t talk about it A) is because everyone’s been 21 and stupid, but if you’re in our job, for some reason, people want to talk to you about like, when you’re fully-fledged adults who’ve done really amazing s— with your lives, they wanna talk to you about the dumb thing you did in college basically,” Bush explained. “Which doesn’t make sense to me, ’cause like, in any other realm, if a CEO is having a meeting, no one’s gonna ask about the time they went to a kegger in college.”
“What’s complex about this issue for me is that the person who I was 21 and stupid with is also an actor,” said Bush, who admitted that she was “a really naive kid.”
When Shepard said that oftentimes, people are motivated to like someone because the person is “alleviating” an insecurity, Bush admitted “I’m sure a lot of those kinds of feelings were at play.”
Said Bush, “Being a super nerdy kid and suddenly you’re on TV and all this stuff is happening and one of the cool people you work with thinks you’re awesome, there’s really base brain stuff there. I think that for me, it took me a long time to do the kind of inventory you’re talking about in the after effect. And I continued to be in a place of work with my ex.”
The entirety of the couple’s romance began and ended while on One Tree Hill: they met on the set of their WB show and began dating in 2003. In May 2004, the pair got engaged in Australia when Murray popped the question on a tennis court adorned with 20 bouquets of roses and 500 lit candles spelling out a special message for Bush.
In April 2005, Murray and Bush exchanged handwritten vows during their wedding at Santa Monica’s Hotel Casa Del Mar before 200 guests. But after five months of marriage, the costars separated in September of that same year. Their divorce was finalized in December 2006.
“There was no space to self-reflect,” Bush told Shepard of the breakup. “There was like, ‘This is my integrity, this is my job, I will not falter for one second or one minute ever on this set. I will be the most f—— professional person anyone has ever seen.”
While Bush attempted to maintain a professional posture while at work, she claims that producers fueled drama by running advertisements about her and Murray’s split.
She admitted that the producers were “really deeply inappropriate to both of us” about the breakup while on set. “They ran TV ads about it. It was really ugly.”
“They made practice of taking advantage of people’s personal lives and not just for me and for my ex — for other actors on the show who would share, like as you do when you get close to people, deeply personal things that were happening in their lives and they would wind up in storylines. It wasn’t okay,” she shared.
The actress further added that, “It was opportunistic and ugly and when you run a show, you’re like a parent. You’re supposed to protect your flock and it was the opposite of that. And I imagine that was hard for him as well. It was a very ugly situation on their part. I think they kind of lived for the drama.”
PEOPLE is out to The CW and Warner Bros. TV for comment.
Her comments come more than a year after One Tree Hill creator Mark Schwahn was accused of sexual harassment and physical and emotional manipulation by 18 female cast and crew members who worked on the hit CW show — including Bush.
The actress detailed her allegations on Andy Cohen‘s SiriusXM show, Andy Cohen Live, in June. “We’re not the only group of girls that’s ever had a boss who is a pig,” Bush said of Schwahn, who was subsequently fired from E! drama The Royals in December 2017 following a monthlong investigation into allegations of harassment. (Schwahn has never spoken about any of the allegations.)
Also during her interview with Cohen, Bush opened up about her short-lived marriage to Murray.
Said Cohen, “I mean you did the big, everything: you fell in love with your costar, then you get married. You got married after how long?”
“I don’t even know,” said the actress. “And it was not a thing I actually really wanted to do.”
Cohen pressed, “You didn’t want to get married?”
“Ladies have to learn how to take up space in the way that men are taught they are entitled to,” said Bush, who shared the advice she received from her best friend’s father.
“He looked at us about a year and a half ago and he was like, ‘My sweet, brilliant girls, you guys could run a nation, you run companies. … You are so smart that sometimes I’m amazed by you and you have to learn lessons so so the hard way. Why?’ And I was like, ‘Me me me me me!’ ” said Bush.