'The O.C.' Cast: Where Are They Now?

The words "Welcome to the O.C., b----" lifted the curtain on the elusive world of the West Coast elite, where barely-there designer bikinis were the dress code and drama was always on the guest list. See how Mischa Barton, Adam Brody, Rachel Bilson and more have changed since their days in Newport Beach on The O.C., which aired its series finale in 2007.

01 of 09

Mischa Barton as Marissa Cooper

FOX; JB Lacroix/WireImage

The girl next door wore Chanel on The O.C., where Mischa Barton played SoCal sweetheart-meets-damsel-in-distress Marissa Cooper until her character's tragic death in season 3. Barton would later claim that she departed the series because of "bullying" behind the scenes.

When It girl Barton left The O.C., her career took a backseat to her partying ways, leading to a 2007 DUI arrest and a 2009 suicide threat. She opened up to PEOPLE about her ups and downs, explaining, "It was a full-on breakdown." Barton also was involved in a high-profile revenge porn lawsuit against a former boyfriend who allegedly tried to sell a sex tape featuring Barton.

Following her departure from The O.C., Barton landed a handful of other movie and TV appearances, from the supernatural thriller I Will Follow You Into the Dark (2012) to the TV pilot Gutsy Frog. In 2016, she competed on Dancing With the Stars and made headlines once again when she joined the cast of The Hills: New Beginnings reboot in 2019, but Barton left the series after the first season. Barton continues to appear regularly in films, including 2023's Invitation to a Murder.

02 of 09

Rachel Bilson as Summer Roberts

Everett; Picture Perfect/Rex USA

Rachel Bilson melted hearts and perfected her tan as Summer Roberts, the popular girl who — you called it! — fell for the video game nerd (Adam Brody's Seth Cohen). Off camera, Bilson and Brody took their relationship beyond the beach, dating from 2003 until 2006.

Bilson's first big role post-O.C. saw her move from Orange County to Bluebell, Ala., where she played displaced New Yorker Dr. Zoe Hart on The CW's Hart of Dixie. She then headed for Nashville, where she played Alyssa Greene, and the short-lived ABC series Take Two. Her film roles include Jumper (2008), New York, I Love You (2008) and The To Do List (2013). Bilson hosts a podcast with former O.C. costar Melinda Clarke, called Welcome to the O.C., Bitches!

The actress has one child, daughter Briar Rose, whom she welcomed in October 2014 with now-ex Hayden Christensen. In 2020, she broke up with Barry star Bill Hader after they dated for several months.

03 of 09

Adam Brody as Seth Cohen

Everett; Joseph Gotfriedy/Broadimage

Adam Brody's chic geek alter ego loved all things comic books, Chrismukkah and, of course, Summer Roberts. Besides taking his love for leading lady Bilson off-screen, he also introduced the show's tween fan base to indie bands like Death Cab for Cutie.

Since finishing his comic books, Brody has taken on a variety of roles ranging from a lethal lead singer in the 2009 dark comedy Jennifer's Body to a porn star in 2013's Lovelace as well as a role in 2020's Academy Award-winning Promising Young Woman. He also got to play a superhero in 2019's Shazam! and its 2023 sequel, Shazam! Fury of the Gods. On TV, Brody has starred on series like StartUp and Single Parents and on the FX on Hulu miniseries Fleishman Is in Trouble.

Though Brody didn't sail off into the sunset with Bilson on a "Summer" breeze, he ultimately wed fellow teen soap alum/former Gossip Girl star Leighton Meester (with whom he also starred in Single Parents!). The pair have two children together: a daughter Arlo Day, born in August 2015, and a son, born in 2020.

04 of 09

Ben McKenzie as Ryan Atwood

Warner Bros; James Atoa/Everett Collection

Good-looking bad boy Ryan Atwood brought as much drama as the Newport housewives when he navigated his post-Chino life and tidal wave-like relationship with Barton's Marissa Cooper — all while wearing his signature white tank top.

Two years after leaving his pool house residence, Ben McKenzie joined the LAPD as Officer Ben Sherman on Southland, which aired until April 2013. He then took on the role of detective James Gordon on Gotham and Gotham Stories until 2019. McKenzie then made his Broadway debut in 2020's Grand Horizons, and appeared in Amazon Prime Video's 2022 rom-com I Want You Back.

The actor married his Gotham costar Morena Baccarin in 2017, and the pair welcomed their second child together in 2021.

05 of 09

Olivia Wilde as Alex Kelly

olivia wilde
Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection; Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images

Who got Olivia Wilde's kiss of approval on The O.C.? As Alex Kelly, she hooked up with both Seth Cohen (Brody) and Marissa Cooper (Barton), while also helping to run the local hot spot, the Bait Shop. Though Wilde only appeared in 13 episodes of The O.C., her character certainly made an impression.

Since leaving The O.C., Wilde had a five-year stint on House M.D., roles in Tron: Legacy (2010) and on Vinyl as well as in Spike Jonze's New York Film Festival darling, Her. Wilde made her directorial debut with 2019's hit comedy Booksmart.

Romantically, Wilde was engaged to Ted Lasso star Jason Sudeikis for seven years until they went their separate ways in 2020. The former pair share two children: son Otis and daughter Daisy. Wilde was then involved in a high-profile relationship with Harry Styles, who starred in her 2022 film Don't Worry Darling, which she also directed. However, Wilde and Styles split in November 2022.

06 of 09

Peter Gallagher as Sandy Cohen

FOX; Guillermo Proano/WENN

Sandy Cohen, portrayed by Peter Gallagher, was the lawyer father of Seth — and, via adoption, Ryan — who always knew best.

The actor, whose Hollywood career long pre-dated The O.C. with films like 1989's Sex, Lies and Videotape, 1995's While You Were Sleeping and 1999's American Beauty, suited up as CIA Director of the National Clandestine Service on the USA drama Covert Affairs from 2010-2014. He then landed a recurring role on Law and Order: SVU as Deputy Chief William Dodds before going on to star in several other hit TV series, including Grace and Frankie and Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist, and having a nine-episode arc on Grey's Anatomy.

Gallagher has been married to his wife Paula Harwood since 1983; the pair share two children, including Tony-nominated actress Kathryn Gallagher.

07 of 09

Kelly Rowan as Kirsten Cohen

THE O.C., Kelly Rowan
WB / Courtesy: Everett ; Jemal Countess/Getty

Kelly Rowan, who played Kirsten Cohen, the mother of Seth, adopted mother of Ryan and wife of Sandy, had her ups and downs with her family throughout the series. Before her role on The O.C., Rowan starred on Lonesome Dove: The Outlaw Years and many TV movies in both the United States and Canada.

Since The O.C. ended, Rowan has had a few film and television roles, most notably starring on the TNT crime drama series Perception. She also produced several of her own projects, including the 2007 Lifetime movie In God's Country.

In 2007, she announced that she was engaged to billionaire David Thomson, 3rd Baron Thomson of Fleet, though the pair never married. In April 2008, Rowan gave birth to a daughter.

08 of 09

Melinda Clarke as Julie Cooper

Everett; All Access Photo/Splash News

Barton's on-screen mom, the ever-conniving (but always comedic!) Julie Cooper, had it going on — even when she had to trade in her mansion for a trailer park.

Melinda Clarke's next major role was equally as intense; on the CW's Nikita she played Amanda Collins, the master manipulator of a hush-hush government-funded organization. The show ran from 2010 to 2013. Before, during and after her role on The O.C., Clarke had a recurring role on CSI as Lady Heather, appearing in six episodes and the series finale movie, CSI: Immortality (2015). She has also appeared in guest roles on series like Chuck, Eli Stone, Ghost Whisperer, The Vampire Diaries, Vegas, Dallas and Gotham. Clarke co-hosts the Welcome to the O.C., Bitches! podcast with former costar Bilson.

Clarke was previously married to Star Trek actor Ernie Mirich; the pair share a daughter together. In 2015, the actress wed professional river rafter Adam Farmer.

09 of 09

Tate Donovan as Jimmy Cooper

THE O.C., Tate Donovan
WB / Courtesy: Everett ; Noam Galai/FilmMagic

Playing Marissa's often-troubled father Jimmy Cooper, Tate Donovan was part of the main cast of the first two seasons, followed by a few appearances in the final two seasons of the series.

After the end of The O.C., Donovan jumped to another series, Damages, as part of the main cast and he has been busy ever since with lead roles on Deception, Hostages, 24: Live Another Day, The Man in the High Castle and MacGyver. The actor also appeared in films like Nancy Drew (2007), Argo (2012), Manchester by the Sea (2016) and Rocketman (2019). He voiced Hercules in the 1997 Disney animated film, and he has continued to voice the character in the Kingdom Hearts video games and other media. Donovan has branched out into producing and directing, and he won a Primetime Emmy for directing the ESPN 30 for 30 Shorts installment that focused on the relationship between tennis legend Arthur Ashe and his brother, Johnnie.

Donovan was previously married to Corinne Kingsbury. The couple divorced in 2008.

Related Articles