Rachel Bilson Talks 'Emotional' Reunion with 'The O.C.' Costar Adam Brody: He's 'Super Dear to Me'

Bilson's former costar and ex-boyfriend is the latest guest on her podcast, Welcome to the OC, Bitches!

Great news for fans of The O.C.: Seth and Summer have reunited!

Adam Brody is the latest guest to join his former O.C. costars Rachel Bilson and Melinda Clarke on their podcast, Welcome to the OC, Bitches! Bilson, 40, knew it would be her biggest get for the program, which sees the two actresses recapping episodes of the beloved teen drama that aired on Fox between 2003 and 2007 — and she exclusively tells PEOPLE she resorted to an unusual tactic to convince him to join.

"I was like, there's no way he's going to want to talk about it, there's no way he's going to do it," she says, going on to explain that the joyous occasion sprang from a heartbreaking event. "A dog that I had when we were on The O.C. recently passed away, so I sent him a text message and I was like, 'Thurman died. You have to say yes.' I basically bribed him with a dead dog."

Rachel Bilson Jokingly Apologizes for Adam Brody Breakup: 'He Fared Really Well'
Gary Gershoff/Getty; Jamie McCarthy/Getty

The bribe did indeed work, though Bilson says deciding which episode to discuss with her ex wasn't easy. "Originally they were like, 'Maybe he can come on for the episode where you guys lose your virginity.' And I was like, 'Eh, maybe a little awkward to talk about,'" she says with a laugh. "So we didn't do that, but he did say yes to a very fun episode and we could not have been more happy and excited to have him on and to catch up."

In the nearly 15 years since the show wrapped, the Hart of Dixie alum admits the two have really only spoken once during a chance encounter at the airport, which they documented on social media to the delight of fans.

"I got on a plane leaving New York to head to L.A., and someone taps me on the shoulder. I turned around and it's him," she recalls. "I was like, 'Oh my God, Brody!' It was just so good to see him. We talked all about kids because, you know, being parents now, it's all you talk about, and it was just really nice to catch up with him."

Recording the podcast episode together provided the exes, who dated from 2003 to 2006 as their characters simultaneously found love on the small screen, with a nostalgic conversation that "could not have been better."

"You taught me how to act well," Bilson tells Brody, 41, in an exclusive clip from the episode, which is out now. "You made it so comfortable to just go for it and not be afraid, and everything you did and working with you really made me have the confidence to kind of do whatever I wanted and go for it."

She adds: "I want to say thank you, because it just brings that all up. I was like, 'Dude, I was never better than when I was acting with you.'"

"What a lovely thing to say," Brody touchingly replies. "Hey, it was my pleasure and it was such a joy."

Bilson says it was "emotional in a really nice way" to catch up about their early rise to success and having each other's support at the height of the popular series. "I feel like when you go through something that we did together at that time, it's just always kind of this comfortable, familial feeling," she says. "He was just such an important person in my life at such a crazy time that it just felt like I'm seeing someone super dear to me, and it's been so long. It was just catching up with like an old family member."

Their real-life relationship caused mass media speculation at the time, and Bilson says she feels "lucky" to have had Brody's support and understanding to deal with it. She believes their desire to avoid the Hollywood party scene made it easier for them to remain unaffected by public scrutiny.

"We were pretty domesticated at the time, so we kind of just went through it together. And we weren't going crazy, and I think it made it a lot easier to transition into success," she points out. "We were followed by paparazzi sometimes and there was that part of it, but I don't remember a lot of negativity surrounding myself and Adam."

rachel bilson adam brody welcom to the oc bitches
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Despite splitting before The O.C. wrapped in 2007, Bilson says she and Body never let their personal lives get in the way of work. "It was really a non-issue," she shrugs. "I was Summer and he was Seth and we walked onto set and we did our scenes, and it carried through until the end of the show. There was never any real drama with us off camera."

One piece of advice from her mother helped Bilson get through that time: It's none of your business what other people think of you. "I just did my job, I lived my life, and I wasn't in my head a lot about that stuff," she says. "I'm sure now that I'm older, you get a little more aware and anxious. I may have done it differently if I was in it now."

THE O.C., front row: Adam Brody, Rachel Bilson, Benjamin McKenzie, Mischa Barton; back row: Peter Ga

Fans of the podcast are familiar with Bilson's lack of memory about the show itself, as well as specifics of that time in her life. The actress was happy to find Brody wasn't much better.

"I was pretty impressed that we could go head-to-head with the lack of memory we both had," she jokes. "Let me just say, I felt better about myself knowing that he remembered just as much as I did."

Bilson says Brody hadn't seen the show since it left the airwaves, save for a couple of episodes he watched with his wife, former Gossip Girl star Leighton Meester, when they started dating. But she says their chat brought up the best memories for them both.

"It definitely brought up some emotion of longing for that youth and that time and everything we went through, and working on such a special show with amazing people," she says. "There's a lot of gratitude that comes from it."

She hopes Brody's appearance inspires the other members of The O.C.'s core four — Ben McKenzie and Mischa Barton — to eventually participate in the podcast. In the meantime, she would love to organize a play date for her daughter Briar Rose, 6, and Brody's daughter Arlo Day, also 6.

"Oh, I would love that," she exclaims. "They live on the other side of town, but I would absolutely love that and yes, I'm all for it!"

New episodes of Welcome to the OC, Bitches! drop Tuesdays.

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