Mischa Barton ‘regrets’ not exploring character’s bisexuality in The O.C.

Olivia Wilde as Alex (L) and Mischa Barton as Marissa (R) in The O.C.

The O.C. actor Mischa Barton has expressed regret that her character’s bisexuality storyline wasn’t explored further when she appeared in the hit teen drama.

Barton, who can currently be found on screens as Reece Sinclair in Aussie soap opera Neighbours, first rose to fame as the troubled socialite Marissa Cooper in three seasons of The O.C.

The role earned Barton queer icon status when her character enjoyed a brief relationship with bisexual Alex Kelly (Olivia Wilde) in season two.

At the time, the storyline was groundbreaking and sparked debates among critics and viewers.

Mischa Barton stars as Reece Sinclair in Neighbours.
Mischa Barton currently stars as Reece Sinclair in Neighbours. (Jane Zhang/Amazon Freevee)

It was never made explicitly clear whether Cooper was also bisexual, or if her relationship with Kelly was intended to be another one of Cooper’s so-called ‘phases’.

Now, Barton has confirmed that Marissa Cooper was, in fact, bisexual, and confessed that she wishes that aspect of her character had been explored further by showrunners at the time.

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Speaking to Gay Times, Barton said: “I do think that. That’s the thing, they were trying to write off so many of her things as ‘phases’ like her drug use and alcohol use. I mean, [her bisexuality] was touched on but not really properly looked into. I definitely see that for Marissa.

“But, it was hard to even get that approved at the time. We really wanted that storyline, and we have some regrets that we weren’t able to do more with the Olivia and me storyline and really explore it more.

“They really fell for each other and were a really cute couple, but I think Josh [Schwartz] wishes he could’ve written it a bit more in-depth.”

Last month, Barton spoke to PinkNews about her status as a queer icon, thanks to Marissa Cooper.

“That’s awesome, that makes me really happy. I don’t know what to say except: as you get older, the more you realise that people hold a character like that so close to their hearts and genuinely still idolise it,” she said.

“It’s flattering and it’s very nice to see.”