Mischa Barton revealed the real reason why her character Marissa Cooper was killed off of The O.C.

On Tuesday (May 18), the actress spoke with E! Online about her character's tragic and surprising exit from the hit teen drama in 2006.

"I've always felt ashamed in a way to really talk about what went on behind the scenes because I've always been a very private person and very aware of people's feelings," Barton said. "Now that we're living in this era where we do speak out about our experiences and women do come clean about what was really going on behind the scenes and how they were treated, it's a slightly different thing."

During Season 1, the show offered equal pay to cast members. At the same time, she dealt with "sort of general bullying from some of the men on set that kind of felt really s--tty." At the same time, she was also coping with the downfalls of fame and felt unprotected.

Things began to fall apart for Barton halfway during the filming of Season 2, which is when production doubled up on episodes. Producers gave her the option to leave the show either in a way which would allow her to return if she wanted to in the future, or through the death of her character. At the time, Barton was receiving numerous film roles but had to continually turn them down due to the show, so she chose for Marissa to be killed off the show.

"My dream was to be offered those lead roles, so that's what happened," she continued. "It just felt like it was the best thing for me and my health and just in terms of not really feeling protected by my cast and crew at that point."

When Barton left the series, she felt both relief and sadness which she described as a mixed bag of emotions. At the end of the day, though, she said that she could not "keep handling the stress of that environment" that she was in.

"I was really sad I was going because that was like my family, but there had also been some things that weren't so cool and I would be lying to say I wasn't a little bit relieved that I was going to extricate myself from that situation," she admitted.

At the same time, she knows how much the character means to people, and still has fans who come up to her to talk about Marissa.

Barton had no idea that her character's death would have such a major impact. She said that the studio made her feel like "the show is going to go on with or without you and it is what it is." So, she decided to go out with a bang and wanted as much gore as possible. She wanted it to be tragic and poetic and overall felt like it "was actually a great ending."

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