Here's Why Mischa Barton Really Left The O.C.

Marissa Cooper is one of best remembered teen drama characters of the early 2000s. The character, played by actress Mischa Barton, had viewers of "The O.C." both loving and hating her simultaneously as they tuned into the show each week, (via Bustle). 

Marissa was a hot and cold character, and fans never knew what they were going to get. Although she started off the series as a spoiled little rich girl, she began to change thanks to the beloved main character Ryan Atwood, played by actor Ben MacKenzie, per The Talko. Even though Ryan had grown up in a bad neighborhood with bad parents, he still seemed to have better morals and more common sense than Marissa and her friends. 

While Marissa did try to transform herself more than once during her run on the series, her bad decisions and reckless behavior always seemed to reappear. It was that pattern that ultimately led to the character's death (via Junkee), which years later still proves to be one of the most shocking and confusing in television history, per Screen Rant. Fans may remember that Marissa died in a car accident alongside her bad-boy former boyfriend, Kevin Volchok, who was drunk behind the wheel. The storyline was a tragic ending for the character, and viewers were shocked. Years later, Barton opened up about what really caused her to leave "The O.C." and why she believed her character simply had to die.

Mischa Barton weighs in on Marissa Cooper's death

Although fans were stunned by Marissa Cooper's death on "The O.C." actress Mischa Barton says it was the only possible way to write the character off the show in her eyes (via Showbiz Cheat Sheet). When previously asked why the character didn't get an open ending to return in later episodes, or simply just leave town, Barton said, "I fought tooth and nail for that to not happen, because I just don't think that's Marissa Cooper. I just don't think sailing off into the sunset's the proper goodbye. She's one of those burnout characters where I don't know how much more we could have done with her anyway."

While Barton got her way about Marissa's untimely demise, many fans were unclear about why she wanted to leave the hit show in the first place. Looking back, the actress revealed that she opted to exit the series in favor of new opportunities. 

Barton was only 17-years-old when she landed the role of Marissa, which made her a household name, and it appeared that she left hoping to further her career. "I just had a lot in my career that I wanted to do and accomplish. I felt like things were really heavily reliant upon me, and I was getting no time to do any of the other offers that were out there," she admitted. Sadly, the show was never the same without Marissa, and ended just one season after her exit.