Why Mischa Barton Feels A Connection To Britney Spears

Back in February of 2021, a reckoning of sorts took place in Hollywood. With the release of The New York Times documentary, "Framing Britney Spears," many were forced to acknowledge that young stars, especially young female stars, endured media harassment during their rise to fame. Thanks in large part to the documentary and the #FreeBritney movement, the mistreatment of other stars over the years, like Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, has been brought to the attention of the public (via E! News). The latest former teen star to come forward with her own examples and stories of being mistreated by the press and the entertainment industry is "The O.C." star Mischa Barton

In 2013, at the young age of 17, Barton took on one of the lead roles in "The O.C." As the show increased in popularity among the masses, so did its stars. In the aftermath of her departure from the show in 2006, the scrutiny from the public and press seemed to be too much for Barton. Between 2007 and 2017, Barton struggled through mental health-related hospitalizations, a DUI arrest, sex tape scandals, and legal battles with her management. During an interview with E! News on Thursday, Barton explained how public scrutiny led to issues in her personal life.

Barton can personally relate to the woes experienced by Spears

Now 35 years old, Barton admitted to E! News that she felt a connection to Britney Spears after learning about what the pop star went through. "I felt all the feels when I watched the Britney doc because I was there at those clubs and those parties and down the street when all of that was happening," Barton explained. "Literally would've been in the background, but not quite. I remember thinking, 'Jesus, this poor girl.' And her getting sucked into the wrong people pretending to want to be her friend – that happened to me too. A lot of that weirdness." Between being bullied on the set of "The O.C." (which eventually led to her early departure from the series in 2006) and negative media attention from celebrity bloggers like Perez Hilton, Barton struggled to cope with the constant scrutiny from all angles.

To the surprise of many, Barton actually appeared in the first season of MTV's reincarnation of "The Hills," "The Hills: New Beginnings," in 2019. Perhaps the most pivotal moment for Barton on that season came when she was finally able to sit down and confront Hilton about his ruthless treatment of her back in the early part of her career. "I think a lot of young girls feel that way, that he was very damaging to their mental psyche," Barton told E! News. " It was hard for me to confront him."

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.