The Truth About Rachel Bilson And Adam Brody's Relationship

Once upon a time, in the early years of the 2000s, a show called "The O.C" became a worldwide teen sensation. The Fox drama centers around Ryan Atwood (Ben McKenzie), a teenager who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, but whose luck turns around when he's taken in by the wealthy and generous Cohen family. The Cohens consist of dad Sandy (Peter Gallagher), mom Kirsten (Kelly Rowan), and their son, Seth (Adam Brody), who's the same age as Ryan (via Britannica). Ryan soon becomes embroiled in the lives of the wealthy Newport Beach elite, including the beautiful but misunderstood girl next door, Marissa Cooper (Mischa Barton).

While the series largely revolves around Ryan and Marissa's on-again-off-again romance, it was Seth Cohen and Summer Roberts who were viewed as the truly scene-stealing couple by many (via Vulture). Played by Rachel Bilson and Adam Brody respectively, Summer and Seth won fans over with their hilarious banter and sizzling chemistry — on and off the screen. As diehard fans already know, Bilson and Brody dated in real life for much of the show's duration (via The Things).

Rachel Bilson and Adam Brody adopted a pit-bull terrier named Penny Lane

From Blake Lively and Penn Badgley to Nina Dobrev and Ian Somerhalder, many of the most beloved celebrity couples are the ones who dated both on and off the screen (via Best Life). To this day, Rachel Bilson and Adam Brody are one of those adored former couples. While it feels like most Hollywood relationships are fast and fleeting, "The O.C" costars dated for three years — from 2003 to 2006 — which seems like a long time by industry standards.

On her rewatch podcast, "Welcome to the O.C, Bitches," Bilson revealed that she started crushing on her co-star after they filmed their first kissing scene together. "I remember thinking, 'Do I like Adam?'" The "Hart of Dixie" star shared. "That's when those wheels started turning." 

At the height of their relationship, Bilson and Brody even made the serious decision to co-parent a pit-bull terrier together, named Penny Lane. Referring to her relationship with Brody, Bilson shared with Teen People at the time, "We always have a lot to talk about, and we tell each other everything," (via The Things). She added, "I feel like I have everything now — the dog, the house, the job, and him. I can't ask for anything more."

The "Hart of Dixie" actress says her relationship with Brody helped her stay grounded

Growing up in the spotlight isn't easy, especially when you're trying to avoid the prospect of getting swept up in the Hollywood scene. While "The O.C" may have skyrocketed Rachel Bilson and Adam Brody to stardom, the well-known celebs managed to stay out of the spotlight more than others. In an interview with ET, Bilson discussed how being in a relationship made staying at home more appealing. Rather than being drawn to Hollywood clubs, Bilson and Brody would play board games and watch "Jeopardy" together instead.

Bilson also credits her relationship with Brody for helping her stay grounded during that surreal and chaotic time in her life. "Because of what the show was and how young we all were, going through it with someone experiencing the same thing and having that kind of support was really awesome," Bilson shared with Nylon. The California native went on to add, "It was definitely a unique experience and I don't think anyone else could have really understood it had they not been in it ... I have total gratitude for the whole experience."

"The O.C" co-stars experienced a love triangle on-screen

Long-time fans "The O.C" will remember the infamous love triangle between Rachel Bilson, Adam Brody, and Samaire Armstrong's characters in the hit Fox drama. In the first season of the show, Seth Cohen tries (and fails) to juggle dating two different women: Summer Roberts and Anna Stern (via People).

On her rewatch podcast, "Welcome to the O.C, Bitches!," Bilson revealed that the love triangle between the three characters was fictional, but it did temporarily bleed into her real-life romance as well. Apparently, it all started when Armstrong and Brody shot a kissing scene together, and Armstrong used some illicit tongue action. Re-watching that scene for her podcast brought back old feelings for Bilson. 

Watching it unfold at the time, Bilson said, "I get a little jealous and I'm like, 'Um what are you doing slipping tongue in his mouth?'" She shared the detail with her co-host, Melinda Clarke, who appeared on "The O.C." as Julie Cooper. Bilson went on to say, "It was like the real-life [love] triangle playing out as I'm watching it. There's no tongue in television!"

According to the "Hart of Dixie" star, the love triangle "definitely played out a little bit in real life for a minute" and she experienced "tension with Samaire." Thankfully, Seth and Summer were able to make it through that relationship bump, and so did Brody and Bilson, who went on to date for a few years after the incident.

Rachel Bilson and Adam Brody broke up right before their TV wedding

Sadly, art doesn't always imitate life. While Seth Cohen and Summer Roberts may have been endgame, Adam Brody and Rachel Bilson were not. "It was a typical romance and they just grew apart," a source shared with People in 2006 when the pair broke up. "They've been on and off for a while now."

While Bilson and Brody momentarily joined the club of celebrity couples who broke up and still had to work together, thankfully, this period didn't last long. The dynamic duo's split occurred around the same time "The O.C" was wrapping up its four-season stint. However, there were still a few scenes left to shoot before the show was complete. In fact, the final scene "The O.C" crew ever shot was Seth and Summer's wedding. Yikes!

Bilson recalled the awkward timing of that scene on Dax Shepard's podcast "Armchair Expert." "They totally did that on purpose," Bilson jokingly shared. "They're like, 'You broke up? Let's give you a wedding.'"

Rachel Bilson apologized to "The O.C" fandom for her break-up with Adam Brody

Unsurprisingly, Rachel Bilson and Adam Brody devastated fans when they announced their split. Not only had the beloved teen drama come to an end, but so had the relationship between the real life Seth and Summer (via Refinery29).

Even though it's been years since Bilson and Brody parted ways, people are still mourning the loss of one of the most iconic couples of the early 2000s. When InStyle Magazine posted a throwback photo of Bilson and Brody on Instagram, the "Nashville" actress used it as an opportunity to issue an apology to fans. InStyle's caption read, "#rachelbilson and #adambrody's breakup basically ruined high school for us." Bilson responded to the post, saying, "IM SORRY!!!! He fared really well!"

While Bilson and Brody may have parted ways romantically, the two still remain friends. "I had so much, and still do, love and respect for Adam," Bilson shared with Dax Shepard on her episode of "Armchair Expert." She went on to say, "I'm so happy for him with his family and his beautiful wife and kids and everything." 

While Brody currently shares two kids with wife Leighton Meester, Bilson has one daughter whom she shares with her ex, Hayden Christensen (via People).