Are Summer Roberts and Marissa Cooper Friends In Real Life?

Ask anyone in their late twenties or early thirties what TV shows they watched in the early 2000s and chances are, The O.C. will come up. Marissa Cooper (Mischa Barton) and Summer Roberts (Rachel Bilson) were the show’s main female leads who were BFFs. But are they friends in real life? Find out ahead.

Are Summer Roberts and Marissa Cooper friends in real life?

It’s difficult not to imagine actresses Bilson and Barton being anything but best friends like their counterparts on The O.C., but they aren’t their characters.

The women, now, 37 and 33 years old respectively, have lives of their own. But do they include each other? Not really.

Barton made a subtle dig at Bilson in a 2004 interview with Elle magazine.

In the interview, Barton talked about Bilson, who had started the show as a recurring character but later became a series regular.

“She’s way more overtly sexual than I am,” Barton said referring to Bilson. “She is so petite and I am so tall and lanky. I think I’d be scared of having her voluptuousness. I like being understatedly sexy.”

Mischa Barton and Rachel Bilson backstage at the Emmys.
Mischa Barton and Rachel Bilson | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

In 2013, near the tenth anniversary of the show, Radar Online published a story about Bilson alienating Barton.

“[Bilson] is the one who basically made it be known that it’s okay for everybody to wash their hands of Mischa and not forgive her past transgressions,” a reported “insider,” told the publication.

“It’s really sad because [Mischa’s] literally trying to set up dinners to make amends and Rachel is telling everybody to ‘ignore her and she’ll go away,’” they said.

Bilson’s rep told E! News at the time, “The Radar Online ‘story’ is a complete fabrication. There simply is no truth to it at all. No one from Radar Online checked in with Rachel or us for validity or comments. Rachel has no ill will toward Mischa—she has and will continue to wish her well.”

Barton responded to the story on Twitter, calling it “hilarious.”

Bilson posted about Barton on Instagram in 2016

In 2016, Bilson took to Instagram to discuss Barton’s latest project. Bilson posted a picture of her former co-star on Dancing with the Stars (DWTS).

She captioned the image, “Got to give it up for @mischamazing takes balls. Get it guurrrrlll! ❤️.” Her caption seems friendly enough with encouraging words and a heart emoji.

Barton made it three episodes before getting voted off DWTS. She wasn’t mad about it. In an interview following her dismissal, she didn’t hold back on how she felt about the experience.

“Ugh, I had no idea it would be so bad. I got told off by my dancer,” she said. “I was supposed to control the costumes, I was told that I could do the design aspect of it, that’s kind of the reason why I agreed to do it.”

She continued, saying, “That didn’t happen. It wasn’t collaborative like a choreographer on a film set. … I was so confused by it. It was like The Hunger Games. It was all a popularity contest. It was awful. I was so glad to get kicked off.”

While Barton and Bilson aren’t regulars on each other’s social media accounts, that doesn’t mean they’re not on good terms. They may not be BFFs like their characters but they don’t exactly hate each other either.

Bilson, on occasion, has posted throwback pictures on her Instagram of herself as Summer Roberts.

She also celebrated the show’s 15th anniversary with a throwback picture of the cast, saying, “15 year anniversary of The OC. I can’t believe it. I also can’t believe I wore a skirt I got at a thrift shop as a shirt.” She tagged Barton in the post as well as a few others from the show including Ben McKenzie, who played Ryan Atwood, and Peter Gallagher, who played Sandy Cohen.

What’s next for Bilson and Barton?

Barton is going back to Orange County. She’s joining the cast of The Hills, as MTV reboots the popular reality show. As for Bilson, she’s returning to Fox for a new pilot series, Lovestruck.