Hilarie Burton Left ‘One Tree Hill’ Because She Had a ‘Big Chip’ on Her Shoulder

When the teen drama One Tree Hill debuted back in 2003 on The WB (now The CW) it was an immediate hit. The North Carolina based series followed half-brothers, Lucas Scott (Chad Michael Murray) and Nathan Scott (James Lafferty), basketball players who shared the same father but came from entirely different walks of life. Though the boys had managed to keep their distance for years, high school changed everything.

With Lucas finding a spot alongside Nathan on the school’s varsity basketball team and finding a connection with Nathan’s then-girlfriend, Peyton Sawyer (Hilarie Burton) things got explosive. The series was so beloved, that fans were stunned when Murray and Burton exited the series after season six, three years before the show came to a close.

Since then, the women of the cast including Burton, Sophia Bush, and Bethany Joy Lenz have gotten candid about the abuse they endured at the hands of series creator, Mark Schwahn. The Lifetime actress also just revealed why she exited the show so abruptly.

Hilarie Burton and her ‘One Tree Hill’ co-stars said they were sexually abused and harassed by Mark Schwahn

In 2017, amid the #MeToo movement, Burton, and 17 other women from One Tree Hill as well as Schwahn’s more recent series The Royals, came forward to accuse him of sexual and verbal abuse and misconduct.

Now, in her new memoir, The Rural Diaries: Love, Livestock, and Big Life Lessons Down on Mischief Farm, the actress revealed just how awful things got for her.

“In my particular fairy tale there had been a villain who pitted female actors against one another, pushed us to do gratuitous sex scenes that always left me feeling ill and ashamed, told young female actors to stick their chests out, put his hands on all of us, and pushed himself on me, forcing unwanted kisses,” she writes.

Hilarie Burton is still close with her ‘One Tree Hill’ costars

Burton and her co-stars were able to stand up against their former boss because they have formed a close bond that continues to sustain all of these years later.

“I’ve been working everyone behind the scenes,” she revealed to Entertainment Tonight. “We all love each other. So, working out the business end of things would be the thing. I love those guys. I love ‘em so much,” she said. “We had trouble with our creator on that show. That is not a mystery, and so I think it’s all about ownership of the show and the politics behind that. Because there were a lot of abuses and so if we’re going to come back, we want it to be from a place of light and the good stuff.”

The series is still very much beloved by fans, and the stars of OTH wanted to take good of the show back for themselves and those that adored the series.

Hilarie Burton revealed the real reason she left ‘One Tree Hill’

In 2009, when The CW announced Burton would not be returning for the seventh season, rumors swirled that she was leaving due to money conflicts. However, the former MTV TRL host has explained that this was not at all accurate. She also revealed that she has no regrets about leaving when she did.

“I don’t regret that at all,” she told her former OTH castmate,  Jana Kramer on her podcast, Whine Down. “I knew that I needed to start something new. It was time. I had a big chip on my shoulder and I just needed to put it down.”

Burton would take a year break from acting until appearing on the hit series, White Collar.