Pop Culture | 00s

They Ruled Newport, But Where Are The Cast Of "The O.C." Now?

The O.C. was, and still is, the ultimate teen drama. We fell in love with Ryan Atwood the second we saw him, then we sobbed like infants when Marissa died (this isn't a spoiler, it happened 12 years ago.)


We invested four years of our lives into Newport Beach, and when it was all over, we felt like a part of us went missing. But those actors didn't just drop off the face of the earth...so what happened to the cast of The O.C.?

Autumn Reeser as Taylor Townsend


Taylor Townsend wasn't always our favorite, but in season four when she began dating Ryan, we saw a different side of the preppy know-it-all. Reeser has had a steady acting career since The O.C. ended, appearing in Valentine, Hawaii Five-0, The Arrangement, and Sully. Reeser also portrayed Julie Cooper in "The O.C.: The Mfusical."

Samaire Armstrong as Anna Stern


Team Anna, anyone? She got Seth to come out of his shell and helped bring him and Summer together (even though it wasn't always her intention.) Now, she still acts regularly, with roles in Dirty Sexy Money, The Mentalist, Grey's Anatomy, and the soon-to-be-released Carter & June. She also gave birth to a son, Calin, in 2012.

Melinda Clarke as Julie Cooper

The WB

Julie Cooper started out as insufferable...and frankly, ended the same way. But it was a lovable insufferable. If you put aside the plot to murder her husband for his money, Julie just wanted what was best for her family. Clarke found herself a role on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation after The O.C. ended, and even got a leading role in Nikita.

Kelly Rowan as Kirsten Cohen

The WB

Everyone's favorite WASP and Newpsie turned alcoholic found herself engaged to billionaire David Thomson after the show ended. The Canadian actress has had small roles in shows like Perception, Castle, and the Canadian show Murdoch Mysteries. She has been busy raising her daughter.

Peter Gallagher as Sandy Cohen

The WB

Sandy Cohen: the dad who everyone wished would adopt them, the expert bagel shmearer, and the man with eyebrows that won't quit. Gallagher was already an established actor (and singer!!) when he landed a role on The O.C., and his success didn't stop after the show ended. With roles on Californication, Rescue Me, Togetherness, New Girl, and Grace and Frankie, it doesn't look like Gallagher is slowing down anytime soon.

Tate Donovan as Jimmy Cooper

The WB

I may be in the minority, but I never liked Jimmy Cooper and I never will. I found no redeeming qualities in him, and frankly he was flat-out whiny. Donovan, on the other hand, I have no real issue with. The 54-year-old actor had a role in the Oscar-winning Argo. He also was featured on the shows Limitless, The Mysteries of Laura, and The Man In The High Castle.

Alan Dale as Caleb Nichol

The WB

The 70-year-old New Zealand actor has no intentions of slowing down, landing roles in Lost, Ugly Betty, NCIS, Once Upon a Time, Dynasty, and Captain America: Winter Soldier. Let's just hope Julie Cooper doesn't try to poison his margaritas again.

Chris Carmack as Luke Ward

The WB

Let's all be thankful that Chris Carmack is nothing like early season one Luke. Of course, we got to see a softer side of Luke when he was alienated from his friends group (awks) but we cannot forget that he SLEPT WITH JULIE COOPER. Man, she shows up everywhere, huh? Carmack has had incredible success since The O.C. He stars on the hit show, Nashville, where he plays Will Lexington. Carmack showcases his musical abilities, and it makes him even more of a pretty boy than his puca shell necklace ever did. Carmack and his finacée, Erin Slaver, welcomed their first child, a daughter named Kai, in 2016.

But what about the main characters?

Rachel Bilson as Summer Roberts

The WB

I'll admit, I didn't really understand Seth and Summer at the beginning. I was somewhat rooting for Seth and Anna, but then I realized that Summer was just putting on a facade to fit in, and it all became clear. She turned out to be the most successful of the Core Four friends, and a lover of rabbits. Bilson was equally successful in her own life, headlining Hart of Dixie for years on the CW network. She gave birth to her first child, Briar Rose Christensen, with ex-fiancée Hayden Christensen, in 2014. Bilson and Christensen were together for 10 years before they split. Bilson also landed a role on Nashville, where she reconnected with former co-star, Chris Carmack.

Adam Brody as Seth Cohen

The WB

Seth Cohen stole nerdy hearts everywhere. Sure, he was a spoiled brat and towards the end an unmotivated stoner, but BEFORE that he was great. Brody likes to keep a low profile in his personal life, and has also laid low in the acting world. He secretly married Gossip Girl star Leighton Meester in 2014, and together they welcomed a baby girl named Arlo in 2015.

Ben McKenzie as Ryan Atwood

The WB/Twitter

Ryan Atwood. What is there to say about the broody, troubled teen who was thrown into the Newport lifestyle? He adapted fairly easily (how could you not?) and quickly became our most favorite character. You could argue that Ryan had the most character growth throughout the entire series, and it was great to see it end with him helping a kid the same way Sandy Cohen helped him. McKenzie now stars on Gotham, and made headlines when he was caught having an affair with his married co-star, Morena Baccarin. The couple is now engaged, and they welcomed their first child in 2016, a daughter named Frances.

Fans were treated to a mini Ryan and Taylor reunion in March when McKenzie and Reeser attended a fundraiser at Simmer Children's Museum.

E! Online

Mischa Barton

The WB

The most controversial cast member certainly had an...interesting run after The O.C. ended. It started before even really left, when Barton spoiled her character's death the morning the episode aired. What was supposed to be an epic plot twist for the show was kept under wraps during filming, but Barton spilled the beans during a morning talk show interview the day the episode aired. Producers had worked so tirelessly to keep it a secret, even filming different character deaths to keep people off the scent, but one slip of the tongue from the resident hot mess ruined it all.

Barton hasn't had many acting roles since the teen drama ended, but she has racked up a rap sheet. In 2007, Barton was arrested for DUI and possession of marijuana. Her party-girl reputation has landed Barton in hot water, and she was even admitted to the hospital for a voluntary mental evaluation.

In March of 2017, Barton was the victim of a revenge porn scandal, and came forward with accusations.

"I came forward to fight this not only for myself, but for all the women out there," Barton said. "I want to protect them from the pain and humiliation that I have had to go through. No woman should have to go through this and I am beyond grateful to Lisa Bloom, the Bloom Firm and to all of my friends who have helped me through this horrific experience. It is a very hard thing to do but I am glad that I am finally standing up for myself."

Sounds like Marissa Cooper is still hung up on Ryan Atwood.

Which character was your favorite?