‘One Tree Hill’ Stars Expose ‘Uncomfortable’ ‘Maxim’ Cover Shoot, Reveal Actress Was Cut for Supposedly Being ‘Too Fat’
During a new episode of their One Tree Hill rewatch podcast, Drama Queens, the stars of the show recalled a particularly sour experience in 2006.
Three of the show's ladies––Sophia Bush, Hilarie Burton, and Danneel Ackles––covered Maxim in 2006, but learning the story of what really went down makes it much less iconic.
Most obvious is the fact that the show's actual third leading lady, Bethany Joy Lenz, wasn't featured in the spread, which the women addressed in the podcast.
"They told me that [Maxim] didn’t come to me because I was too fat, and I just wasn’t the ‘hot girl,'" Lenz said on the Nov. 28 podcast episode.
Bush, who played queen bee turned fan-favorite Brooke Davis, said that the girls were forced to do the cover, despite their reluctance. Plus, the shoot tied into Ackles' character's storyline in the show, when she wins a Maxim contest.
"We got told we had to do it. Because Brooke had been so sexualized on the show and the whole idea of this ‘Hometown Hottie’ was Rachel’s storyline, I was like, ‘If the girls want to do it, that’s great. I don’t. I have gone to battle trying to make Brooke less of this thing that you guys have tried to force me into. I don’t want to do it,'" she explained.
She continued, "I literally got told: ‘If you don’t go and shoot this cover with your costars, we will guarantee that you will never be let out for a press day, a movie, an event, any of your charities — we will keep you here forever.'"
Burton, who played angsty icon Peyton Sawyer, said, "I remember getting pulled into the production office and [sitting] on the floor while our boss was on the couch. We were given this very friendly soft pitch: ‘Look, all the other shows have been on the cover of every single magazine, and no one wants you guys. You finally have someone who wants you, and you’re really going to turn your nose up at that?'"
Most shockingly of all, the three women discovered a miscommunication that had been sown between them by the unnamed boss.
"When I said I didn’t want to do it, they said, ‘She said no, so you have to say yes,'" Bush said to Lenz, detailing how their boss lied to her to coerce her into doing the shoot.
"They threw you under the f---ing bus. Like, why does she get to say no and I don’t? I didn’t understand. … We weren’t mad at you, but we were pissed about it," she added.
Of the actual shoot, Bush and Burton recalled trying to make it a "50's pinup shoot" so they would feel more comfortable, and called the resulting Photoshopped images "the worst."
Burton also revealed that their boss stopped by the shoot to gift her an iPod to "put [Sophia] in her place, and he wanted Danneel to see it to try and make her jealous."
Bush noted that their boss was "a married adult man 20 years [their] senior" and called the gift "scary and uncomfortable."
While the boss in the story remained unnamed, in 2018, One Tree Hill's creator, Mark Schwahn, was accused by many actors and crew members (including Burton, Bush, Lenz, and Ackles) of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior on multiple film sets.