‘One Tree Hill’ stars claim they were ‘threatened’ into Maxim cover shoot

Sophia Bush, Hilarie Burton and Bethany Joy Lenz are getting candid about the not-so-glamorous moments during their time on “One Tree Hill.”

In Monday’s episode of their re-watch podcast, “Drama Queens,” the actors dived into the Season 4 storyline where Bush’s Brooke Davis takes photos of Rachel Gatina (Danneel Harris Ackles) for the cover of Maxim magazine’s “Hometown Hotties” issue.

Just one month after the episode aired in October 2006, the three women of “One Tree Hill” landed their own Maxim cover that they didn’t want to partake in — but they didn’t have a choice.

“We got told we had to do it,” Bush, 40, shared.

sophia bush one tree hill
In their rewatch podcast, the actors dived into the Season 4 storyline where Brooke Davis (played by Sophia Bush) takes photos of Rachel Gatina (Danneel Harris Ackles) for the cover of Maxim’s “Hometown Hotties” issue.

Bush and Burton, 40, claimed that show creator Mark Schwahn — who was accused of sexual harassment by the cast and crew in an open letter in 2017 — threatened to fire them if they refused to do the shoot.

Bush said that she didn’t want to do the magazine because her character Brooke, who was supposed to be 16 on the show, “had been so sexualized.”

“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 said. 

Sophia Bush on Maxim magazine cover
Sophia Bush on the cover of Maxim magazine.
Marcelo Krasilcic

“I literally got told: ‘If you don’t go and shoot this cover with your co-stars, 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,’ ” Bush continued.

Burton, who played Peyton Sawyer, said Schwahn told her that “no [magazine] wants you guys.”

“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?’ ” Burton shared.

Hilarie Burton, Bethany Joy Lenz
Hilarie Burton, Bethany Joy Lenz and Sophia Bush in Season 2 of “One Tree Hill.”
Fred Norris / © Warner Bros. / Courtesy: Everett Collection

“It was very much a, ‘No one wants you, the studio wants to cancel your show. You don’t start to generate some buzz and attract these male numbers, we’re dead and all your friends are going to lose their jobs,’ ” she added.

When Lenz, 41, shared that she was replaced by Harris Ackles for the shoot because she was told she was “too fat” to be on the cover, she left her co-stars shocked.

“They told me that they didn’t come to me because I was too fat,” the actress, who played Haley James Scott, said. “I wasn’t a ‘hot girl’ on the show anymore.”

Sophia Bush, center, Hilarie Burton, left, and Bethany Joy Lenz on the Toronto set of the medical drama "Good Sam.".
Sophia Bush, Hilarie Burton and Bethany Joy Lenz opened up about the behind-the-scenes of “One Tree Hill.”
Danielle Blancher/CBS via AP

Bush and Burton were stunned — admitting they were lied to and told that Lenz refused to take part.

“When I said I don’t want to do it, I was like, ‘But Joy’s not doing it! She said no. Why does she get to say no?’ They go, ‘Well she said no, so you have to say yes. She said no first,’ ” Bush shared.

“They scapegoated you to tell the three of us we couldn’t say no. We weren’t mad at you, but we were pissed about it.”

Bethany Joy Lenz as Haley, Chad Michael Murray as Lucas, Sophia Bush as Brooke; (back row l-r) James Lafferty as Nathan, Hilarie Burton as Peyton
Bethany Joy Lenz as Haley, Chad Michael Murray as Lucas, Sophia Bush as Brooke, James Lafferty as Nathan and Hilarie Burton as Peyton.
©The WB/Frank Ockenfels

The women also claimed that Schwahn showed up to the Maxim shoot and gifted Burton an iPod full of songs he thought she’d like — and he did it in front of Bush and Harris Ackles.

“He wanted Sophia to see it, to put her in her place, and he wanted Danneel to see it, because he was trying to make her jealous,” Burton said. “I was so embarrassed.”

Bush shared that this behavior made the environment on set “such a threat to safety.”

Hilarie Burton, Bethany Joy Lenz and Sophia Bush
Hilarie Burton, Bethany Joy Lenz and Sophia Bush claim they were forced into the Maxim magazine cover shoot.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartRadio

“At that time, I said, ‘No, I don’t want to do this’ and was told I had to. It was such a profound threat and a threat to be able to — honestly, even to have the ability to escape for a weekend, a place that at this stage, this season, I was leaving every chance I got,” Bush said.

“I would come into work, do my [scenes] and I wanted out. I wanted to go home, I wanted to be with my family. I wanted to be with my friends. I did not want to be on our set. It was not a safe place for me.”




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