15 Secrets Behind One Tree Hill You Had No Idea About

The popularity of modern teen dramas can be traced back to the early success of the primetime drama Beverly Hill, 90210. Since then, the late 1990s and 2000s saw a surge of shows aimed at the angst-riddled lives of young teens and adults trying to survive their final years in high school.

Amongst the many dramas released during this time stood the basketball-focused teen drama One Tree Hill. Though originally intended to be a movie instead of a TV show, creator Mark Schwahn eventually developed the long-running series following the lives of half-brothers Lucas and Nathan Scott. The show distinguished itself by having a sports-themed plot, an element missing in many of the other dramas where sports were often used as an occasional plot device. In fact, critics praised the show for having a more “masculine appeal” overall.

However, beneath the romance and drama of the plot hides unrevealed darker secrets that some fans may be unaware of. These stories include the truth behind casting choices, the actors’ disastrous personal lives, and the departure of major characters for shocking reasons.

New and loyal fans of this popular series will definitely be intrigued by the 15 Secrets Behind One Tree Hill You Had No Idea About.

Continue scrolling to keep reading

Click the button below to start this article in quick view

Start Now

15 Sophia Bush was Rejected Twice For The Role of Brooke

Finding the perfect actors and stressed for the cast of One Tree Hill was essential to the show. Although the casting of Lucas and Nathan took some time to get straight, they worked out perfectly in the end. However, actress Sophia Bush ran into some difficulties while trying to audition for the show and was almost passed over for the role of Brooke. In fact, she was forced to audition three times just to secure the part. Reportedly, she was rejected the first time for not being "sexy enough" and the second time for being "too sexy." Wow.

It’s a good thing she never gave up on the audition. Bush played the perfect Brooke and we can’t imagine anyone else filling her shoes.

14 Only One Cast Member was Actually a Teenager

One Tree Hill Cast Photo

Many teen dramas depict the struggle of kids trying to find their place in the world. Whether dealing with drugs, peer pressure, puberty, or romance, these teenagers learn to cope with their issues with the help of their friends and family. However, one of the more ironic factors of watching these teen dramas is that they are often not teenagers at all.

Similar to other shows like Dawson’s Creek and The OC, the actors portraying the young adults were 20+ years old. In the case of One Tree Hill, star James Lafferty was the only regular cast member who was actually a teenager at the time the show began. However, this did not last long as he turned 20 years old by the conclusion of season 2. So much for authenticity…

13 Hidden Pregnancy During the First Season

One Tree Hill Moira Kelly

Many mom-to-be actresses have faced some trying times when it came to their real-life pregnancies. Although some had the advantage of having their pregnancies incorporated into the storylines, others have been forced to hide them. Whether using oversized props, perfectly positioned plants or oversized costumes, these actresses work around their pregnancies to remain on the show.

Actress Moira Kelly, who played Lucas' mom Karen on One Tree Hill, was also faced with this dilemma when she found out she was pregnant during the first season. Although she also utilized various cover-ups while still on the show, she also faced another technique used to accommodate pregnant stars: being shipped off! In the storyline, Karen left to attend cooking school in Italy, giving Kelly time to have her baby and enjoy her maternity leave.

12 Chad Michael Murray Actually Sucked At Basketball

One Tree Hill Basketball Game

Basketball remained at the core of One Tree Hill through the show's run. The characters often hung out at the River Court (which, incidentally, was built just for the show), the Scott brothers were integral members of the Tree Hill Ravens, and Nathan went on to play in the NBA. In fact, the court used for the high school basketball games was the same court used by NBA legend Michael Jordan when he was in school.

Although Lucas Scott was portrayed as an exceptional player, star Chad Michael Murray was actually terrible at the game. Apparently they even had to hire a basketball coach to help him look believable on screen. In fact, there were many instances on set when scenes had to be repeatedly filmed because Murray would continuously missed shots. That’s just sad.

11 Hilarie Burton Almost Lost Her Hair Because of The Show

Over the course of a television series, fans will watch a character grow with the show. From waning love interests and heartbreak to traumatic events, characters change both emotionally and physically over the years.

Peyton Sawyer started off as a rebellious cheerleader with a tragic past. Over time, she learned to move past the deaths of her biological and adoptive mothers and became a more confident woman in the process. Through her growth, Peyton also underwent various physical changes, including her different popular hairstyles.

Unfortunately for actress Hilarie Burton, portraying the character took its toll on her. After many dye jobs and styles, Burton’s own hair was so badly damaged over the first two seasons that she was forced to cut it off. Although it seemed like a significant turn of maturity for Peyton, it was actually Burton trying not to go bald in real life.

10 Actor Paul Johansson Got Accosted by a Fan over His Character

One Tree Hill Dan Scott

There have been several instances when fans get so engrossed in a character that it makes it hard for them to differentiate between the actor and their role. In our article, 15 Times Fans Took Character Hate Way Too Far, we recounted numerous occasions when stars had been verbally and physically abused due to the hate for their onscreen personas.

Actor Paul Johansson suffered the same fate while portraying villain Dan Scott on One Tree Hill. Johansson even detailed that he once was accosted by a fan seemed to confuse him with this onscreen character. The fan struck him with her purse for being "so mean to that boy". Johansson was forced to remind the woman that Dan Scott wasn't real and he was just a paid actor.

Once again, Dan Scott is ruining the lives of everyone around him... including the actor that played him.

9 Skills was cut from the show because of Antwon Tanner's arrest

One Tree Hill Antwon Tanner

Antwon “Skills” Taylor (played by actor Antwon Tanner) began the series as one of the many friends of the Lucas was often hung out with everyone at the River Court. Over time, his storylines expanded to included love interests and his interest in attending college. While the character found more success as a coach of the Ravens, Tanner’s personal life took a turn when he was arrested in 2009.

Tanner was caught running a social security scam - selling numbers and ID cards. He was found guilty and had to serve a three-month prison sentence in 2010. The character’s appearance was eventually reduced to a recurring role and seen less through later seasons. He did make a return for the series finale; one of few characters who actually appeared in both the pilot and the finale.

8 The Real-Life Drama of Chad Michael Murray and Sophia Bush

Sophia Bush and Chad Michael Murray as Brooke Davis and Lucas Scott in One Tree Hill

It is no secret that celebrities have often fallen in love with their co-stars while filming for TV or movies. Fans are often excited to find out their favorite onscreen couple is dating in real life. When Chad Michael Murray and Sophia Bush fell in love a year after the show began, their relationship grew pretty quickly. By 2004, they were engaged and married a year later to the delight of millions of fans. However, as we reported previously, their relationship soon turned sour when allegations arose of Murray cheating on Bush with socialite Paris Hilton on the set of House of Wax.

However, Murray and Bush separated just a few months after their marriage and were divorced by 2006, with both stars still in their early twenties. Though his experience with an on-set relationship ended poorly, Murray still ended up dating another coworker - one of the younger cheerleader extras - for several years after his divorce.

7 Murray and Bush's Divorce Ruined Brooke and Lucas' relationship

One Tree Hill Murray Bush Burton

Understandably, the work dynamic between two exes will change considerably after the relationship ends. Though Bush claimed that their personal relationship would not affect their on-screen chemistry, fans knew that things were bound to change.

Though some fans loved Brooke and Lucas' relationship, others found it to be the result of their real-life chemistry. We discussed in our article about worst onscreen couples that “the couple presents perhaps one of the most blatant examples of pairing two characters together purely because the actors were (briefly) involved. Brooke and Lucas had absolutely nothing in common, other than finding each other attractive.”

Hilarie Burton, who portrays Peyton, has admitted that, at one point, she was told that Brooke and Lucas would end up together and Peyton would end up with Jake. Whether the result of their real-life breakup or the end of the couple’s storyline, they eventually break up by the end of season 4 and Lucas and Peyton rode off into the sunset together.

6 No One in The Entire Cast Has Been In Every Single Episode

One Tree Hill ran for an astounding nine years with 187 total episodes. Throughout its airing, the show had seen many casting additions and losses, including two of its favorite lead characters leaving the show.

However, an interesting fact is that no one in the entire cast had appeared in every episode of One Tree Hill. Sophia Bush has come close to performing in every episode - except for the pilot, since she was cast after the show had begun filming. By the conclusion of the series, several of the original main actors had been either reduced to recurring roles or left the show entirely. Even the final episode of the series did not include the entire cast, to the disappointment of many longstanding fans.

5 Chad Michael Murray was Almost The Star of The OC

The OC Cast

Chad Michael Murray definitely shone as lead character Lucas Scott and seemed perfect for the role. However, his fate was almost changed when he was originally set to play the lead character in rival teen drama The OC.

Slated to play Chino bad boy Ryan Atwood, Murray declined the role to instead audition for One Tree Hill. However, showrunners had other plans for him that didn’t include the role of Lucas. Schwahn envisioned Murray as Nathan, likely due to his past jerk roles in Dawson's Creek and Gilmore Girls, but Murray connected deeply with Lucas, who had been abandoned by his father. Murray was given the chance to play the role he wanted and things worked out pretty well.

Incidentally, actor Jeffrey Lafferty wanted to play Lucas but, since Murray was already given the role, he auditioned for Nathan and won the part.

4 Sophia Bush Dated Two More Co-Stars After Her Divorce

One Tree Hill Hospital Scene

In the aftermath of her divorce, Sophia Bush decided to move on with her life and try dating again. However, she followed in the footsteps of her ex-husband and decided her ideal dating options were within the show’s cast. Does no one learn from their mistakes?

Bush dated James Lafferty (onscreen half-brother of Lucas Scott) from 2008 to 2009. However, her pursuit of love did not stop there. She also dated co-star Austin Nichols on and off again for almost four years. In fact, Nichols was so inclined to be with Bush that he accepted the role of Julian Baker on One Tree Hill.

Sadly, their relationship also came to an end while still they were still co-stars and on-screen love interests, two years after they began dating again.

3 Rumors that Burton and Murray left over money

Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton on One Tree Hill

One Tree Hill certainly took a blow when its central pairing of Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton decided to depart the series after season 6. Peyton and Lucas drove out of Tree Hill with their baby, Sawyer, and the little family was never seen again.

The reasons for departing appeared to center around contract negotiations. Murray told fans in a video that “They're not bringing me back next year ... because they want to save money.” However, Burton advised that her departure was a mutual decision between herself and the show.

Although Burton never returned to the show, Murray did come back as a special guest for the final season. Based on what has come out in recently about the working conditions on set, Burton was probably right to get out when she did.

2 The Notorious "Dog Eating Dan's Heart" Scene

One Tree Hill Dog Eats Heart

Numerous TV shows have become desperate for a ratings spike and included some unbelievable storylines to boost viewership. One Tree Hill is no stranger to this venture: crazy nannies, crazy stalkers, countless car crashes. However, the show’s most notoriously ridiculous plot revolved around Dan having his transplant heart eaten by a dog.

In an effort to make the long-despised villain Dan Scott suffer even more, season 6 brought about the possibility of his heart transplant, only to have his hopes dashed by this ridiculous occurrence. The Ringer did a hilarious "oral history" of the birth of the scene, and it seems to have come out of writers' room fatigue and hysteria. At least everyone involved seems to know how hilariously absurd this scene was. Curiously, the article did not feature any recollections from Paul Johansson's two scene partners... the dog and Chad Michael Murray.

Whether you loved it or hated it, this scene still stands as one of the craziest moments in tv history.

1 Showrunner Mark Schwahn Accused of Harassment

One Tree Hill Showrunner Mark Schwahn

The recent rise in numerous cases of sexual harassment in Hollywood has sent shockwaves throughout the entertainment industry. More and more celebrities are coming forward to share their experiences, and the aftermath has been devastating to the careers of many prominent stars.

Even the cast of One Tree Hill has been affected by these revelations as showrunner Mark Schwahn has been the latest to be accused of sexual harassment. As we reported earlier this month, the cast - including Sophia Bush, Hilarie Burton, Bethan Joy Lenz, and many of their male co-stars - came forward to show their support after former writer Audrey Wauchope shared her experience on Twitter.

In a letter that appeared in Variety, they stated, "Mark Schwahn’s behavior over the duration of the filming of One Tree Hill was something of an 'open secret.' Many of us were, to varying degrees, manipulated psychologically and emotionally. More than one of us is still in treatment for post-traumatic stress. Many of us were put in uncomfortable positions and had to swiftly learn to fight back, sometimes physically."

These claims are currently under investigation and E! Network, the home of Schwahn's current show The Royals, its taking the allegations very seriously.


Do you have any other shocking One Tree Hill trivia to share? Leave it in the comments!

More in Lists