Things You Might Not Know About The Cast Of One Tree HillPublished on August 19, 2019. Updated August 20, 2020
From 2003 to 2012 One Tree Hill ran for nine seasons and 187 episodes. In that time the iconic teen drama catapulted the careers of its cast, including many of its core young stars: Chad Michael Murray, Hilarie Burton, Sophia Bush, James Lafferty and Bethany Joy Lenz, and in the frenzy around the show, a lot of interesting tidbits about the lives of the cast have been shared. Although it has been years since the series came to an end, these stars still have a large legion of loyal fans who can’t get enough of One Tree Hill’s stars, so here are some things you probably didn’t know about the talented cast:
30. Chad Michael Murray: Difficult Childhood
When Chad was only 10, his mother abandoned his family, leaving his dad Rex Murray to raise himself and his three brothers, Rex, Nick, and Brandon. He has stated before that his abandonment issues were the main reason he took the part of Lucas Scott in One Tree Hill after first being offered the part of Ryan Atwood in The O.C. He got his first job when he was 10 delivering newspapers and when he was 14 he began working as a janitor at a doughnut shop.
29. Hilarie Burton: Candy Girl
With her husband, actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and their friend actor Paul Rudd and his wife, the television actress owns a candy store called Samuel’s Sweet Shop in Rhinebeck, NY. They bought it after the owner died and decided to keep it going before it turned into something else.
28. Sophia Bush: Attended An All Girls High School
Bush grew up in Pasadena, California, and for her high school years, she attend the Westridge School for Girls where she discovered her love for acting. “Part of my school’s requirement was to do a play. I was really irritated because I wanted to play volleyball and I had to go and do this play. But there was a moment after the performance when I realized I had gone and been somebody else. I thought, ‘If I could do this for the rest of my life, I am set.’ It was like love at first sight,” she said. After high school, she went on to USC where she majored in journalism and was a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.
27. James Lafferty: Actual Basketball Star
Unlike his on-screen brother Chad Michael Murray who needed a personal basketball coach for One Tree Hill, Lafferty was already very good at the sport before casting, which is a large reason he landed the role of Nathan Scott. He was a star player for his high school team in Hemet, California, and won himself the MVP award.
26. Hilarie Burton: One Tree Hill Connected Love Life
From 2004 to 2009, Burton was married to Ian Prange, an assistant director on One Tree Hill and the son of one of the show’s executive producers Greg Prange. After their divorce, Burton was looking for love again and this time it was thanks to her longtime costar Danneel Ackles (nee Harris) that she found her happily ever after. Danneel (who played Rachel Gatina) on the series and her husband, Supernatural actor Jensen Ackles, who worked with Jeffrey Dean Morgan on the hit series, set the two up! The four apparently went out to a bar for the set up and Burton and Morgan hit it off so well, they have been together ever since that night! They have never confirmed a marriage but have welcomed a son, Gus, and daughter George Virginia.
25. Moira Kelly – Iconic Role
While there is no doubt that actress Moira Kelly solidified herself as one of TV’s favorite moms with her role as Karen Roe in One Tree Hill, many don’t realize she played another very iconic role. In 1994, Kelly was the voice of Nala in the Disney classic film The Lion King. She reprised the role in 1998’s The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride.
24. Bethany Joy Lenz – The Pregnancy
In season one of One Tree Hill, actress Moira Kelly became pregnant just as the show was picked up, but producers decided they didn’t want to write the pregnancy in which led to her character’s trip to a cooking school. While she had to hide her pregnancy, things were different in season eight when Bethany Joy Lenz became pregnant in real-life. Instead of hiding it, the pregnancy was written into Haley and Nathan’s storyline to be expecting their second child.
23. Jackson Brundage – Fake Teeth
While filming One Tree Hill, Brundage actually had to wear fake teeth for some seasons because he lost his two front teeth and the new ones were coming in. In the show, his character Jamie was actually younger than Brundage is in real life, too young at the time to be losing teeth, so he wore the fake ones.
22. Robert Buckley – The Price is Right
Back when he was a college freshman, in his first semester at University of California, San Diego, Buckley appeared on The Price is Right, where he didn’t do so well. In an interview, Buckley revealed that three days before he wanted to dye his hair blonde but it ended up being orange when he appeared on The Price is Right. He also explained that he bid $69 in the disastrous outing on the popular game show in an effort to get back at the guy beside him who always bid $420.
21. Sophia Bush: Tragic Losses
Sophia Bush is a bubbly, optimistic type of person; however, she has gone through a few tragedies in recent years. In 2011, her second-cousin Christina-Taylor Green was killed in an attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona. Green, who was only nine at the time, was the youngest victim; the shooter killed six people and injured 14. From January 2013 until February 2014, Bush dated Google program manager Dan Fredinburg and he tragically died in April, 2015 in the massive Nepal earthquake while he was climbing Mount Everest. She continues to talk about the loss and memory of Dan through her social media.
20. Shantel VanSanten – Becoming an Actress
Before Shantel got her role on One Tree Hill she never envisioned herself as an actress. Growing up that was never her dream. During an interview with Seventeen magazine, VanSanten said, “I went from thinking I wanted to be a nun at one point, to going to college for journalism! I was involved in the arts and theater from early on, but it wasn’t until I took an acting class when I was 17 that I realized how passionate I felt about it.” When she originally auditioned for the show it was for the character of Alexis, but of course, she landed the role of Quinn James instead.
19. Chad Michael Murray – Nose Job Rumors
When he was younger Murray had to undergo a surgery which involved the removal of part of his small intestine because of a football injury he sustained. He also had to have surgery on his nose early on in his career when he was “jumped” in a Burger King, resulting in a broken nose. Murray gets very angry, however, when people accuse him of getting a nose job for his modeling and acting career. “I got jumped in a Burger King when I was 18 and had my nose put on the other side of my face. It was three guys – what the hell was I supposed to do? The doctors didn’t even bother running X-rays. They just reset it. But it wasn’t a nose job – I hate the fact that people say it was a nose job!” he shared in a 2004 interview.
18. Tyler Hilton – Getting Sober
Tyler Hilton was one of the greatest additions to the One Tree Hill cast in the role of Chris Keller. As an actor and musician he brought a lot to the table, but behind his humor and charm, the star was battling a very difficult personal struggle. In 2019, Hilton revealed he was four years sober and called it “the scariest thing I’ve ever done” after adopting a hard partying lifestyle early thanks to spending his teens and early twenties on the road. “It’s hard, especially if you love booze! But I wanted something more. I wanted to stop being mediocre. I felt like my life was in a really boring loop — hungover in the morning and busy at night. Plus, it was a huge time waster. I finally realized there was so much more to life,” he said of making the decision to cut out alcohol.
17. Austin Nichols – Junior Olympian
When he was only two years old, Nichols began competitive waterskiing thanks to the influence of his professional trick water skier mother. In 1997 Nichols represented the US Junior Water Ski Team in the Pan-Am championships, and was also a member of the Junior US Olympic Water Skiing team. By 13 years old he was ranked at third in the world and was on the path to becoming a professional water skier before injuring his shoulder so badly he had to give up the sport.
16. Daneel Ackles – Family Business
Following her role as Rachel Gatina on the popular series, Daneel Ackles took on smaller roles to instead focus on her family and an interesting new business they started together! In May, 2010 the actress married Supernatural actor Jensen Ackles and in May 2013 they welcomed their first daughter and then in December 2016 the couple welcomed twins. In 2018, the couple along with Daneel’s brother and their parents opened up a new Texas brewery called Family Business Beer Co. Now, much of Danneel’s focus is on the brewery and they did so well by the end of 2018 they already had plans to open a second location in 2019!
15. James Lafferty and Stephen Colletti – Everyone is Doing Great
After One Tree Hill came to an end, much of the cast remained friends but James Lafferty, who played Nathan Scott, and Stephen Colletti, who played Chase Adams, have remained the best of friends. After developing a friendship on the set of OTH but not being able to actually work together too often, the two decided to focus on working together after the show came to an end and now they have written and created their own series, Everyone is Doing Great. The two created the series and also star in it with the characters Seth played by Colletti and Jeremy played by Lafferty. Seth and Jeremy are two actors who found success on a hit vampire TV series Eternal, but struggled to find the same success after the show came to an end. At the moment the pair are still pitching the show to festivals and screenings hoping that it will be picked up by a network.
14. Hilarie Burton – Farm Girl
Hilarie Burton’s life has taken quite an interesting trajectory. After being raised in Sterling, Virginia, she got her big break as a VJ for MTV’s Total Request Live and sent her on her path to One Tree Hill. While she has continued to act since the series came to an end, her life has changed dramatically. Burton and her family with Jeffrey Dean Morgan live on a farm near Rhineback, New York which is where she spends most of her time now. The actress has eight alpacas, an emu, chickens, ducks, three Highland cattle, dairy cows, five mini donkeys, and two dogs on 100 acres of farmland and said, “I have lived in environments before where your wealth is determined by what shoes you wear and what car you drive and how big your house is. Wealth here is so evenly distributed with the landscape and with the beauty and community that it makes me happy to raise my children like this. I want them to value landscape over label.”
13. Robert Buckley – Economist
Buckley grew up in West Covina, California and after high school he decided to go to the University of California, San Diego where he graduated with a degree in economics. He worked for a year as an economic consultant, before leaving the business world to move back to L.A. to pursue an acting career.
12. Sophia Bush – Activist
On One Tree Hill, Sophia Bush’s Brooke Davis spear-headed many important campaigns and clubs in high school to being a successful business woman, and in real life, Bush is quite similar to those aspects of her career. In recent years she has become known for her activism superficially for women’s right and gay rights, including as a founding member of the resistance movement Time’s Up. ” I’m not interested if I have to censor my voice, which I use to defend people and to fight for what’s right or to talk about issues like equality that shouldn’t be up for debate in the first place. If I have to censor myself for a job then I’ll get a new job. I think that there’s this assumption with entertainment, especially, where people look at you and think that your life is perfect and that that’s my life but the way I see it is my job is my job,” she has said about her consistent work as an activist.
11. Bethany Joy Lenz – Singer
Fans of the series know that Haley’s major character arc is around her singing career, but that almost never happened! It was later revealed that when Bethany Joy Lenz was cast as Haley, showrunner Mark Schwahn didn’t even know she could sing and only found out after he heard her singing in a parking lot. After that he gave her character a singing career which created much of the drama in the early seasons.
10. Chad Michael Murray – Big Break
Chad stated that he “was always an entertainer,” but things started moving forward in his career when he won a scholarship to attend a modeling convention in Orlando. He met an agent who encouraged him to go to L.A. so after graduation in 1999, he went, got a manager and landed the part of Tristan in Gilmore Girls.
9. Austin Nichols – Film Buff
In One Tree Hill, Nichols’s character is a film producer who is obsessed with films, and telling the perfect story through cinema, and as it turns out, Nichols is a film buff like his iconic character. He has stated that he takes a notebook with him to every movie he sees. “I take it to the movies and write down who does the music, edits, directs and how long the film is,” and has also said, “If I’m not working, I spend almost half my day at theaters or watching DVDs at my house.”
8. Jackson Brundage – Paying for College
Jackson Brundage might have been getting a good pay day thanks to his role as Jamie Scott at a young age, but he found a way to make some extra cash for his college fund while on set. Due to the presence of such a young actor, the One Tree Hill team set up a swear jar on set to discourage the older people from swearing around Brundage and if they did they had to put $20 in the jar. It may not have worked so well, but at least now he has a college fund! Chad Michael Murray reportedly once owed him $100 after one rehearsal and Mark Schwahn has had to stop in the middle of a speech to pay him. Now that he is 18, many are wondering if Brundage still has the swear jar money!
7. Chad Michael Murray’s Surprise Family
After a 7 year long engagement with a former One Tree Hill extra Kenzie Dalton, the pair abruptly called the whole relationship off in August 2013. In late 2014 Murray quietly began dating his Chosen co-star Sarah Roemer and in January 2015 it was shockingly announced that not only were he and Roemer married, they were expecting their first child. They welcomed a son in May 2015 and in March 2017 they had a second child, a daughter.
6. Lee Norris – From Minkus to Mouth
Lee Norris’ Marvin “Mouth” McFadden was one of the most underrated characters of One Tree Hill, and many didn’t realize he was the same actor who starred in the first season of the beloved series Boy Meets World as Stuart Minkus in the first season. Norrs was only 12 when he got a call about the role, and revealed it was only supposed to be for two episodes but they loved him so much they kept him on. “I got a call from the executive producer,” Norris said, “and he said, ‘I’m doing a new show, and there’s a role in it I know you could do.’ That ended up being “Boy Meets World” and the character of Minkus. I came out originally to do two episodes, and they just loved the character so much they just made me a series regular for the first season.”
5. Shantel VanSanten – Brief Reality TV Stint
Shantel VanSanten didn’t realize she wanted to act from an early age, and instead began her career in the spotlight as a model. At only 15 she was signed to Page Parkes Management as a model and at 20 years old a very brief stint in the short-lived NBC reality series Sports Illustrated: Swimsuit Model Search. Despite obviously being gorgeous, she was eliminated in the first episode.
4. Sophia Bush – Costar Romances
By now, every One Tree Hill fan is well aware of Sophia Bush and Chad Michael Murray’s whirlwind marriage and separation from 2004 to 2005, but that didn’t make Bush want to stop dating her costars. Many aren’t aware that from 2008-2009 she actually dated her other One Tree Hill costar James Lafferty, and went on to date her One Tree Hill on-screen husband Austin Nichols on and off for nearly seven months. After she began starring on the popular series Chicago P.D. she also dated her costar on that series, Jesse Lee Soffer, but the two split after two years.
3. James Lafferty – Missed Role
When he was 18 years old and had just finished high school, Lafferty had a screen test for the film The Perfect Score, starring Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson. Unfortunately, he didn’t get the role because the director thought he was too young. Instead the role of Matty Matthews went to his eventual One Tree Hill co-star Bryan Greenberg and only a few months later Lafferty landed his huge OTH role.
2. Paul Johansson – Life Imitates Art
Paul Johansson had a long run as Dan Scott on One Tree Hill, and while he was the character fans loved to hate, it turns out he was much too convincing as the manipulative and abusive father of Lucas and Nathan. Paul revealed that back in the show’s early seasons he was accosted by a woman who hit him with her purse and yelled at him for being “so mean to that boy” referring to Chad Michael Murray’s Lucas Scott.
1. Sophia Bush – Missed Role
She may have a very respectable career as a television actress, but her movie career could have been so much better had she not been replaced in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. Bush was initially cast as Kate Brewster and even filmed for a whole week before she was replaced by Claire Danes. The director said he made his decision because he thought Bush was “too young” for the role.