Pop Culture

Mischa Barton: I had a 'full-on breakdown'

Mischa Barton discussed her past psychiatric treatment with People magazine.

Former "O.C." star Mischa Barton had a "full-on breakdown," she tells People magazine in a cover story this week.

"It was terrifying," said Barton, now 27. "Straight out of 'Girl, Interrupted.'"

The magazine's story begins with an unnerving description of a terrified Barton in 2009, strapped to a gurney and threatening to kill herself. Her family had just staged an intervention due to the 23-year-old's nonstop partying and erratic behavior, and she'd taken a powerful sedative and blacked out. She was eventually committed to the psychiatric ward at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. where she was held against her will for four days.

"I was never suicidal," she told the magazine, calling her threat to harm herself just a "slip of the tongue." "I was just overworked and depressed." And she said the time spent in the psychiatric ward turned out for the best, giving her needed time to be away from "work, my family and all the pressure."

Barton had ridden the heights of fame when starring as Marissa Cooper on "The O.C.", but the everpresent media attention was hard to handle. "It was like this fascination switch on all of us, aimed especially at me," she said. 

And she helped create the flashy headlines. "I was living a jet-set lifestyle," Barton said. "There were a lot of enablers around, people to fly you around and to make it all possible."

Her weight was also a public issue. "It was always, 'She's too skinny, she must be sick,'" Barton said. "Then it was, 'She's too big.' I was never the right weight." 

Things are much brighter for her now. Barton has a London boutique, a handbag line, just filmed a TV pilot, and also stars in a new supernatural thriller, "I Will Follow You into the Dark." 

"I've learned a lot," the actress told the magazine. "I'm stronger now."