Long before either of them were famous, Rachel Bilson and Rami Malek were just two aspiring actors attending Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California. So when Bilson noticed that Malek was also finding success in his career, she decided to post a fun throwback photo of her old pal.
Little did she know that Malek wouldn't exactly be thrilled to come across the blast-from-the-past snapshot.
In a new episode of Dax Shepard's "Armchair Expert" podcast released on Monday, the "Hart of Dixie" star explained how she got an unexpected reaction from Malek when she shared a photo of them on Instagram.
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"Rami was a good friend of mine. We were in the same crew. We did (the play) 'The Crucible' together senior year, we were the leads in it together," she said.
The 39-year-old came across an old photo of herself and Malek from their senior class trip to Broadway and decided to share it on social media.
"It's the dorkiest picture of both of us but I throw it up 'cause it's funny and I think it's so important to be able to make fun of yourself. And he had a gold chain and I'm like 'Rami, where did you get the gold chain?' ... I was just being funny, we were good friends," she explained.
Bilson went on to say that she noticed a direct message from her old pal a few days later and was surprised to see that he wasn't a fan of the photo.
"It wasn't like 'Hey, how are you? It was like 'I would really appreciate if you take that down, I'm a really private person,'" she said.
At that point, Bilson got nervous and worried that she'd upset Malek, but proceeded to remove the photo from her account.
"I guess he didn't like the photo of himself and I'm friends with his stylist and she was like 'Well, it's not a great picture of him,'" she recalled but explained that she didn't exactly look her best in the photo either. "I had some weird chola thing going on, it was what it was."
After removing the photo, Bilson wrote back to Malek and shared a thoughtful apology.
"I even wrote to him, a really nice message like 'I'm so sorry. Go get the Oscar (award that he was nominated for at the time). You're doing amazing. And I never hear anything back, which is fine," she said.
At this point in the conversation, Shepard was confused and wondered why Malek felt so strongly about the photo.
"No one was in blackface in the photo, right? It's not like a career (ruining photo)," he said.
"It was as if someone was, that was definitely how it felt. But I was super bummed 'cause he was always so nice and we were good friends. I'm a big fan of not taking yourself seriously, especially at that level of fame and talent," she replied. "But look, he wants to be super respected, it's his thing so I respected it, I took it down and I was just a little bummed at how it was handled. I'll have to show you the picture."
Shepard was excited to see the photo and said he'd likely "find it adorable."
"I think it's adorable and the gold chain? It's in fashion now. He was ahead of the times," she said.