Mischa Barton shares the sad reason why she decided to leave The O.C.

It’s been nearly a decade since Mischa Barton last appeared on our TV’s as Orange County’s ‘It Girl’ Marissa Cooper.

Engulfed with fame and money since the ripe age of 17, Barton’s fame was riddled with scandal and personal struggles since the moment she stepped into the spotlight. Problems with alcohol resulted in a DUI in 2007, and psychiatric issues saw the star kept in involuntary confinement for two weeks in 2009.

Curiously, Marissa Cooper’s on-screen troubles always seemed to mirror those of Mischa Barton’s. Post continues after video…

Video via FOX

And then, so quietly and so swiftly, Barton slipped out of the public gaze. She retreated from the glamorous red carpets and said farewell to Hollywood, the city that had witnessed her meteoric rise and her tumbling fall from grace. Speaking to People Magazine, Barton says she’s settled into a more humble life in London, with a newfound respect for her own privacy.

“When I did The O.C. I think I just got to the point where I just was like, ‘I’m not sure I’m enjoying this anymore’.”

“I just got to this place where I needed space,” Barton said about leaving the show which made her famous, The O.C., “I needed to rediscover what I loved about being an actress because, at a certain point, I was robbed of the fun aspects by being that much under the microscope.”

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Of her legal indiscretions, Barton is happy to be where she is today, irrespective of her tumultuous past.

“It was one of those times that things culminated for better or worse,” she says. “So I moved to Europe and was able to take time and really explore who I was and who I wanted to be.”

"I moved to Europe and was able to take time and really explore who I was and who I wanted to be." (Image via FOX.)

"I needed that time for myself to really do that self-exploration and get back in touch with my roots.

"I just needed time to be me and be a regular person. That balance is important. I am nothing but happy to have had that time in my life."

Barton was most recently a contestant on the U.S. Dancing With The Stars, finishing in 11th place after being eliminated on last night's episode. Her final dance was a tribute to her experience on The O.C., an opportunity she reflects on with gratitude.

"I was 17 years old and fresh out of high school in New York when I got cast on The O.C.," said Barton, "It was a huge time in my life and I'm grateful for it. Now, I can embrace it and be happy about it."

Shortly after her elimination, Barton told the crowd "It's been a wonderful experience. It really has."

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