Mischa Barton is doing well after recovering from a harrowing nervous breakdown and drug addiction a few years ago. Barton, 27, fell into a downward spiral of alcohol and drug abuse six years ago after the pressures of early fame and constant media scrutiny led to a nervous breakdown.
"It was a full-on breakdown," Barton told People Oct. 16. "Straight out of ‘Girl, Interrupted.’ Story of my life. I was under enormous pressure. It was terrifying."
Adding to the pressure was the nonstop tabloid stories about her weight. When Mischa first starred on the hit TV series "The O.C." in 2003, she was a tall, skinny 16-year-old. Her waif-like frame fueled rumors she was anorexic.
A few years later, when Barton gained weight while struggling with alcoholism and drug addiction, she was immediately fat-shamed by the media and by Internet trolls.
When you’re 16, you’re not what you are at 25. I was really young and just had not filled out at all. Not everybody stays the same body type. It was always ‘She’s too skinny, she must be sick.’ Then it was, ‘She’s too big.’ I was never the right weight.”
In 2007, Mischa was arrested for DUI, which followed other reports about her numerous visits to rehab and psychiatric facilities. In 2008, she was reportedly dropped by her talent agency.
Barton's struggles came to a head in July 2009, when she was forcibly hospitalized under Section 5150 of the California Welfare & Institutions Code, which enables authorities to detain a person for up to 72 hours if they present a danger to themselves (the same thing happened to Britney Spears in 2008).
The bizarre episode stirred speculation that Barton was suicidal and spotlighted her drug and alcohol-addiction problems. Mischa now insists she was never suicidal, merely stressed-out and exhausted. Still, she concedes she went through a low period before she was placed under psychiatric hold.
“I was never suicidal,” she said. “I was just overworked and depressed. But one slip of the tongue in a heightened moment and you find yourself in that situation.”
Barton, who's staging a comeback with new film and TV projects, says she has grown a lot after conquering her demons. “I needed to take this time for me,” she said. “I’ve learned a lot. I’m stronger now and excited for what’s ahead.”