Mischa Barton - Mischa Barton: 'Fame Made Me Suffer Terrifying Breakdown'

Actress Mischa Barton has broken her silence about her "terrifying" 2009 breakdown, insisting her life simply spiralled out of control as she struggled to adjust to Hollywood stardom.

The London-born star rocketed to fame in 2003, at the age of 16, when she landed a lead role on Tv drama The O.C., and she quickly became a staple on the Los Angeles party scene with former wildchild pals Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Richie.

She tells People magazine, "Almost overnight it was like this switch had been turned on. It was like this fascination switch on all of us (The O.C. castmates), aimed especially at me. We thought, 'Work hard, play hard'. It was a train I could not get off of. When you're young, you can do it, but after a while, it's going to come crashing down on you."

Barton's hard-partying led to a charge of driving under the influence (Dui) in 2007 and a court-ordered stint in rehab, but it wasn't until 2009 that her life really came crashing down when her family staged an intervention and she was hospitalised and placed on an involuntary psychiatric hold.

The actress reveals she suffered a "full-on breakdown" due to stress and the "enormous" pressure of fame, and although the situation was "terrifying", Barton is adamant she meant nothing by a threat she once made to take her own life.

She explains, "I was never suicidal, I was just overworked and depressed. But one slip of the tongue in a heightened moment and you find yourself in that situation (under psychiatric hold).

"It was an eye-opener. I was deeply hurt at first, and then I accepted this was time I needed to be away from work, my family and all the pressure. I had been through the wringer."

Now 27 and drug-free, Barton refuses to classify herself as an addict and reveals she still allows herself a drink every now and then.

She adds, "I have a glass of wine with dinner. It's just moderation, really... I've learned a lot. I'm stronger now, and I'm excited for what's ahead."

Barton is also not afraid to shy away from her troubled past - she recently courted controversy by posing for a Tyler Shields photoshoot, in which she is featured attempting suicide and rolling around a kitchen floor surrounded by what looks like cocaine.


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