‘One Tree Hill’ Stars Recall Being Forced to Do Maxim Cover by Bosses

Hilarie Burton, Bethany Joy Lenz, and Sophia Bush - 2022 iHeartRadio Music Festival
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Fans of One Tree Hill will remember the moment Hilarie Burton, Sophia Bush, and Danneel Ackles appeared on Maxim magazine back in 2006. The men’s magazine is known for its sexy photos of trending celebrities, so when a trio of stars from The CW teen drama graced its cover, it was a big deal. But apparently, the cast members themselves were less enthused behind the scenes.

Burton, Bush, and Bethany Joy Lenz now have an iHeartRadio podcast called Drama Queens where they dissect each episode of the show. In the November 28 episode, “It’s a Fiasco – Ep 404,” the topic of the infamous cover came up, which was featured in the episode. During their chat, Burton and Bush noted that they initially tried to turn down the cover, but they were told participating was not optional.

Burton (who played Peyton) recalled a production meeting where the idea was presented as a make-or-break situation for the show. “We were given this very friendly soft pitch: ‘Look, all the other shows have been on the cover of every single magazine, and no one wants you guys. You finally have someone who wants you, and you’re really going to turn your nose up at that?’” the actress recalls a producer saying.

“We got told we had to do it,” Bush (who played Brooke) said. “Because Brooke had been so sexualized on the show and the whole idea of this Hometown Hottie was Rachel’s [Harris’ character] storyline, I was like, ‘If the girls want to do it, that’s great. I don’t. I have gone to battle trying to make Brooke less of this thing that you guys have tried to force me into. I don’t want to do it.’”

One Tree Hill

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She continued, “I literally got told: ‘If you don’t go and shoot this cover with your co-stars, we will guarantee that you will never be let out for a press day, a movie, an event, any of your charities — we will keep you here forever.’”

Lenz, who starred as Haley, didn’t appear on the cover, but when she revealed why, the others were shocked.

“They told me that they didn’t come to me because I was too fat, and I just wasn’t the ‘hot girl,’” she noted.

One Tree Hill creator and showrunner Mark Schwahn was accused of sexual misconduct in 2017 by both the writers and the cast.