Mischa Barton

Just over 10 years after the debut of The O.C., the show's one-time breakout starMischa Barton is opening up about the struggles she faced from the instant fame.

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A few years into filming the Fox drama, Barton, who was 17 when she was cast, began to get into some trouble. "We thought, 'Work hard, play hard,'" she tells People  in this week's cover story. In late 2007, Barton was arrested and charged with DUI and possession of marijuana. "I really am disappointed in myself," she said at the time. "I don't intend to do something this stupid again." 

Nearly two years later, police removed Barton from her L.A. home and took her to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where she was under an involuntary 5150 hold after she threatened to kill herself. At the time Barton blamed it on wisdom tooth surgery, but now tells the magazine a different story. "It was a full-on breakdown... I was under enormous pressure." Barton says. "It was always, 'She's too skinny, she must be sick.' Then it was, 'She's too big.' I was never the right weight." 

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 Barton, 27, says she's doing much better today. "I've learned a lot," she says. "I'm stronger now."