It was the summer of 2003 when the world was introduced to a cultural phenomenon they had no idea they needed: The O.C. The TV show introduced audiences to words like “Newpsie,” killer indie tunes, and a sassy Seth Cohen-loving party girl with a hidden heart of gold played to perfection by Rachel Bilson.
Long before we met Summer Roberts (and long before she made a name for herself as a fashion icon), show business was a part of Bilson’s life. The Southern California native’s dad is a writer/director/producer, her grandfather is a director, her great-grandfather was a producer, and her great-grandmother was a screenwriter. As she told Nylon, she decided to give an acting career a shot after a quick stint at junior college.
After The O.C. wrapped in 2007, Bilson went on to land starring roles in a handful of movies, one being the action sci-fi adventure Jumper. On that film, she met and co-starred alongside Star Wars’ Hayden Christensen, and the two were an item until they split in late 2017.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at Rachel Bilson, the star who captured all of our hearts with her first utterance of the forever iconic “Ew” on The O.C.
Rachel Bilson's got a major passion for fashion
For some stars, especially in the age of social media, the pursuit of other creative ventures outside of their acting careers comes around due to popularity and follower count, but Rachel Bilson hit the acting scene long before the days of Instagram and TikTok. The same can be said for her passion for fashion. Bilson told Nylon that her interest in style began “at a very young age,” as she always wanted to be the one to pick out her own clothes when she was little. She explained to the publication that she loves how “creative and expressive” she can be with fashion.
Enter ShoeMint, which was the line of affordable yet fashionable shoes Bilson released in 2011 with stylist Nicole Chavez and footwear mogul Steve Madden. Chatting with PopSugar about the range, Bilson called herself completely “shoe obsessed” and noted how the right pair of footwear can really take an outfit to the next level. On top of her love of shoes, Bilson also spent some time as the guest editor for the since-shuttered Piperlime.
Needless to say, fashion is very much her thing. So much so, that when Refinery29 asked her to name “the dream characteristics” of her ideal house, she wasted no time talking about the “huge closet” she wants. “Like, those serious ones that make up a whole, huge room,” she said. “Or, the one from Clueless where it rotates when you push a button.” Sigh. We can totally relate.
The O.C. creator and Rachel Bilson have a strong bond
Is it just us or does your heart still skip a beat whenever you hear those first few chords of Phantom Planet’s “California”? As Complex recalls, primetime drama The O.C. was just the kind of show to influence its generation as it was the “number-one rated new TV drama among 18-to-34 year-olds in the 2003 – 2004 TV season” and raked in nearly 10 million viewers per episode at its height. Unsurprisingly, being a part of this hit series was a big deal for Rachel Bilson. As she told SheKnows in 2019, “[The O.C.] gave me everything, and I’m still super close to Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage and I would do anything with them in a heartbeat.”
Speaking of her bond with Schwartz, Bilson has quite a unique connection to The O.C.’s creator. As Schwartz recalled to InStyle, Bilson was the person who introduced him to his wife, Jill Stonerock. And what do you know, Bilson and Stonerock just so happen to be close friends. So close, in fact, that Bilson acted as maid of honor at Stonerock and Schwartz’s wedding in 2008. It sounds as though Bilson has quite a knack for matchmaking.
The Bachelor is a big deal for Rachel Bilson
Everyone needs a television obsession and for Rachel Bilson that obsession just happens to be The Bachelor franchise! Bilson spoke to ET about her need to take some “me nights” out for herself as a busy mom and they usually involve catching up on “any of the Bachelor shows.”
Bilson even appeared on Bachelor alum Nick Viall’s podcast, The Viall Files, to talk about her fanaticism. According to Viall, he wanted to have Bilson on his podcast as he was aware that she is a “diehard Bachelor fan,” which Bilson quickly confirmed that she “could talk Bachelor all day, everyday.” Viall shared that when he first saw Bilson in Jumper, she actually reminded him of an ex. “Naturally, I was just like, I was kind of crushing on you, to be totally honest,” the reality star admitted.
After the podcast episode was released, whispers regarding Bilson and Viall blossomed. As Us Weekly noted, the two “ignited dating speculation by commenting on each other’s Instagram photos.” Bilson later shot down those romance rumors when she spoke with Us Weekly and said that “[They’re] just friends. We’ve always just been friends.”
Sorry diehard Bachelor fans. It looks like Bilson will not be accepting a rose from Viall anytime soon!
Rachel Bilson boasts an impressive net worth
Even though Rachel Bilson got her start in the entertainment industry acting in commercials and nabbing one-episode roles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and 8 Simple Rules For Dating My Teenage Daughter, her big break was starring as Summer Roberts opposite then-boyfriend Adam Brody on Fox’s The O.C. From there, she went on to act in a handful of successful movies, like The Last Kiss and The To-Do List and in 2011 she found herself in the starring role of Zoe Hart in The CW’s lighthearted dramedy Hart of Dixie. After her four-year stint with The CW came to an end, she found a guest-starring role in the hit country music-inspired show Nashville and starred opposite Eddie Cibrian in ABC’s short-lived Take Two in 2018.
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Bilson is worth a cool $12 million, due in large to her extensive acting career as well as her different projects in fashion, such as ShoeMint. She also dabbled in homewares in 2011 when she put out “a line of vintage-inspired porcelain dinnerware in a collection called Edie Rose Home by Rachel Bilson, an affordable, nature-themed tabletop line that includes place settings, butter dishes and teapots,” according to People.
There’s also Bilson’s longtime partnership with Magnum Ice Cream, for which she’s starred in a number of different commercials and promotional videos. And if you check out Bilson’s Instagram page, she is no stranger to different collaborative projects, including working with Amazon in 2020.
Disney inspired the name of Rachel Bilson's daughter
In the fall of 2014, Rachel Bilson and then-partner Hayden Christensen welcomed a daughter named Briar Rose. Bilson isn’t shy about posting about her little girl on social media, whether it be a sweet birthday message along with a picture taken at a Disney park or a photo of her “Briar” necklace.
No, it’s not a coincidence that Bilson and Christensen’s kid shares a name with the main character in the original Sleeping Beauty fairytale. When Hallmark Channel’s Home and Family co-host Mark Steines asked Christensen about his daughter’s name, he replied, “There is a Disney reference there, I suppose.” He went on to say that he and Bilson “love all things Disney — but Rachel especially was very keen on the name.”
It sounds as though Bilson made the perfect name choice for her daughter in keeping with their love of all things Disney!
Rachel Bilson's kid doesn't know much about Star Wars
Rachel Bilson has opened up about the struggles of co-parenting with Hayden Christensen. “We’re still kind of trying to figure it out,” she told People in 2018. “It’s a tricky one. And I don’t know that there is any right way, necessarily.”
Before they split, Bilson told Us Weekly that daughter Briar Rose is “not aware that her dad is one of the biggest villains of all time.” Of course, she was alluding to Christensen playing Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader in three Star Wars films as well as the Disney+ series Obi-Wan Kenobi. Bilson isn’t afraid to make light of Christensen’s villainous Star Wars role. In 2015, for example, she posted a photo on Instagram of a Star Wars themed bag found at Target and wrote, “when you run out of bags at target and the one they are offering to purchase has daddy’s face on it.”
On a 2021 episode of the Betches Moms podcast, Bilson shared that her daughter knows that her father is part of the Star Wars universe but she “has no idea what that even means, because she hasn’t seen anything.” And it sounds like it could be a while before that changes. “I’d like to keep it that way. Thank god, because he kills children, so let’s keep that from her until she’s like 80,” Bilson jokingly said of Christensen’s role. The mama bear force is strong with that one.
Rami Malek and Rachel Bilson grew up together
Hollywood is no stranger to misunderstandings and hurt feelings, and sometimes, that tension bubbles up in the press.
Enter: Rachel Bilson and Oscar-winning actor Rami Malek. The two were friends in high school, so unsurprisingly, there is photographic evidence of them hanging out when they were teens. As People noted, Bilson shared an old photo of the pair on Instagram in 2019 to celebrate Malek being up for his first Academy Award. “Hey @ramimalek where’d you get that gold chain? #tbt #oscarworthy #dontforgetthelittlepeople,” she wrote, alluding to Malek’s necklace in the throwback pic.
When Bilson appeared on Dax Shepard and Monica Padman’s Armchair Expert podcast in 2021, she revealed Malek wasn’t too thrilled about the post. She said Malek privately messaged her on Instagram and said, “I would really appreciate if you take that down. I’m a really private person.” Bilson shared that she “was super bummed” and deleted the post. Talk about a Summer bummer.
Rachel Bilson has an 'inner rapper'
Rachel Bilson’s comedic timing is not to be denied, and she sure seems to enjoy making people laugh. “I really like to be funny, or try to be funny, and comedy is my first love,” she told Collider in 2018.
With comedy in mind, Bilson partnered with Funny or Die to present a rap video entitled “Call Me Doctor,” which is a parody video that pokes fun at the criticism surrounding Bilson playing a doctor on The CW’s Hart of Dixie. In it, she totally holds her own when she urges people to “Call me doctor, stethoscope hangin’ round my neck!” In a 2017 interview with AOL’s Build Series, she spoke about performing in the Funny or Die video. “I got my inner rapper in me, for sure,” she laughed, adding that it was fun to be able to “talk smack” back at the naysayers.
In 2017, she shared a throwback video with her Instagram followers from an event where she and another friend rapped a toast for partygoers. “#tbt when you have to give a toast at a best friends wedding… you rap #obviously,” she wrote. We’re sure the audience was rapt.
The Bling Ring robbed Rachel Bilson's home multiple times
It was summer of 2013 when Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring hit theatres. Based on Vanity Fair’s “The Suspects Wore Louboutins,” the flick tells the story of a group of Hollywood teens who made out with over $3 million dollars in clothing, jewelry, apparel and cash that they stole from a handful of celebrities’ homes, including Paris Hilton, Megan Fox and Rachel Bilson.
Even though stars like Emma Watson and Taissa Farmiga starred in Coppola’s film, Rachel Bilson was none too pleased to see this tale turned into a film for the masses. ” thought it was weird to glorify something that was so upsetting for a lot of people,” she said in Cosmopolitan. “It’s important to detach from material things, but the special, personal things I lost are hard to forget.”
Bilson also spoke about the burglaries on the podcast Everything Iconic, telling host Danny Pellegrino, “You know, it was kind of a crazy time, I guess they came into my house five different times and took everything.” Bilson opened up about how “invasive” the whole thing felt, noting that one of the members of the Bling Ring admitted she “so comfortable” going into Bilson’s home that she used one of the restrooms.
Yikes. Can’t blame her for being majorly weirded out.
Rachel Bilson has a serious crush on Larry David
Rachel Bilson is not immune to celebrity crushes, but her crush may not be who you would expect.
When Hollywire asked Bilson if she had any “lingering feelings for any crushes,” she immediately named Curb Your Enthusiasm star and creator Larry David. She even went so far to say that she’s “a little disappointed that hasn’t happened” yet with the comedian. And in 2009, Just Jared asked Bilson if she was excited about a Seinfeld reunion, in which David was a writer, and her reply was “I am! I’m totally excited. I’m such a huge Larry David fan — he’s my man.” Okay, Bilson. We can see you’re not being shy about this crush.
And when she filled out Us Weekly’s “25 Things You Don’t Know About Me” questionnaire in 2013, the seventh item on the list was pretty, pretty, pretty good: “The most starstruck I’ve ever been was when I saw Larry David.” Did she say anything to him though? There could be more to that story!
She even found a way to incorporate her crush into her daily life among the chaos of 2020 when she posted a selfie to her Instagram page of her wearing a face mask with little tiny Larry David faces all over it. “Just like that everything is better,” she wrote. You know what? It works.
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