If you were like us and spent most of the late ’90s and early ’00s in a committed relationship with The WB (now The CW), then chances are One Tree Hill was one of your favorite shows. The drama followed the lives of five teenagers growing up in the fictional town of Tree Hill, North Carolina. The show spawned some serious star power with its cast; some big names that came from the show include Chad Michael Murray (fresh off his stint on Dawson’s Creek), Sophia Bush, Bethany Joy Lenz, James Lafferty, and Hilarie Burton.
As with any teen drama, fans became obsessed with shipping characters on the show, and eventually the actors themselves. As rumors swirled about who was hooking up on- and off-screen, the drama behind the scenes got way intense. Fans were ecstatic to learn that one of their favorite on-screen “will they or won’t they?” couples, portrayed by Sophia Bush and Chad Michael Murray, had actually become an item off-screen. The story as Sophia tells it, 13 years later, was not as sweet as it was made out to be.
The Characters They Played
The relationship between Sophia and Chad began with their characters being two legs of a love triangle the series was built on. Chad played Lucas, a brooding basketball player dealing with a lifetime of family drama. Sophia played Brooke Davis, a bad-girl cheerleader who closed herself off to those around her.
Fans watched as Brooke and Lucas came together… and then fell apart… and then came back together. What they didn’t know was that the on-screen chemistry between Sophia and Chad was spilling into their lives off-screen.
The two kept their relationship under wraps for a few months before going public in late 2003.
He Decided to Pop the Question While Filming 'House of Wax'
Chad decided to take their relationship to the next level. While filming House of Wax in 2004, he was seen calling his father, then calling Sophia’s, then shopping for an engagement ring.
You can tell the two were so in love. Chad gushed, “Sophia is my cool breeze. She’s wonderful, she’s kind, she’s intelligent – and she makes me happy. I woke up one day and said, ‘This is the woman I want to spend the rest of my days with.’”
The Proposal Was SO Romantic
When popping the question, Chad went big. He proposed at the home they were staying at in Australia and filled a tennis court with 20 bouquets of roses and over 500 lit candles spelling out, “Will you marry me?” He took her up to their 18th-story balcony so she could see the special message.
The Wedding Was a Chic, Intimate Affair
The couple married just two years after they started dating, in April 2005. The wedding took place at Santa Monica’s Hotel Casa del Mar with 200 guests in attendance. Sophia wore a Vera Wang gown, while Chad wore a custom Ralph Lauren suit.
The End Came Quickly
Sadly, the marriage dissolved after just five months. Sophia tried to have the marriage annulled, citing fraud. The judge denied her request, and they proceeded with a regular divorce.
They Had to Keep Working Together
Although things were clearly over between Chad and Sophia, such was not the case for Brooke and Lucas. Since the stars were in the process of their divorce at the beginning of season four, writers decided Brooke and Lucas couldn’t quite end up together. A pregnancy scare separates the two on-screen, and some personal revelations for Brooke put an end to the couple; all the while, Chad and Sophia would continue working together until his departure in season six.
You'll Never Believe Who Was Rumored to Have Come Between Them
The rumored reason behind the split was Chad’s infidelity with House of Wax co-star, Paris Hilton. It came to light publicly when Paris’ boyfriend at the time, Nick Carter, did an exclusive interview with Ryan Seacrest in 2006.
And Here's the Real Tea...
According to TMZ, Nick Carter told Ryan Seacrest that he cheated on Paris Hilton with Ashlee Simpson to get back at her for cheating on him with, yup, Chad Michael Murray.
Now, Sophia Spills Even MORE Tea
In a recent interview with Andy Cohen on his show, Radio Andy, Sophia talked about the relationship, which despite her best efforts is bought up pretty frequently.
"It Was Not a Thing I Actually Really Wanted to Do."
Sophia has mentioned ignoring her gut instinct about the marriage in previous interviews, but she elaborated in her conversation with Andy, who asked why she went ahead with it. “Because how do you let everybody down? What’s the fight? When you have bosses telling you that you’re the only person who gets a person to work on time. And 200 people either get to see their kids at night or they don’t, because our days start on time.”
That is a lot of pressure to put on one person, especially when you’re just 22 years old. Sophia got through it, though, and although she wishes people wouldn’t constantly bring up that less-than-happy time in her life, she’s moved on with her career and personal life, and she deserves it.
Chad released a statement in response to Sophia’s recent conversation about their time together. His rep told People, “Chad conducts himself in a completely professional manner and would never marry for any reason but love. Thirteen years after the divorce from Sophia, he has a very happy family life with his wife and children. He has completely moved on and doesn’t feel the need to address this type of behavior.”
Even though that statement did address the behavior… sooo yeah.
We may never know the whole story behind what happened with these two, but one thing is clear: Some relationships are better left on-screen.