In 2003 director Mark Schwahn touched the lives of teenagers all across the country with his immediately relatable television show One Tree Hill. Debuting on September 23, Scwahn’s series would carry on for the next nine years and see its cast become role models, secret crushes and inspiration for true Tree Hill fans.
One Tree Hill presented viewers with real life situations that always ended with lessons to be learned. As “I Don’t Want To Be” by Gavin DeGraw played in the iconic opening, fans escaped into the world of Tree Hill, eagerly waiting for romance, betrayal and victories. From drunk parties, to high school pregnancy and from basketball to finding their purpose in the world, this dramatic series touched the lives of many and offered audiences with a guideline for how to tackle numerous adolescent issues.
The world of Tree Hill was fully realized by its diverse and talented young cast who breathed life into their characters. Where have these influential young actors taken their gift of acting to next?
Chad Michael Murray- Lucas Scott
The writer. The romantic. The guy who wants to always do the right thing, no matter what.
Lucas Scott charmed his way onto the screens as the under privileged high school boy whose dream was to be a basketball player for the Tree Hill Ravens and to win the heart of the popular Peyton Sawyer. Viewers got to witness his dreams eventually come true for him only after years of dedication and many mistakes. Scott portrayed a realistic teenager growing up with hardship who, in the end, found his way in life and love.
Since parting with the role of Lucas Scott, Chad Michael Murray has guest starred on TNT’s Southland as a police officer. Murray has also delved into independent film making, but has mostly kept himself out of the public eye.
James Lafferty- Nathan Scott
He was damaged, yet with love, became the best of himself he could be.
Nathan Scott didn’t win the hearts of viewers at first with his arrogant player attitude and his conflict with older half-brother, Lucas. Nathan was captain of the basketball team and the boyfriend of Peyton Sawyer. He had the life his brother had always wanted and, after losing in a game of one-on-one basketball, Lucas found his chance to step into his younger brother’s life. The brothers began their relationship with hatred for each other, but once Nathan fell for Lucas’s best friend Haley, high school itself changed completely. The brothers found a mutual agreement for Haley’s sake but in time Nathan finds himself caring for the brother he’s always wanted.
After season nine, Lafferty took a break from acting, but is back on set as a teacher who finds himself taken captive along with his classroom of students. Secret agent Lafferty will hit NBC’s screen as Mr. Nash in the premiere episode of Crisis this year.
Brooke David- Sophia Bush
The popular, beautiful and misunderstood girl who does absolutely anything for her friends.
Brooke Davis earned a bad name for herself right from the start in the series. She partied, slept around and was the richest most popular cheerleader in Tree Hill High School. She had an obsession with boys, threw her worth around, but had a strong heart for the ones she loved. As the series progressed, so did her maturity. At the age of 20, Brooke Davis owned her own clothing line “Clothes over Bros,” making millions of dollars a year. Davis took a stand against the media’s idea that women must be a size zero to be beautiful.
Sophia Bush rang true to her former character when she recently took a stand against an Urban Outfitters shirt depicting the phrase “Eat Less.” Bush has been a productive feminist activist and role model for the women in today’s society by helping them realize that true beauty is found in themselves, not the media. Bush has joined the cast of Chicago P.D. as Erin Lindsey. She plays an independent cop in the action packed television series.
Peyton Sawyer- Hilarie Burton
The damaged artist who keeps up a wall so others can’t get in.
Peyton Sawyer, whose art had become a controversy within the town of Tree Hill, crushed the stereotype of the typical cheerleader with her edgy, kick-ass punk vibe. Sawyer suffered the loss of two mothers, but was always held together by her metal music and best friend Brooke Davis. The two’s relationship was a roller-coaster in high school, always complicated by the new Raven Lucas Scott. Sawyer built a wall around her heart because, in her eyes, people always leave. Yet, when the wall is down she loves beautifully and fearlessly. She spends all of high school searching for the answer in life as to why everything happens for a reason, but when she’s able to reconnect with her birth mother life begins to make more sense for her troubled heart.
Hilarie Burton left the cast after season six in 2009 when not offered an extension in her contract. Burton spent her time off focusing on family and her husband, but has recently been added to the popular drama Grey’s Anatomy.
Haley James Scott- Bethany Joy Lenz
The smart, the optimist and musician.
Haley James kept her nose in a book and never stepped outside her comfort zone until star basketball player Nathan Scott needed tutoring. A bookworm and a jock as friends was a rare combination at Tree High, but the pair as a couple was even more startling. James found herself wedged between her first love and her lifetime best friend Lucas, but brought the two together as the boys realized they had to put their differences aside for the one thing they had in common: Haley. She grew as a person once she joined the cheerleading team alongside of Peyton and Brooke, finding a friendship she had always wanted. For the girl who everyone thought would do everything right, she did the complete opposite. By the end of season one, Haley had become both Mrs. Nathan Scoot and a mother before high school graduation. She found strength in herself to become the woman she had always wanted to be with her music and as a wife and a mother.
Bethany Joy Lenz, had a daughter of her own in the last season of the show and continues to pursue her passion for music. Lenz recently appeared in the final season of Dexter as an ex fiancé who is pursuing a simpler life.