Sophia Bush Claims 'OTH' Creator Told Her Brooke Would Never Date Julian 

‘One Tree Hill’ Creator Mark Schwahn Promised Sophia Bush That Brooke Would Never Date Austin Nichols’ Julian

Sophia Bush, Austin Nichols.
Paul Morigi/Getty Images for White House Correspondents Insider; Abby Grant/Cover Images

Sophia Bush claims that she was promised that her character, Brooke, wouldn’t date her on-again, off-again boyfriend Austin Nichols’ character, Julian, when he joined the cast of One Tree Hill for season 6 – only for the characters to walk down the aisle two years later.

“They said he would be there for a time, maybe break [Peyton and Lucas] up,” Bush, 41, told cohost Hilarie Burton Morgan during the Monday, January 29, episode of their “Drama Queens” podcast. “There was a lot of apology from the boss [Mark Schwahn] that was like, ‘I had no idea this overlapped with your real life how weird.’ And I was like, ‘Dude, I’ve dated like three people in 10 years. What do you mean you had no idea? You’re my nightmare.’ And he was like, ‘Promise you’ll barely ever have scenes together but it will certainly never be romantic.’”

Nichols, 43, joined the cast of OTH in season 6 as Julian Baker, an agent from Los Angeles who wants to make a movie out of Lucas’ (Chad Michael Murray) novel. However, once he gets to town it’s revealed that he and Peyton (Burton Morgan) were once an item. Despite Schwahn’s alleged promises, Julian strikes up a romance with Bush’s Brooke before the end of season 6, with the pair going on to tie the knot in season 7 and even welcoming twins before the series finale in 2012.

While discussing Julian’s first appearance in season 6 episode 8, Bush claimed that the initial intention was to make the character a “bad boy movie producer” and “super cool” guy until Schwahn, 57, allegedly decided it would threaten his status on set.

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“When they shifted it and did what they were going to do anyway and Julian of course becomes the person that Brooke marries, the hilarity of it was there were other dynamics at play and our creepy boss didn’t want all of Julian Baker’s cool, hot movie star character friends coming into town,” she continued. “He did not want any more attractive young male cast members on our set to pull attention away from him.”

Bush claimed that  Schwahn ultimately decided to “emotionally castrate” Julian once he began dating Brooke. So much so, that the character became someone who “didn’t know how to high five” and had to ask Nathan (James Lafferty) and Haley’s (Bethany Joy Lenz) 6year-old son, Jamie (Jackson Brundage), to be the best man at his wedding because “he had no friends.”

“We were all like, ‘What is happening?’” Bush quipped while recalling the story line, to which Burton Morgan replied, “Wild.”

‘One Tree Hill’ Creator Mark Schwahn Promised Sophia Bush That Brooke Would Never Date Austin Nichols’ Julian
Steve Granitz/WireImage

Bush and Nichols dated on and off for six years before calling it quits for good in February 2012, just two months before the OTH series finale aired. Bush revealed during an October 2023 episode of “Drama Queens’ that Nichols was her first date after her public divorce from her other costar Murray, 42, in 2006.

“Back in the early days of our show [OTH], all of us were partnered and then I very publicly was not,” Bush explained. “The first date I went on was with a very sweet boy named Austin Nichols when I was 23. We dated on and off for years.”

Nichols joined the show after Bush told him dating long-distance was “too hard” to maintain.

“Bold, gorgeous, romantic gesture,” Bush gushed. “We laugh about it all the time. We’re still good friends.”

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Nichols also formed a bond with Burton Morgan, who shared during Monday’s podcast episode that the actor really took the time to connect with her and the people she cared about once he moved to the OTH’s filming location of Wilmington, North Carolina.

“I really have enjoyed knowing Austin all these years at this point. He’s a wonderful actor. He’s really fun,” she shared. “We did a lot hang out wise after work, and he made a real point of making friends out of my friends in town. And I appreciated that. He valued them. I really respected that about him.”

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