“We’ve known each other for almost two decades now. Our friendships have changed immeasurably,” Sophia Bush, who played Brooke Davis on the teen drama, told Us Weekly exclusively in December 2020. “We’ve been through so many stages of life together. But I think something that we really cherish — Hilarie and I were talking about this not too long ago — is just having, interestingly enough, as we’ve all gotten older, having our friendships deepen even more.”
Bush, Hilarie Burton and Bethany Joy Lenz — who played Peyton Sawyer and Haley James Scott, respectively — appreciate the bond they formed while working on One Tree Hill, especially considering the toxic work environment that show runner Mark Schwahn fostered on the set.
“[We’re] actually friends … not fair-weather friends,” Burton said to Refinery29 in January 2017 about how the women’s experience on the show helped them stay close. “I think, underneath, there was an understanding between the two of us, like, we’re in this to win it.”
She continued: “I think now, as grown-up women, we can look back, the same way Brooke and Peyton could, and be like, ‘Man, we survived some stuff together, huh?’ And that’s a good feeling. I think when you’re in the trenches with someone, whether you agree with each other at the time or not, once you’re past it, there’s a bond there you can’t deny.”
The trio even reconnected to start a One Tree Hill rewatch podcast, “Drama Queens,” in June 2021. “Those girls are my family and we spend so much time together, whether it’s on FaceTime or whether we’re recording episodes of ‘Drama Queens,’” Bush told Insider in March 2022. “We’ve forged such a friendship and been able to, as a unit, reclaim so much of what was good and joyful about our first job together while taking out the respective trash.”
The Chicago P.D. alum continued: “We’re just more in love with each other than we’ve ever been.”
Lenz echoed those sentiments that same month, telling Variety that the podcast has been healing for them. “Our time on One Tree Hill was so tempestuous; there were so many great times and so many hard times and we were scared to go back and revisit it,” the singer explained. “That’s why doing the podcast has opened up all these doors inside of ourselves, to explore this new way of working together that’s been so healthy and healing.”
Keep scrolling to relive some of the trio’s sweetest BFF moments through the years: