In a tale almost as old as Hollywood, Mischa Barton has become the latest star to take a parent to court, in her case alleging her mom-turned-manager stole money she earned as a young actress.
Barton, who rose to fame at age 17 on Fox’s teen drama “The O.C.”, said in a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court that mother Nuala Barton is a “greedy stage mother posing as a talent manager,” TMZ reported.
The one-time “it girl” said her mother kicked her out of a $7.8 million Beverly Hills mansion purchased with her earnings, made endorsement deals that damaged the actress’ reputation and lied about her income from a new horror film called “The Hoarder,” which IMDB says is due out this year.
Barton said her mother served as her manager for much of her career, which began with New York stage roles at age 8.
The London-born Barton, now 29, eventually landed roles on TV and in such films as “Notting Hill” and “The Sixth Sense.” Playing privileged but troubled Southern California teen Marissa Cooper on “The O.C.” from 2003 to 2006 rocketed Barton to stardom. She became both a style icon and a tabloid target for her various romantic liaisons, her 2007 DUI arrest and her 2009 psychiatric commitment.
So, Nuala Barton isn’t her daughter’s manager anymore. Barton’s lawsuit indicated she has fired her mother, though both her mother and father are “comfortably” entrenched in an 8-bedroom, 11-bath Beverly Hills mansion. Barton said her mother got herself listed as “co-owner” of the house by rigging the paperwork.
Nuala Barton did not respond to reporters’ requests for comment.
Meanwhile, Mischa Barton can perhaps take comfort in the fact that she’s not the first star to claim a parent squandered the earnings of an early career.
Think actors Gary Coleman and Macaulay Culkin, “Modern Family” star Ariel Winter, country singer LeAnn Rimes, and go all the way back to silent film tot Jackie Coogan. His suit against his parents prompted a 1939 state law that requires parents to set aside at least 15 percent of their children’s acting earnings in a blocked account, according to The Associated Press.