LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Mischa Barton has sued her mother, alleging she stole money that the former star of the television series “The O.C.” earned throughout her career and made endorsement deals that damaged the actress’s reputation.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles also accuses Nuala Barton of kicking her daughter out of a multimillion-dollar Beverly Hills home that was purchased with money earned while Mischa Barton was a child actress.
Mischa Barton was 17 when she began working on “The O.C.” and already had appeared in the films “Notting Hill” and “The Sixth Sense.”
Nuala Barton served as her daughter’s manager for much of her career. The lawsuit accuses Nuala Barton of bullying her daughter, and states she has been fired from her management role.
“While Barton was busy perfecting her craft and turning her acting dreams into reality, her mother, defendant Nuala Barton, was secretly scheming to exploit Barton’s bourgeoning career for her benefit,” the lawsuit states.
A message left at a phone number listed for Nuala Barton was not immediately returned.
The lawsuit also claims the mother is withholding royalties and lied about the amount the actress was paid for a 2013 film so she could pocket the difference, in addition to her 10 per cent management fee. The suit does not state how much the actress believes has been stolen, but claims her mother has refused to provide accounting details.
Mischa Barton said after her character was killed off “The O.C.” in its third season, she wanted to focus on movie roles. She has appeared in several small films and a short-lived CW series but has garnered no high-profile roles.
She has been a fixture in the fashion world, appearing at shows for top designers in New York and Paris, and has endorsed beauty products and collaborated on her own line of fashion accessories.
The lawsuit contends some of the endorsements were entered without the actress’s permission, and she wasn’t properly paid for the use of her name and likeness in connection with a handbag line and a London boutique.
“Nuala did not compensate Barton for the use of her name, image and likeness, nor did she share in any of the profits from these ventures with Barton,” Barton’s attorney Alex Weingarten wrote in the lawsuit. “This is all despite the fact that the businesses were built solely on Barton’s fame and popularity.”
Barton’s mother bought a $7.8 million home in Beverly Hills in 2006 using her daughter’s earnings and gave herself an ownership interest in the property and took out loans against it, the lawsuit states. Mischa Barton is no longer allowed at the home, according to the lawsuit.
The actress encountered a rough period after her role ended on “The O.C.”
She was arrested in late 2007 on suspicion of drunken driving and later pleaded no contest to driving under the influence and driving without a valid license. She was sentenced to three years of probation and alcohol treatment and completed the case without incident.
Mischa Barton was removed from her home by Los Angeles police in 2009 and was hospitalized for two weeks, but officers and her publicist declined to say why.
Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP