Real Life Partners Of The One Tree Hill Cast

One Tree Hill premiered on the WB September 23, 2003, a month after fellow teen drama The OC debuted on Fox, ushering in a new era for the genre. It's not easy to follow a hit, and One Tree Hill's ratings in the first season paled in comparison to The OC. It drew in an average of about 3.5 million viewers to The O.C.'s Season 1 average of nearly 10 million viewers.

By its fifth season in 2008, One Tree Hill had officially outlasted its rival — The OC aired its series finale in 2007. It's safe to say that after a nine-season run and surviving a network merger of The WB and UPN, OTH is more than a cult classic. The basketball drama brought us memorable love triangles and the iconic marriage of Nathan Scott and Haley James (aka "Naley") when they were just high school students. OTH had so many young and beautiful actors making out on camera, it's not surprising that some of that romance and drama seeped into real life. The members of the show's roster have been through many failed relationships, marriages, and divorces — with and without each other. We owe it to all teen drama lovers to take a look at the real life partners of the One Tree Hill cast.

This One Tree Hill relationship failed IRL, too

Lucas Scott (Chad Michael Murray) catches Brooke Davis' (Sophia Bush) eye when he joins the Tree Hill Ravens on the first Season of One Tree Hill. Thus begins the core love triangle, because Lucas constantly harbors feelings for either Brooke or her best friend Peyton (Hilarie Burton Morgan), depending on who he is supposed to be committed to. Brooke and Lucas end their romantic relationship on Season 4 and remain friends.

Murray and Bush's real-life romantic history is straightforward but significantly less cordial. They began dating in 2003 and were married by 2005. After five months of wedded bliss they separated. "This is a difficult and unfortunate situation," was all Bush said in a statement obtained by People. "I am glad this is being resolved sooner rather than later." The year the divorce was finalized, singer Aaron Carter claimed on The Tyra Banks Show that Murray apparently cheated on Bush with Paris Hilton while working on House Of Wax (brother Nick Carter was dating Hilton at the time).

Neither Bush nor Murray speak of their failed union much, though they did work together for years after they split. Bush said on Armchair Expert that she was "21 and stupid" during her relationship with Murray. She chalked it up to "being a super nerdy kid and suddenly you're on TV and all this stuff is happening and one of the cool people you work with thinks you're awesome."

Sophia Bush has a history of dating co-stars

Sophia Bush didn't let her experience with Chad Michael Murray sour her on dating other One Tree Hill co-stars. On screen, brothers Lucas and Nathan (James Lafferty) never fought over Bush's Brooke. But on set, the vibe might've been awkward because, as Us Weekly recalled, she began dating Lafferty in 2008. According to Murray, everything was copacetic. "We're just friends. And [Sophia]'s got James, and James and I are friends. It's just a little tight group in Wilmington," Murray told a local CW station in 2008 (via E! News). Bush and Lafferty dated for about a year before breaking up.

Bush then dated actor Austin Nichols (pictured above), opening up to the public about it in 2010. Contrary to popular belief, Bush told E! News that she didn't meet Nichols while working on OTH. In fact, he took the role of Brooke's love interest Julian Baker to be with Bush. "We had so many years of history prior to him coming to work on the show," the Love, Victor actor said. "and I think someone taking a job and moving their life across the country to show you how much they care is pretty much the most romantic gesture that a person could make." In 2012, Us Weekly reported Bush's relationship with Nichols ended, and a couple years later, she started dating Chicago P.D. co-star Jesse Lee Soffer. In 2020, Us Weekly noted that she started dating entrepreneur Grant Hughes.

Chad Michael Murray found love with actor Sarah Roemer

Chad Michael Murray commits very quickly in his relationships. When his divorce from Sophia Bush was finalized, he soon began dating Kenzie Dalton, an extra who played a cheerleader on One Tree Hill. The pair were engaged by 2006, just a year after his split from Bush. This time, Murray didn't make it down the aisle. Us Weekly confirmed that he and Dalton parted ways in 2013.

The third engagement is the charm for Murray. He met actor Sarah Roemer on set of the 2013 series Chosen and the couple secretly married in 2015. They welcomed a son named Rex in May of 2015. A daughter was born in 2017, but the couple has yet to release her name. Despite the steps they take for privacy, like not posting their kids' faces, they do share details of their life on Instagram. For their anniversary, Murray posted a picture of his family falling asleep. "So at peace in the arms of my love:) I never sleep better than when we melt into each other," he wrote. "And yes if you noticed the blonde hair on Sarah's shoulder it's coz we have cuddle pile ons in our house."

James Lafferty is engaged to TV royalty

James Lafferty played Nathan Scott on One Tree Hill, who is half of the couple "Naley." Nathan married girlfriend Haley James (Bethany Joy Lenz) while the two were still in high school, at the end of the first season. Naley is a beloved couple on all nine seasons of the show, but it took Lafferty longer to settle down.

After breaking up with Sophia Bush, Lafferty was linked to another OTH co-star, Shantel VanSanten, who joined the cast to play Haley's sister Quinn in 2009. Lafferty began dating actor Alexandra Park in 2015 when he directed an episode of her show The Royals, and they got engaged in September 2020. Lafferty announced the news on Instagram. "She said yeah," he wrote alongside a pic of Park with her arms around him in a kitchen, showing off her ring.

The couple also worked together on Everyone Is Doing Great, a show Lafferty co-created with fellow One Tree Hill actor Stephen Colletti. The show, which hit Hulu in January 2021, follows two actors' lives after starring in a hit vampire drama. Park joked with E! News that wedding planning would be "slim" until the show got a Season 2.

Hilarie Burton Morgan and Jeffrey Dean Morgan clicked

In the '00s, Hilarie Burton Morgan, who played Peyton Sawyer, fell for Ian Prange, an assistant director on One Tree Hill. They were married in 2004 and divorced in 2009. And then, Hilarie met her current husband, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, while visiting friend Danneel Ackles. 

Danneel is married to Supernatural star Jensen Ackles, and Jeffrey happened to be one of Jensen's co-stars on Supernatural. The Ackleses set up Hilarie and Jeffrey on a blind double date at a bar. To hear Jeffrey tell it, it was love at first tequila shot. "So I went to a bar and I met Hilarie at a bar with Jensen and Danneel, and the rest is history. ... We ended up back at my house drinking shots of tequila," the actor told HuffPost (via Us Weekly).

Jeffrey convinced Hilarie to go with him to his movie set in New Mexico and the rest is history. The couple welcomed a son in 2010 and a daughter in 2018. There were reports that suggested they secretly married in 2014, but Hilarie clarified in an Instagram post in October 2019, "Jeff and I just want to put it out there that WE GOT MARRIED! For real." She continued, "From the moment I met [Jeffrey] he was my husband. Rather than make vows right out of the gate, we lived them. For over ten years." The couple now co-owns a candy store in upstate New York.

Bethany Joy Lenz tries to keep things private

Bethany Joy Lenz played Haley James Scott on One Tree Hill, so she's one half of "Naley," one of the most stable couples in teen drama history. In real life, Lenz was not as lucky in love as her alter ego. She married musician Michael Galeotti in 2005 and they had a daughter in 2011. She announced on her blog in early 2012 that the couple were parting ways. "As most of you know, as much as I love to share with you the magic of ordinary days, I am also very private about my personal life," she wrote (via The Hollywood Reporter)."In fact, the only reason I'm saying anything about this at all is because you'll all be wondering soon why everyone is calling me 'Bethany Joy Lenz' again. I'm sorry to say that Michael and I have decided to divorce." She said that she and Galeotti "remain friendly and dedicated to raising [our] beautiful girl in love." 

As noted by Us Weekly, she's also been linked to Unreal actor Josh Kelly. Lenz is such a private person that very little is known about her dating life today. As fans of OTH know, Lenz is also a singer. She released Snow, a Christmas EP, in 2020 and Maria is featured on a song called "Listen."

Danneel Ackles fell for another CW star

Danneel Ackles (née Harris) played Rachel Gatina, one of One Tree Hill's biggest anti-heros. She never had a memorable romance on the show. Rachel did marry Tree Hill's ultimate villain Dan Scott (Paul Johansson) but she just wanted his money so that ended in divorce — we know, shocking.

Thankfully for Danneel, her biggest real-life romance is a different story. She met her husband Jensen Ackles while they were both starring on CW shows in the early aughts (Jensen, of course, played Dean Winchester on the mega-hit Supernatural). They were friends before ultimately falling in love on the set of the independent comedy Ten Inch Hero which was released in 2007. According to Fame10, Jensen said, "Ten Inch Hero has a special place in my heart, since it's where Danneel and I fell in love." The couple got engaged in November 2009 and married the following May at the Rosewood Crescent Hotel in Dallas, Texas. As Popsugar noted in a recap of the big day, Jensen's Supernatural co-star Jared Padalecki was a groomsmen and Danneel had three bridesmaids from the OTH cast, including Hilarie Burton Morgan.

Danneel and Jensen have three kids as of 2021, and they often share cute posts of their family on Instagram, like when Danneel took a video of the kids wishing their dad "good luck" on his new show The Boys.

Paul Johansson's love life has seen ups and downs

Paul Johansson played One Tree Hill's most deplorable resident, Dan Scott. As viewers know, Dan got the mothers of his sons pregnant around the same time, and spends most of the series as a villain. In real life, Johansson's relationship history has had ups and downs. He was married to production designer Gabriela Oltean, but according to his IMDb page, they divorced in 2005.

Johansson has a son named Quinn with ex-girlfriend Mercedes Connor. In 2016, he and Connor ended up in a legal battle after Quinn had an allergic reaction. As TMZ reported, Connor made some startling accusations against Johansson, claiming he said she was "not giving [their son] his medicine, and even [put] hands on her before taking her phone and bolting." Johansson followed up with allegations of his own against Connor, and they were set to work things out in a hearing that same year.

At the time of writing, Johansson appears to be single and enjoying fatherhood.

Austin Nichols has moved on from One Tree Hill

Austin Nichols played Julian Baker on One Tree Hill on Season 6 through Season 9. He's introduced as Peyton's ex-boyfriend, but by the series finale he and Brooke have twin boys, Davis and Jude Baker. In real life, Nichols only had eyes for Brooke's alter ego, Sophia Bush. The couple broke up around the time the OTH series finale aired after dating for about six years, according to Us Weekly. A source told the magazine Bush initiated the split "because she didn't think he was the one" adding that "she's moved on."

Nichols also moved on in both his personal and professional life. Since OTH wrapped, he's had recurring roles on hit shows like AMC's The Walking Dead and Showtime's Ray Donovan. As Us Weekly noted, he made his red carpet debut with actor Hassie Harrison 2018. Their status right now is hard to confirm as they don't post about each other often, but Nichols did give Harrison an Instagram shoutout in April 2020 after she gave him a very cute birthday present. "I got this little rockstar for my birthday," Nichols wrote, sharing a picture of the pup. He eventually named his furry friend Otis. "Thank you @hassieharrison for finding me the perfect little buddy." We hope the couple is going strong.

Robert Buckley is a married man

Robert Buckley was introduced as Clay Evans, Nathan's sports agent, on One Tree Hill's seventh season. Clay's romantic history is... complicated. He was previously married to a woman named Sara, but she died before we met him. She does appear on the series as a ghost to help Clay move on and find love with Haley's sister Quinn James. By the end of the series, he also remembers he has a son named Logan while he's at a psychiatric hospital. Clay marries Quinn, but that's so much drama to get through first.

Buckley's actual dating life is pretty straightforward. He was most notably linked to actor Lea Michele for a few months while they worked together on Dimension 404, but they amicably in July 2016. He married longtime girlfriend, actor Jenny Wade, in 2018, and told fans about it on Twitter. "Post-cake fight with (Borat voice) MY WIIIIFE," he wrote. They honeymooned in Thailand and there is Instagram evidence they did fun things like eat bugs.

It looks like they are super sweet and supportive of each other. On Buckley's last day of shooting the CW show iZombie, Wade celebrated her husband on Instagram. "Today is the last day filming [iZombie] for this stellar human," she wrote, her arms wrapped around Buckley in a picture. "he's worked so hard for 5 years & i am INSANELY proud of him."

Lee Norris found love with a 'normal person'

Lucas Scott's friend from the River Court Marvin "Mouth" McFadden, who was played by Lee Norris, is a staple on One Tree Hill from the pilot episode to the series finale. Mouth's longtime love interest Millie does slip up and sleep with hot bartender Owen (Joe Manganiello) one night when she's angry, but she's allowed to make mistakes and we don't really blame her. Mouth and Millie are married and expecting a baby by the series finale, so all is well that ends well.

In real life, Lee has a sweet love story, too. He married "normal person" Andrea Norris in 2011, and they host the podcast Married With Television together. On the pod, they dish about reality TV shows most celebrities probably wouldn't admit to watching like Southern Charm, Vanderpump Rules, and The Bachelor. That's our kind of couple. He recently joined members of the OTH cast for a virtual "Georgia Letter Writing Party" in December 2020 and was in the Tom Hanks movie Greyhound.

Antwon Tanner is close to his family

Antwon "Skills" Taylor (Antwon Tanner) was a regular on One Tree Hill's River Court. After a disturbing affair with Nate's mom, Deb, in the later years, it is implied on the series finale that Skills got back together with his high school sweetheart, Bevin. 

In the real world? While he does keep his personal life relatively private, he has shared some details on Instagram. Tanner is happily married to his wife, who he calls "Boots" on social media, and reportedly has four kids. "Happy birthday to my queen. My other half. The love of my life. My best friend," he wrote on Instagram in April 2020. They were quarantining at the time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but he promised "we will turn up when it's over." That same year, he wished his wife's mother a happy anniversary, calling her "the best mother in-law a man could ask for."

Shantel VanSanten is on top of the world with Victor Webster

Shantel VanSanten played Quinn James on One Tree Hill beginning in Season 7, and her character eventually found happiness with Clay Evans but had to go through a lot of heartache to get there. She comes to Tree Hill to heal after ending her marriage and also endures the death of her mother.

VanSanten is starting 2021 on top of the world — almost literally. As People noted, she started dating actor Victor Webster after they met on the set of the 2017 Hallmark movie Love Blossoms. She shared in February on Instagram that he proposed to her on top of the mountain where he told her he loved her for the first time. Does it get any more romantic than that? "I didn't say anything for awhile, not out of suspense although it would have been a good prank, but because my legs stopped working, I had to sit down and I couldn't stop crying and kissing him," she shared. "BUT OBVIOUSLY I SAID YES!!!" Congratulations to the happy couple, whose love story sounds like less like a primetime teen soap opera and more like a Hallmark movie.