The Truth About Sophia Bush And Chad Michael Murray's Relationship

The following article includes brief mentions of sexual harassment allegations.

Sophia Bush and Chad Michael Murray began dating in 2003 after meeting on the set of the popular mid-aughts show "One Tree Hill." Playing characters Brooke Davis and Lucas Scott, respectively, Bush and Murray's on-screen romance soon translated into a rapid real-life relationship, with the young Hollywood duo becoming engaged in 2004 and subsequently getting married in 2005. However, they infamously divorced only five months later and attempted to remain professional despite remaining mum on the exact reasons for the sudden separation. 

Since then, Bush and Murray have both made great strides in moving forward from their shared past, with both having been in other long-term relationships and stacking up their acting resumes to be seen beyond their CW roles. Yet the shadow of their former relationship looms in the public sphere, and with well over a decade of curiosity and scrutiny — along with seemingly bubbling antagonism between the two — one has to wonder: What could have turned a romantic affair into such a quick split? This is the truth about Sophia Bush and Chad Michael Murray's relationship.

Sophia Bush and Chad Michael Murray married young

During a 2021 appearance on Michael Rosenbaum's "Inside of You" podcast, Sophia Bush confided that her speedy romantic affair with Chad Michael Murray — and its subsequent swift end — was primarily due to the fact that they were so young.

"I was a very naïve 21-year-old kid, and that's all there is to it," Bush told the former "Smallville" actor. At the time of their nuptials, Murray was 23. "I think lots of people do stupid s**t before their prefrontal cortexes are fully formed, and they're not until they're 26," Bush added of the duo's literally underdeveloped brains. Hey, she's not wrong: And according to a 2013 research paper titled "Maturation of the Academic Brain," "The development of the prefrontal cortex is very important for complex behavioral performance."

While the "One Tree Hill" alum felt that it was unnecessary to publicly dwell on what happened in her personal life during her early 20s — especially since both parties have since grown up and presumably learned from past mistakes — she did further elaborate on some major indicators of her youth. Bush, who was in her third year at USC when she joined the hit teen drama's cast, conveyed that her idea of true love at the time stemmed from a steady consumption of rom-coms and Disney flicks. "I was the prime, right out of the cartoon factory candidate for a fairytale ideal of young love," Bush stated, going on to quip, "Come on, it wrote itself."

She didn't necessarily want to marry Chad Michael Murray

Sophia Bush has stated that societal pressures to settle down early — coupled with the wishes of her on-set superiors — negatively influenced her to get married immediately. In a self-written essay for Cosmopolitan in 2017, Bush explained how she wanted to focus on acting while she was a young adult and believed that marriage would come later in life. However, she alluded to her past relationship with Chad Michael Murray causing a shift in her plans, writing, "When the person you're with asks you to marry him, you think: This must be happening because it's supposed to."

On an episode of "Radio Andy" with Andy Cohen the following year, however, the star was less ambiguous about this past celeb marriage. Ultimately, Bush felt that if she did not go through it, she would be letting everyone down. "When you have bosses telling you that you're the only person who gets a person to work on time, and 200 people either get to see their kids at night or they don't because our days start on time," she explained of the alleged dependence factor between herself, Murray, and the "One Tree Hill" crew. 

Bush also stated that as a woman, she felt that she didn't have the power to speak up, believing that there was only so much she could do without conflict. "Ladies have to learn how to take up space in the way that men are taught they are entitled to," Bush proclaimed. Well said.

OTH producers 'ran TV ads' about their relationship

In 2018, Sophia Bush revealed that she felt exploited by the "One Tree Hill" producers, who apparently used inspiration from her real-life relationship drama in the show, as well as televised promos. In an appearance on Dax Shepard's podcast "Armchair Expert," she claimed that they were deeply unsympathetic when they ran ads on TV about her breakup with Chad Michael Murray, further alleging that her trauma was being used as entertainment (via People): "They made practice of taking advantage of people's personal lives and not just for me and for my ex — for other actors on the show who would share, as you do when you get close to people, deeply personal things that were happening in their lives, and they would wind up in storylines."

Bush went on to proclaim that the producers allegedly thrived off the drama at every turn and expressed disappointment at the apparent lack of protection they provided to their young cast, stating, "When you run a show, you're like a parent, you're supposed to protect your flock, and it was the opposite of that." As previously mentioned, Bush felt as though she had to run with all of this, as she wanted to maintain a professional environment on set. However, it was an understandably tumultuous time for the star, which ultimately left her with "no space to self-reflect." 

The year before Bush's recounting of alleged exploitation, she and 17 other women from the "OTH" cast and crew wrote and signed an open letter accusing creator Mark Schwahn of sexual harassment, per Variety.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Sophia Bush and Chad Michael Murray worked together post-divorce

While their divorce was finalized at the end of 2006, this celeb pairing continued working together up until 2009, even sharing a multitude of scenes on "One Tree Hill." Sophia Bush said feelings of animosity were put to the side for the sake of getting the job done. "This is my integrity, this is my job, I will not falter for one second or one minute ever on this set," Bush told Dax Shepard on his podcast "Armchair Expert." "I will be the most f***ing professional person anyone has ever seen." 

This sentiment echoed a discussion during Bush's 2014 appearance on "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen," during which the actor stated how work was her number one priority at the time. "I actually think what's interesting about it is when people split in a way that's unpleasant, they usually just go on quite literally hating each other," Bush explained to Cohen. "... But when you have to work with somebody for another half a decade, you kind of have to deal with it."

They did not have a real honeymoon

Similarly to the work ethic of ex-wife Sophia Bush, Chad Michael Murray ended up going to a press junket for his movie "House of Wax” less than a week after the pair wed, postponing a honeymoon that would ultimately never come to fruition. In an interview with Toni Ruberto of The Buffalo News, Murray kept his words about the wedding to a minimum. "​​All I'll say is that it was the best day of my life," the Western New York native said. "She was gorgeous. It was perfect." He went on to note that there were plans for a real honeymoon to take place later in the year. "Trust me, I do not want to be spending my honeymoon on a junket," Murray told Ruberto. "This is the last place I want to be, but we'll find our time together. Right now, we've got some work to get done." 

According to People, the couple wed on April 16, 2005 in Santa Monica, California. They proceeded to hold an informal honeymoon at a hotel in Santa Barbara between the day of their wedding and Murray's promotional obligations, per PopSugar.

Chad Michael Murray and those cheating allegations

Back in 2006 — and unconfirmed to this day — there was speculation that Chad Michael Murray allegedly cheated on ex-wife Sophia Bush with his "House of Wax" co-star, Paris Hilton. In an appearance on Ryan Seacrest's KIIS FM morning radio show at the time (via TMZ), Nick Carter claimed that Murray was involved in ex-girlfriend Hilton's own alleged infidelity when the actor was still married to Bush, and only provided this information after saying that he himself had slept with Ashlee Simpson as retaliation for the "Simple Life" star's supposed behavior. 

With these rumors out in the open, TMZ tried to catch up with Bush one night in 2007, asking if Hilton deserved her 45-day jail sentence due to a probation violation. Bush remained poised, simply brushing off the question with a laugh. Meanwhile, her friends trailed behind her into a black SUV and proudly proclaimed, "She does!" Before they drove off, Bush could be overhead telling her pals, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."

For his part, Murray never publicly addressed the cheating claims. However, in a 2011 interview with E! News, he touched on his previous fast lifestyle around the time of the alleged adulterous activity. "I was a kid," he said, while insisting that he had since changed his ways. "And I guess I just I didn't see things as clear as I wish I did. ... When you're young and you're thrown into something that I was definitely not ready for — I'm human and screw up."

Sophia Bush claimed fraud in her annulment filing

Sophia Bush attempted to cite fraud in her annulment request in February 2006, which was subsequently denied. The Los Angeles Superior Court revealed this request, but there was seemingly no context for the fraud itself, per People. Under more ambiguity, one of Bush's pals alleged to the outlet that Chad Michael Murray didn't have the same perspective as his soon-to-be ex-wife when it came to "the sanctity of marriage," seemingly hinting that those above-mentioned cheating allegations. However, it turns out that claiming fraud in an annulment can be an arduous undertaking, and according to Divorce Digest, there must be more weight to nulling a marriage as void than an alleged lack of character morals.

For her part, Bush simply stated to People about the split, "This is a difficult and unfortunate situation, I am glad this is being resolved sooner rather than later." Murray publicly shared a similar sentiment for a short while, releasing in a statement (via Us Weekly), "I am saddened to announce that Sophia and I are separating. This is a very difficult time for me." 

However, by the time the pair's divorce was finalized, Murray had already moved on to yet another "One Tree Hill" cast and crew member, then-18-year-old Kenzie Dalton. While this romance lasted much longer than his ill-fated relationship with Bush, the duo's seven-year engagement would end in 2013.

Chad Michael Murray was outright with his initial feelings

While there is little to be found of Sophia Bush's early romantic emotions toward Chad Michael Murray, her ex-husband did not shy away from his initial adoration of her. 

In an interview with MTV around this time, he detailed his elaborate proposal to Bush, which occurred in Australia while he was filming "House of Wax." "I woke up one day and I said, 'This is the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with,'" he explained. Having decorated his penthouse with hundreds of candles and spelling "I love u" with strung-up lights on a nearby tennis court, per InStyle, Murray stated, "[The proposal] was probably the most nerve-wracking thing I've ever done in my life."

He also explained that, despite their massive CW fame, the then-loved up couple did normal things together and preferred to keep their private life to themselves. Murray also spoke very highly of Bush's character, saying, "She's wonderful, she's kind, she's intelligent, and she makes me happy." In a 2005 interview with The Buffalo News shortly after the duo tied the knot, Murray simply stated that his then-wife made him a better person.

Things got combative on social media a decade later

A far cry from those gushy feelings a decade prior, Chad Michael Murray ended up in an online spat with Sophia Bush after her high-profile "Radio Andy" interview in 2018, where she claimed she didn't want to marry her "One Tree Hill" co-star. 

Murray, who's welcomed two children with second wife Sarah Roemer, subsequently tweeted a since-deleted GIF featuring Pinocchio's growing nose (via E! News). Roemer also posted later-deleted Instagram meme, per Us Weekly: "Wait a second ... my producers also made me marry Chad Michael Murray." Meanwhile, his rep hit back at Bush's comments, stating in part to People, "Chad conducts himself in a completely professional manner and would never marry for any reason but love." Murray further appeared to shade Bush on Twitter with, "Do u know what I do every morning? Wake in my loving family's embrace, make coffee & breakfast 4 the kiddos with my wife. Read 1-2 chapters in the Bible 2 start the day off right. Then we plan how 2 fill the day with love 4 my family & brethren. It's so simple yet so fulfilling."

In response, Bush urged her social media followers to look into the interview details: "It would be so lovely to have substantive conversations, which I work my a** off to turn away from typical gossip fodder, be looked at wholly, rather than milled for pull quotes. Not having it." Explaining that she'd merely been poking fun at herself, Bush noted that answering questions about this relationship was a Catch-22, leading to poor assumptions either way.

Sophia Bush said she's 'not allowed' to talk about their marriage

A few years after the abovementioned online conflict ensued due to her headline-making interview with Andy Cohen, Sophia Bush seemed to take a leaf out of her ex's book and revealed that she would no longer talk about her first marriage to Chad Michael Murray, as her words typically became the stuff of tabloid fodder — and quickly at that. 

In her 2021 appearance on Michael Rosenbaum's "Inside of You" podcast, she bluntly said, "I'm not allowed to because I've tried to poke fun at being a dumb kid, and whenever I've done that, it gets twisted into I'm talking s**t about somebody who I don't even know anymore, who's clearly a grown-up." Bush, who tied the knot with entrepreneur Grant Hughes in June 2022, emphasized that she'd only talked about this past relationship publicly in order to be transparent and joke about her younger self and her own mistakes, especially since she felt so far removed from the past with her blossoming new romantic life and continued career success beyond "One Tree Hill."

Bush previously noted on Dax Shepard's "Armchair Expert" podcast that this line of personal questioning about a prior romance wouldn't be relevant in a career outside of entertainment. As she added to Rosenbaum, "I think you have to laugh at who you used to be, but when people ask me about history that involves someone else ... it's not worth my time. It's not a place where I harbor ill will or anything."