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Mischa Barton speaks about her 'full-on breakdown'

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By Breeanna Hare

(CNN) -- Life after "The O.C." has been rocky, to say the least, for Mischa Barton.

The 27-year-old actress was one of the hottest TV stars out about a decade ago, but since her reign as "The O.C.'s" Marissa Cooper, Barton has had a "full-on breakdown," she tells People magazine in its new issue.

The actress recounted how, in July 2009, her parents and agents confronted her with their concern that she was working too hard and partying even harder.

During the intervention, Barton blacked out and was sent to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Along the way, she threatened to kill herself, which prompted her being sent to a psychiatric ward for four days.

"It was a full-on breakdown," Barton said. "It was terrifying. Straight out of 'Girl, Interrupted.' Story of my life."

The actress said she was never actually suicidal, just "overworked and depressed. But one slip of the tongue in a heightened moment, and you find yourself in that situation."

Yet that situation also allowed her to gain some clarity about her life, she told the magazine.

"I was deeply hurt at first," Barton recalled, "and then I accepted this was time I needed to be away from work, my family and all the pressure. I had been through the wringer."

The star also opened up about coping with the public's scrutiny of her weight: "It was always, 'She's too skinny, she must be sick.' Then it was, 'She's too big.' I was never the right weight."

Born in London, Barton landed the role of Cooper on the Fox prime-time soap when she was 16. It seemed that overnight, she and her parents, who also hail from the United Kingdom, were thrown into "this situation that was completely foreign," she said. "Nothing could prepare (my parents) to have their children jump into the overtly sexualized and crazy world of L.A. ... It was a train I could not get off of. When you're young, you can do it, but after a while, it's going to come crashing down on you."

But Barton did eventually exit that fast life, and she headed to Paris to recuperate.

"I needed to be on my own and get healthy," Barton said. "I just try to be balanced. ... I needed to take this time for me. ... I've learned a lot. I'm stronger now, and I'm excited for what's ahead."
   
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