What We Know About Hallmark Stars Hilarie Burton And Bethany Joy Lenz's Rumored Feud

Before they went on to star in Hallmark movies, Hilarie Burton and Bethany Joy Lenz first got to know each other when they starred in "One Tree Hill."  While Lenz was in all nine seasons of the series, Burton was only part of the first six seasons. She later alleged that the series' creator and showrunner, Mark Schwahn, had sexually assaulted her multiple times and she didn't want to renew her contract (via Variety).

In June 2021, Burton and Lenz teamed up with their fellow "One Tree Hill" castmate Sophia Bush to host the podcast "Drama Queens." During the show, the three actors rewatched their series from the beginning. They were also involved in other projects, and after Lenz began promoting her memoir, "Dinner for Vampires," in February 2024, some fans began to see signs of discord between Burton and Lenz. Burton's second book, "Grimoire Girl" was released in October 2023. Two days before Lenz's post, Burton had reminisced about the genesis of her first book, "Rural Diaries," and teased that she was in the process of writing a novel. 

TikToker laguna_biotch observed that, on the same day as Lenz's book reveal, Burton posted a quote from the artist Pink that said, "I don't think imitation is the highest form of flattery, I think it's annoying." While Burton's intention is unclear, it's possible she's referring to Lenz's book post occurring right after her own. In addition, the fan noted that both women ceased to follow each other on Instagram.

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).

Fans saw a Drama Queens promo as further evidence of conflict

Less that three weeks after rumors of a dispute between Hilarie Burton and Bethany Joy Lenz began, Lenz and Sophia Bush participated in a promo posted to the "Drama Queens" Instagram account, sans Burton. Some "One Tree Hill" enthusiasts jumped to the conclusion that this omission was an additional sign of ill feelings between the actors.

These fans also continued to hypothesize on the exact nature of the supposed book conflict. One theorized that Burton, Lenz, and Bush had planned to co-author a "One Tree Hill" book, and that perhaps Lenz had overstepped by placing some of that content into her own memoir. Other people surmised that the upset occurred because Lenz's book cover and Burton's second book cover had a comparable aesthetic. However, some dismissed this idea out of hand. "I'm sorry, there are like three cover styles of celebrity memoirs," joked TikToker celebritymemoirbookclub. Giving the situation a more positive spin, this individual postulated that the extra media coverage of a supposed feud was a helpful promotional tool for Lenz's new book.

Another group of fans had longstanding doubts about Lenz's and Burton's friendship. "They don't seem to know [Lenz] that well," one commented on Reddit. "It seems like they exclude her on the podcast." Other users on the platform chimed in that they thought the divide occurred based on widely divergent political ideologies between the two actors.

Burton and Lenz continue to work together on Drama Queens

Supposed feud or not, Hilarie Burton and Bethany Joy Lenz are still producing new episodes of their "Drama Queens" podcast. While none of the actors have commented on rumors of a rift, they were clear about their relationships when they started the podcast. In a June 2021 promo on Instagram, Lenz described the show as "a vision of what a sisterhood can look like," in terms of their characters onscreen relationships as well as their current real-life connection. "I now get to have Take 2 on these female friendships and learn to trust and learn to let my guard down and be vulnerable," Lenz explained to The New York Times in 2022.

Some fans were still feeling the good vibes in March 2024 as the rumors of a clash continued. In the comments for the Burton-less podcast promo, one person chastised the naysayers, writing, "Why do you have to look for something negative in something that is literally super positive, by women who are known for inspiring positivity," while noting that the show's new YouTube channel description prominently featured all three hosts. Multiple fans poured cold water on the rivalry speculation by noting that Burton was in the podcast episode that aired the same day as the promo, and she's continued to work on the show. However, once the rewatch reaches season seven and beyond, her participation might be different, since Burton had left "One Tree Hill" by that point.