Mischa Barton has said she was not prepared for the level of fame that followed her role in The OC.

The actress, 33, landed her role as Marissa Cooper in the TV series at the age of 17.

Following a break from the limelight, she is returning to TV screens to star in MTV’s reboot of reality show The Hills.

In the first episode, airing on Tuesday night, she says: “I’ve been acting since I was eight and I realised very early on that it was what I wanted to do. I was 17 when I booked The OC and I wasn’t prepared for that level of fame.

“It’s crazy when you’ve got that many people following you all the time, I’ve had a couple of really bad things happen to me here, just made me realise that I needed to leave LA for a minute.

“My whole thought process was, if I get away from the industry and the paparazzi, I can get a fresh perspective on my career and what I wanna be doing with my life. I’m excited to be reconnecting with this group of friends that I used to run around with but now that I’m back, I’m definitely cautious”.

Barton did not star in the original Hills series which ran from 2006 to 2010.

The return of the US reality TV series on MTV also features returning cast members Heidi and Spencer Pratt, Brody Jenner, Audrina Patridge, Whitney Port, Stephanie Pratt, Jason Wahler and Justin “Bobby” Brescia.

The Hills: New Beginnings airs on MTV UK.