Rachel Bilson and Adam Brody

Rachel Bilson & Adam Brody's Relationship Timeline Was A Teenage Dream

Seth & Summer forever.

Summer Roberts and Seth Cohen’s relationship on The O.C. fueled plenty of fans’ fantasies of the ultimate high school love story. As the characters got closer on the show, Rachel Bilson and Adam Brody were also experiencing an IRL romance — though theirs didn’t end in happily-ever-after.

The couple dated for around three years while filming the show, from 2003 to 2006. They ended it a little before the hit series officially wrapped, leading to one very awkward moment. Still, even years after their split, Bilson and Brody seem to appreciate what their relationship did for them. “Because of what the show was and how young we all were, going through it with someone experiencing the same thing and having that kind of support was really awesome,” Bilson told Nylon in 2021 when asked about dating her co-star. “I'm actually grateful that I did have it.”

Brody also seemed to have fond memories of their past together. When he appeared on Bilson’s podcast Welcome To The OC, B*tches! in October 2021, he complimented his ex and former co-star. “It was my pleasure and it was such a joy ... In the pilot, you made it your own instantly and everyone fell in love with you. I felt like we were sparring so well together so fast,” he recalled, per E!.

Though their 2006 breakup wasn’t the ending Summer and Seth stans hoped for, Bilson and Brody seem to be doing just fine. Here’s a full breakdown of their relationship timeline.

2003: Rachel & Adam Got Close On The O.C.

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Bilson and Brody actually met before filming Season 1 of The O.C. In the book Welcome To The O.C., she admitted to thinking Brody was “kind of a d*ck” before getting to know him better, per Us Weekly. Apparently, he “casually dated” one of Bilson’s friends pre-show. Per Us Weekly, she recalled him being “cute and funny,” but not exactly her cup of tea.

2003: They Started Dating

After Brody and Bilson split up with their respective SOs during the show’s first season, their romance “grew into itself,” according to Bilson.

The Hart of Dixie star traced their romance back to their first kiss as Seth Cohen and Summer Roberts (Season 1, Episode 6). “I remember after shooting the scene where I kiss him, like, I remember thinking, ‘Do I like Adam?’” she said in a June 2021 episode of her podcast. “That’s when those wheels started turning.”

Brody also recalled their on-screen PDA in an August 2013 episode of Watch What Happens Live, saying that Bilson was a better kisser than Olivia Wilde, who guest-starred on the show. “I was dating Rachel at the time, so there were less barriers,” he said. “So, Rachel.”

In 2014, he complimented Bilson’s kissing abilities again. In a Reddit Ask Me Anything, he called Bilson “one of the all-time greats”when it comes to kissing.

2004: They Filmed Their Spider-Man Kiss


This was technically a Seth and Summer moment, but it’s iconic enough to earn itself a spot on Bilson and Brody’s ‘ship timeline. However, the true story behind the kiss isn’t that romantic. "We were on a soundstage, and it's pouring rain inside, and Adam's upside down, water's going up his nose, he can't breathe," Bilson revealed to InStyle in April 2021. "It was, like, the most unromantic setup ever. Trying to kiss someone upside down, and your lips are moving opposite … it's just so awkward.”

Brody also has less-than-fond memories of that particular makeout. “I really liked the director, and we got on well,” he told Inverse in March 2023. “But one time, he left me hanging up there a little longer than I thought. And I remember just feeling mad, because I was powerless. And all the blood was rushing to my head. And he was like, ‘We’re gonna go again.’ And I was like, ‘Put me down.’ And he didn’t.”

2006: Rachel & Adam Broke Up

Everything seemed to be going well for the couple before their reported December 2006 breakup. In April of that year, Bilson told Teen People, “We always have a lot to talk about, and we tell each other everything. I feel like I have everything now — the dog, the house, the job and him. I can't ask for anything more!" (Pre-breakup, they adopted a dog together: a pitbull named Penny Lane.)

However, by December, the ‘ship was reportedly over. At the time, sources told People that like a “typical romance,” they “just grew apart.” The insider added, “They've been on and off for a while now.”

2006: Rachel & Adam Film Seth & Summer’s Wedding


Unfortunately for Brody and Bilson, their breakup didn’t quite align with the end of filming. The co-stars still had one important scene to act out: their characters’ wedding. “We broke up at the very end so there wasn’t much [for us to film] after the breakup. We did get married after we broke up,” she explained on Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast in March 2021, per Us. “They totally did that on purpose. That was the only scene left to shoot, was the wedding. They’re like, ‘You broke up? Let’s give you a wedding.’”

The whole “bizarre” sitch prompted Bilson to request that Summer’s wedding dress be opposite her own personal style. “When you’re that age, you think you’re going to be with that person forever,” she told Shepard. “And I remember feeling like, I don’t want to wear something that I would ever wear for my own wedding. That feels weird.”