Like a lot of girls born into the upper-middle-class suburb of Pasadena, CA, Sophia Bush caught a whiff of the Hollywood air just down the road and took an interest in acting at an early age. After getting her feet wet in school plays at the Westridge School for Girls, she graduated in 2000 and enrolled at the University of Southern California, where she majored in journalism and minored in theater. It was that minor interest that proved to be her greatest passion, however, and in 2002, at the age of 20, she scored her first movie gig with a small role in National Lampoon’s Van Wilder.
Another onscreen role would follow in 2003, and a much more substantial one. Bush was cast as sassy cheerleader Brooke Davis in the WB series One Tree Hill. She left school to work full-time on the series, which paid off when One Tree Hill proved to be a huge hit. In addition to the professional success that the show brought her, the program also featured Bush’s onscreen romance with co-star Chad Michael Murray — which soon turned into a real-life love affair. The two were wed in 2005, but unfortunately, the union was not to last. After just five months, the two separated and eventually divorced, though they remained co-stars on the series.
Bush took the personal hit in stride, continuing to act in additional projects such as Supercross: The Movie and the popular 2006 comedy John Tucker Must Die. Bush also proved to have a knack for tense and scary subject matter, from a recurring part on the series Nip/Tuck to a starring role in the 2006 horror flick Stay Alive. In 2007, she appeared in an even bigger horror movie as the female lead in a remake of The Hitcher, starring opposite veteran actor Sean Bean.
While building up her impressive acting resumé, Bush still didn’t lose the interest in journalism that she pursued in college, working as an assignment editor for Annenberg TV News when she wasn’t on-set.