“Back in the early days of our show [One Tree Hill], all of us were partnered and then I very publicly was not,” Bush, 41, shared on a Thursday, October 26, episode of the “Drama Queens” podcast, seemingly referring to her split with Chad Michael Murray. “The first date I went on was with a very sweet boy named Austin Nichols when I was 23. We dated on and off for years.”
The actress went on to explain to her podcast cohosts Hilarie Burton Morgan and Bethany Joy Lenz that Nichols, 43, joined the cast of One Tree Hill after he told Bush that he’s “not going to let [her] tell him that they can’t date because the long distance was too hard.”
“Bold, gorgeous, romantic gesture,” Bush gushed. “We laugh about it all the time. We’re still good friends.”
Bush then dove into her and Nichols’ spooky experience when they were living together in Wilmington, North Carolina, which is where OTH was filmed.
“When we were properly able to date because we were living in the same city for the first time in a decade. We were sleeping and this was when I had that creepy apartment. I just knew it was haunted,” she shared. “I hear this noise [one night] and it wakes me up … it’s in the floor. I turn the light on and Austin looks at me and goes, ‘What is that noise?’ We both start to make our way over to it. A volleyball size orb pops out of the floor. We both start to scream. The two of us lept up and ran. This thing went from round to tall and then evaporated.”
Although it was a scary situation, Bush was “so happy that one of her friends was with her.”
“We still are like, ‘Wasn’t that so weird?’ It’s nice to know we’re not crazy,” Bush joked.
Bush and Nichols — who were also a couple on One Tree Hill — officially split in February 2012 after six years of dating on-and-off. “She didn’t think he was the one,” a source exclusively told Us Weekly at the time. “She’s moving on.”
Nichols was not the only One Tree Hill star that Bush dated — she also had romances with Murray, 42, and James Lafferty.
Murray and Bush tied the knot in April 2005, however, five months later the duo announced their split amid cheating speculation. Several years later, Bush shared she’s “not allowed” to talk about Murray because of people’s reactions from the past.
“I’ve tried to poke fun at being a dumb kid and whenever I’ve done that, it gets twisted into I’m talking s—t about somebody who I don’t even know anymore, who’s clearly a grown-up,” she explained on the “Inside of You With Michael Rosenbaum” podcast in August 2021. “I think you have to, like, laugh at who you used to be, but when people ask me about history that involves someone else … it’s not worth my time. It’s not a place where I harbor ill will or anything. I was a very naïve 21-year-old kid, and that’s all there is to it.”
Following their divorce, Bush struck up a brief romance with Lafferty, 38, in 2008.
Bush recently made headlines in August when it was revealed that her and Grant Hughes split after 13 months of marriage. Following her divorce, multiple outlets reported in October that Bush had moved on with soccer star Ashlyn Harris.
“It’s only been a couple of weeks since their first official date, but things already feel really natural between them,” a source told Us. “They love being together. They love sports and want to do good in the world.”