Rachel Bilson says Rami Malek asked her to take down a throwback photo of them: 'I was just a little bummed'
Sometimes our high school friendships don't stand the test of time. Especially under pressure.
That's what Rachel Bilson discovered when she shared a throwback photo of her and former classmate Rami Malek two years ago. Apparently the Mr. Robot star messaged Bilson asking her to take down the photo, and she obliged.
The OC alum recounted the mixup while sitting down for the latest episode Dax Shepard's podcast, Armchair Expert. "Rami was a good friend of mine," Bilson said. "We were the same crew. We did The Crucible together senior year. We were the leads in it together, all these things. We kind of kept in contact a little bit."
When Malek's star was soaring during the 2019 awards season thanks to his turn as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody (which would eventually win him the Oscar), Bilson thought it would be fun to share a photo from their senior year on Instagram.
"I had posted a throwback of us from our senior trip to New York, Broadway. We were super-nerdy, just the dorkiest picture of both of us," she recalled. "But I throw it up 'cause it's funny, and I think it's so important to be able to make fun of yourself, and he had like a gold chain, and I'm like, 'Rami where'd you get the gold chain?' Whatever. So I'm just being funny, we were good friends."
Bilson said she was taken aback by Malek's reaction, but that she found out from his stylist that Malek didn't like the photo of himself. "She was like, 'Well, it's not a great picture of him.' Okay, I'm sorry. We were 16!" Bilson said. "It was what it was. It was right before the Oscars, and I remember [The O.C. creator] Josh Schwartz being like, 'You did him dirty! He's about to be nominated.' And I'm like, 'What do you mean? This was my friend; it's a funny picture.'"
Still, Bilson honored Malek's wishes and took the photo down, even writing him back to apologize. "I wrote to him a really nice message, like, 'I'm so sorry. Go get the Oscar, you're doing amazing.' And I never hear anything back," she said. "But I was super-bummed because he was always so nice and we were good friends, and I'm a big fan of not taking yourself seriously, especially at that level of fame and talent. But look, he wants to be super-respected, it's his thing, so I respected it. I took it down. I was just a little bummed at how it was handled."
A week later, Bilson checked her Instagram DMs and was surprised to find a message there from Malek. "But it wasn't like, 'Hey! How are you?' It was straight to 'I would really appreciate it if you take that down, I'm a really private person,'" she said. "I was like, 'Oh s---, okay.' I get like really hot, I like start sweating, and I get all nervous."
Malek's reps did not immediately respond to EW's request for comment.