Rachel Bilson said Rami Malek asked her to remove an old photo she posted of them in high school.
Bilson shared the throwback image of them together on Instagram in 2019.
On "Armchair Expert With Dax Shepard," Bilson said she was "a little bummed" at how it was handled.
"Rami was a good friend of mine," Bilson said in an interview for "Armchair Expert With Dax Shepard" that was released on Monday.
The "Hart of Dixie" alum said that she and Malek ran in similar circles at Notre Dame High School in California, the same school they attended with Kirsten Dunst. At the time, Bilson recognized that he was "extremely talented, a really amazing actor."
"We were in the same crew," Bilson recalled. "We did 'The Crucible' together senior year. We were the leads in it together - all these things."
The "O.C." actress then shared a story with podcast hosts Shepard and Monica Padman about what happened in early 2019 when she posted a photo of them from their senior trip to New York.
"We're super nerdy, just the dorkiest picture of the both of us," Bilson said. "But I throw it up, 'cause it's funny and I think it's so important to be able to make fun of yourself."
The photo showed the young stars posing outside a Broadway theater, with Malek looking nearly unrecognizable wearing a white T-shirt and a black jacket with a chain around his neck and spiky hair.
"Hey @ramimalek where'd you get that gold chain? #tbt#oscarworthy #dontforgetthelittlepeople," Bilson captioned the Instagram photo.
Bilson said that when she checked her direct messages about a week later, she saw that the Oscar-winning "Bohemian Rhapsody" star had messaged her. Malek has previously said he's not a fan of social media, and his Instagram account appears to be deactivated.
"But it wasn't like, 'Hey! How are you?!' It was straight to: 'I would really appreciate if you take that down. I'm a really private person,'" she said.
Bilson said that she panicked when she read the message.
"I was like, 'Oh, s---! OK.' I get really hot and start sweating. I'm all nervous, like, 'Oh, God! What did I do?'" she said.
She added: "I guess he didn't like the picture of himself. I'm friends with his stylist, and she was like, 'Well it's not a great picture of him.'"
The actress countered that they were 16 at the time, and she didn't expect a negative reaction from it. But she also realized that the image was posted around the same time as awards season, when Malek was a top contender for his portrayal of Queen front man Freddie Mercury in "Bohemian Rhapsody."
"It was right before the Oscars, and I remember Josh Schwartz being like, 'You did him dirty. He's about to be nominated,'" Bilson said, referring to the creator of "The O.C."
The "Lovestruck" star said that she respected Malek's wishes and "removed it and I even wrote to him a really nice message: 'I'm so sorry. Go get the Oscar! You're doing amazing.' And I never hear anything back, which is fine."
"I was super bummed because he was always so nice and we were good friends," she said. "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 representative for Malek didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
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