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Hilarie Burton | Hilarie Burton and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. | Source: Getty Images
Hilarie Burton | Hilarie Burton and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. | Source: Getty Images

Hilarie Burton Proudly Let Her Hair Grow Gray at 41, Defying Expectations: It Has Been a ‘Relief'

Jana Stevens
Oct 10, 2023
08:00 P.M.
  • Hilarie Burton's agent once said her hair makes her look "average."
  • Her husband, Jeffrey Dean Morgan's gray hair, also influenced her.
  • Burton never felt like she fit in when she lived in Los Angeles.
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Hilarie Burton attends the AMC Networks' 2023 Upfront at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 18, 2023, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

Hilarie Burton attends the AMC Networks' 2023 Upfront at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 18, 2023, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

"One Tree Hill" alum Hilarie Burton used her hair as a means to conform when she was younger. Since her mid-teens, she allowed outside forces to dictate how she presented her crown.

Over the past decade, she has been making significant changes, from starting a family, moving to a farm, diversifying her career, and growing out her gray roots.

Hilarie Burton and Damien speak on stage during the first MTV "TRL Awards" at the MTV Times Square Studios on February 6, 2003, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

Hilarie Burton and Damien speak on stage during the first MTV "TRL Awards" at the MTV Times Square Studios on February 6, 2003, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

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Quddus and Hilarie Burton during the "TRL Awards" at the MTV Times Square Studios, on February 17, 2003, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

Quddus and Hilarie Burton during the "TRL Awards" at the MTV Times Square Studios, on February 17, 2003, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

It was the summer before eighth grade when she dyed her hair for the first time, just highlights, to fit in with the cool crowd. Not long after, she was called "average" by her New York agent when she briefly became a redhead at 15.

Following the first season of "One Tree Hill," a hairstylist told the then-21-year-old that she did not look like a star, but he could change that. What was meant to be a touch-up of her roots led to chunks of her hair falling out from bleach.

Hilarie Burton appears on MTV's "TRL" at MTV Studios, in New York City's Times Square, on January 8, 2008.| Source: Getty Images

Hilarie Burton appears on MTV's "TRL" at MTV Studios, in New York City's Times Square, on January 8, 2008.| Source: Getty Images

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Towards the end of her tenure on the show, she began to tint her hair red again in defiance of her boss, whom she did not care for. She found it exhilarating, and it became the beginning of her taking control of her look.

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At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the former MTV host posted a photo of her gray roots, or as she called it, a "silver lining." She grew out her hair in solidarity with essential workers and first responders.

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In an essay for New Beauty this month, she wrote, "I liked how I looked—perhaps for the first time." The way people have reacted to her husband, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, going gray with admiration made her want to emulate it.

During her book tour, she expanded on this, explaining on "The View" that as a teen drama actress, there is an expectation that one needs to look 17 forever.

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Hilarie Burton attends the 2022 iHeartRadio Music Festival at T-Mobile Arena on September 23, 2022, in Las Vegas, Nevada.| Source: Getty Images

Hilarie Burton attends the 2022 iHeartRadio Music Festival at T-Mobile Arena on September 23, 2022, in Las Vegas, Nevada.| Source: Getty Images

The actress said that she did not necessarily like her younger years. "So this idea that you could level up and get to a place where you're the salty one in the room was exciting to me," she said. Burton wanted to be like her heroes, Ruth Gordon and "Golden Girls" stars Bea Arthur and Betty White. The actress added:

"Going gray early has been a relief."

Hilarie Burton Morgan and Jeffrey Dean Morgan attend the "The Walking Dead: Dead City" premiere during the 2023 Tribeca Festival, at BMCC Tribeca PAC, on June 13, 2023, in New York City.| Source: Getty Images

Hilarie Burton Morgan and Jeffrey Dean Morgan attend the "The Walking Dead: Dead City" premiere during the 2023 Tribeca Festival, at BMCC Tribeca PAC, on June 13, 2023, in New York City.| Source: Getty Images

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The Mischievous Life of Hilarie Burton and Jeffrey Dean Morgan

Burton and Morgan live on a 100-acre farm in upstate New York, a property they've dubbed Mischief Farm. The "White Collar" actress briefly lived in Los Angeles but never felt like she fit in.

She felt she needed to do tangible things with her hands to feel accomplished. Having her personal life revolve around natural elements, such as doing repairs and building things, made her feel better about herself.

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After living together as husband and wife for a decade, Hilarie Burton and Jeffrey Dean Morgan tied the knot on October 5, 2023. They have two children.

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