Rachel Bilson and Hayden Christensen welcomed their daughter Briar Rose in 2014
Bilson and Christensen welcomed their daughter on Oct. 29, 2014, six years after meeting on the set of the 2008 film Jumper. Since then, Bilson and Christensen have split up — they ended their relationship in 2017 — but they’ve opened up about co-parenting and why they’ve been able to do it successfully.
“Communication is key and just being on the same page, so everything's about the kid," Bilson told PEOPLE in 2021. "As long as you put the kid first, everything will be okay."
Bilson and Christensen have also revealed a few of Briar’s interests — including Taylor Swift, cooking and wanting to be an actor like her parents. But at the same time, the O.C. star and Star Wars actor have been careful to protect their child’s privacy, including not posting photos of her face on social media.
Bilson has also shared that when it comes to dating, she won’t introduce her daughter to anyone unless it’s a “very serious relationship.” Still, she doesn’t hide the fact that being a parent is a key aspect of her life.
“She’s my world and I talk about her all the time anyways. How f----- up would it be if I hid that?” Bilson said on The Viall Files in 2019. “If you’re going to pursue something with someone, they have to be interested in the kid or be willing to be around the kid or babysit the kid … all the things.”
Here's everything to know about Rachel Bilson and Hayden Christensen's daughter, Briar Rose Christensen.
She was born on Oct. 29, 2014
Bilson and Christensen welcomed their daughter Briar Rose Christensen on Oct. 29, 2014. Bilson’s rep confirmed the news to PEOPLE with a statement that read, “Both mother and baby are healthy and doing well.” A source had previously confirmed to PEOPLE in May 2014 that the couple were expecting a baby.
At the time, Bilson and Christensen had been together for around six years, though they did take a short break from their relationship at one point. The couple got engaged in late 2009, but broke up in the summer of 2010. Despite reconciling, the pair eventually split for good in 2017 after nearly 10 years together.
She has a fairy tale-inspired name
If Briar Rose’s name sounds familiar, that’s because she’s named after a Disney princess — or, more specifically, the original Brothers Grimm story that inspired her. Briar Rose is the name of Sleeping Beauty in the Brothers Grimm version of the folktale, and in the Disney version, the character Aurora is referred to as Briar Rose as a child.
“There’s a Disney reference there, I suppose,” Christensen said on Hallmark Channel’s Home & Family in 2015. “The original Sleeping Beauty is called Briar Rose.”
He added, “We both love all things Disney — but Rachel especially was very keen on the name. We have Disney songs playing around the house 24/7 right now.”
She made her Instagram debut at 9 months old
When Briar was 9 months old, Bilson shared a photo of her on Instagram for the first time — but she was sure to keep her baby’s face hidden. The picture shows Briar and Christensen sitting on a blanket in a park while the actor blows bubbles for his daughter.
Since then, while the parents have shared the rare snap of Briar without showing her face, they generally choose to keep her life as private as they can.
“They don’t choose to be in the limelight, you know, themselves. When they’re old enough and they want to pursue it and that’s what they do then that’s fine. But it’s not like I want to promote my kid or put her out there,” Bilson said on The Viall Files.
But, she recognized that keeping her daughter out of the public eye as much as possible is particularly hard due to the paparazzi.
“They don’t care,” the Hart of Dixie actress said. “I saw a picture the other day of my daughter somewhere and she’s looking at the camera smiling because she has no idea. She thinks someone is just taking her picture … it’s so innocent but, it crushed me. Like, ‘No! You don’t know what they’re doing!’ "
She’s a Swiftie
Briar got the chance to attend Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, but she was not happy when she had to go home before the last song.
"We left early," Bilson said on her podcast Broad Ideas in August 2023. "Briar's friend Aria danced her a-- off to 'I Knew You Were Trouble' — she was feeling it — and then just turned around, sat in her seat and passed out."
The problem was: Briar wasn’t as tired as her concert buddies. Bilson continued, "Everyone around us was laughing because it was so cute. Briar wanted to stay until the end, but her two friends were just done. So we left early. Briar was so mad about that. She was so mad."
Despite Briar’s annoyance, The Last Kiss star is pleased that Swift was her daughter’s first concert.
"It was a really cool experience except that it was Briar's first concert and I'm like, 'Where do you go from here?' " Bilson said about Swift's show. "For my daughter to see this, I think it's so rad. It's one woman, she writes her own s---, she's really talented and she does it and like, look at what she's done."
She wants to be an actor like her parents
With two parents who are actors, it’s no surprise that Briar is intrigued by their careers. But, Bilson shared that she didn’t expect Briar to want to be an actor herself quite so soon.
"She's already said she wants to act and I'm like, 'How do we handle this?' " Bilson said on the podcast Betches Moms in 2021. "I think to keep that away from her as long as possible is our top choice … It's not what I would want for her at this age."
Bilson also shared the extent to which her then-6-year-old daughter understood her and Christensen’s jobs. "I think she knows that her mom — and her dad's an actor too — so she kind of knows that we are in that world," she explained. "But she's not aware of that level."
Bilson added, "I think she knows he was in Star Wars, but she has no idea what that even means because she hasn't seen anything. She has an idea but not really. I'd like to keep it that way."
She hasn’t seen Star Wars — yet
In a more recent interview, Christensen revealed what Briar knows when it comes to the Star Wars franchise in which he famously plays Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader.
"She knows that I'm in Star Wars and that I play this character, but she's never seen it yet. So, I'm getting to that. I'm trying to figure out my best point of entry,” Christensen said during an episode of Variety’s “Actors on Actors” series in June 2023. “There's some disturbing scenes I'm reluctant for her to see at this age.”
Christensen said that he was able to introduce Briar to more of Star Wars when he appeared on the spinoff TV series Obi-Wan Kenobi.
“It was really nice getting to do the Obi-Wan show and actually bring her to set,” he continued. “Not when I was in the Darth Vader outfit, but we did the flashback sequence and I got to play Anakin, and so I brought her to set for that, and she got to see me swing a lightsaber with Ewan [McGregor].”
He added, “She was very concerned for my well-being. She was afraid that one of us were gonna get hurt."
She went to a Star Wars theme park
She might not have seen the films yet, but Briar got another inside look at Star Wars when she visited Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland with her father for her fifth birthday in 2019. A series of photos from Christensen and his daughter’s visit were released, including one that shows Briar — photographed from behind — holding a purple lightsaber.
During a 2022 appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Christensen said that Briar helped him train before he portrayed Anakin again for Obi-Wan Kenobi.
“We have a couple lightsabers kicking around the house, and actually, she was my first lightsaber training partner when I came back to the Obi-Wan show,” Christensen shared.
She hasn’t seen The O.C. yet, either
While talking about her The O.C. rewatch podcast Welcome to the OC, Bitches! during her episode of Betches Moms, Bilson shared that she hopes it is a very long time before Briar watches the show — she wants her to be “at least 35.”
Still, she thinks that her character, Summer Roberts, becomes a good role model by the series finale and could possibly take on motherhood.
In the episode, Bilson was asked if she’d rather parent Summer or let Summer raise Briar, and she said, “I would rather have Summer parent my daughter … because by the end of the show, she did like a 180, and I feel like she was kind of a responsible person.”
She added, “It was, like, a full arc … She'll know how to hug a tree!”
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