Rachel Bilson
Credit: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Christian Siriano

There are few things more anxiety-inducing than thinking you may have accidentally exposed a friend with what you thought was an innocent post on social media. Rachel Bilson has opened up about the throwback photo of her as a teenager and then-classmate Rami Malek that was deleted from her Instagram shortly after being posted in 2019.

During an appearance on Dax Shepard and Monica Padma’s Armchair Expert podcast she explained, “I had posted a throwback of us from our senior trip to New York, Broadway. We’re super nerdy and it was the dorkiest picture of both of us. But I throw it up because I think it’s funny and important to be able to make fun of yourself.”

The OC actress noticed a direct message from Malek in her inbox about a week later, asking her to delete the picture. “It was straight into, ‘I would really appreciate it if you take that down. I’m a really private person.'”

Rami Malek
Rami Malek from “Bohemian Rhapsody” accepts the Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama award onstage during the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 06, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. Credit: Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal via Getty Images.

At the time, Malek was gearing up for awards season after the release of Bohemian Rhapsody, for which he won Best Actor in a Leading Role for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury. Bilson was quick to describe just how worried she was about potentially having crossed a line with her old friend.

“I was like, ‘Oh s**t, okay’. I got really hot and I start sweating. I get really nervous like, ‘Oh my god what did I do?'”, she says in the podcast episode. “He was a good friend of mine and it’s a funny picture and I don’t take myself that seriously. 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 acknowledged she could have done things differently but remains supportive of her high school friend. “I guess I should have found something more flattering, I don’t know. But I removed it and wrote him a really nice message saying, ‘I’m so sorry, go get the Oscar, you’re doing amazing’ and I never heard anything back… which is fine. But, look, he wants to be super respected. It’s his thing, so I respected it.”

Bilson and Malek attended Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California together. The photograph in question showed them both as bright-eyed teenagers on a trip to New York. The pair starred as the two leads in a high school play of The Crucible.