It turns out they went to high school together, and according to “The O.C.” star, were good friends.
She said Malek has “always been super talented. A really amazing actor, even in high school.”
Thanks to roles in the show “Mr. Robot” and his Oscar-winning turn as Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody,” he’s now pretty famous. So, Bilson thought it would be cool to share on social media a throwback pic of the two of them on their senior trip to Broadway in New York City.
“We were super-nerdy, just the dorkiest picture of both of us,” she said. “But I throw it up because it’s funny, and I think it’s so important to be able to make fun of yourself. And he has like a gold chain, and I’m like, ‘Rami where’d you get the gold chain?'”
Bilson said she hardly ever checks her direct messages on Instagram, but a week later she happened to notice one from Malek.
“It wasn’t like ‘Hey, how are you blah blah blah,'” Bilson said. “It was straight to ‘I would really appreciate if you would take that down, I’m a really private person.”
Bilson was a bit taken aback, it was right around awards season and she said “The O.C.” creator, Josh Schwartz, told her “You did him dirty! He’s about to be nominated (for an Oscar)” by posting a photo that Malek clearly didn’t find flattering.
She said she took the photo down and sent her former high school bud a note wishing him well at the Oscars.
“But 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.”
CNN has reached out to Malek for comment.