Husband Of One Tree Hill Star Dies After Being Struck By Lightning

Bevin Prince CW red carpet
(Image credit: John Sciulli/WireImage)

In a shocking tragedy that occurred over the pre-Fourth of July weekend, the husband of One Tree Hill alum Bevin Prince, William Friend, died after being struck by lightning in the area near the couple’s home in Wilmington, North Carolina. Friend was 33 years old. 

On Sunday, July 3, William Friend was reportedly on a boat on the waters near Masonboro Island, when it’s stated that he was struck by lightning, according to WECT in Wilmington. Civilians apparently raised the attention of Wilmington PD’s Marine Unit, who responded to the accident along with the Marine Unit from the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office. The deputies on the scene performed CPR on Friend as he was being transported to the Bradley Creek Marina where EMTs were waiting. 

He was then taken to an ambulance, where medical professionals spent 20 minutes attempting to resuscitate William Friend, but were unsuccessful in their efforts. At this point, Friend was pronounced dead, and his body was transported to the hospital where family members were waiting. 

Following his death, a GoFundMe campaign was started up in William Friend’s memory, with a goal of raising $250,000 to support two different causes that he and Bevin Prince were involved with. The first is Recess, the cycling studio business that Friend and Prince opened in 2020, and had been building up ever since. The second is the Special Operators Transition Foundation, which was founded by former Navy SEAL Robert J. O’Neill in order to make returning to civilian life easier on Special Ops vets and their families. At this time, over $40,000 were raised in less than a day.

Bevin Prince, who starred on One Tree Hill as the same-named Bevin throughout its early years (before returning for the series finale), hasn’t yet shared any public responses to her husband’s death, though there have been quite a few on social media who are honoring William Friend’s memory. The former actress’ best friend Odette Annable, best known for her work on Supergirl and Walker, posted the following on Instagram:

Recess also shared a statement on Friend’s death on social media, saying:

We greatly appreciate the outpouring of love and support we’ve received from our Recess community. Will’s knowledge, guidance, and support is the foundation that Recess is built on.

William Friend was the CEO of the company Bisnow Media for the past seven years, and had helped to raise its public awareness and popularity over time. Bisnow’s COO and CFO Gregg Mayer had this to say in a statement:  

What made Will special was his innate ability to inspire and motivate people — to raise people higher than they thought possible. That is the culture he fostered at Bisnow and, ultimately, that will be his lasting legacy.

Bevin Prince and William Friend were wed in May 2016, and moved from New York City to Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina during the pandemic so that they could be around more family members. 

We at CinemaBlend send our thoughts and condolences with the family and friends of Bevin Prince and William Friend during this mournful time.  

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.