Burton didn't cross paths with "The Walking Dead" star until they were set up on a blind date in 2009 by mutual pals and fellow actors Jensen Ackles and Danneel Harris, but they could have fallen for one another a few years earlier had Morgan been hired for the role of father figure Keith Scott, a part which eventually went to Craig Sheffer.
"When I met Jeff, he was like, 'Oh, I auditioned for that show.' I'm like, 'Wait, what?' " Burton recalled on her "Drama Queens" podcast, which she co-hosts with her friends and former "One Tree Hill" co-stars Sophia Bush and Bethany Joy Lenz (Bethany Joy Galeotti).
"My husband, Jeffrey, auditioned for Sheffer's part. He was like, 'Yeah, you know, I liked the whole gritty garage guy, that edgy thing.' "
Reflecting on the missed opportunity, the actress quipped, "Had Jeff shown up in those tight jeans that Sheff was wearing, I would have definitely had kids earlier!"
"One Tree Hill" originally ran from 2003 to 2012.
Burton, who turns 39 on Thursday, July 1, and Morgan, 55, went on to start a family in 2010 with the birth of son Gus, while their daughter George arrived in 2018. The couple wed in 2019.
When promoting her memoir "The Rural Dairies", Burton recalled her first impression of her now-husband. "When he came along, he was so sure of himself," she told PEOPLE. "I was not a girl anyone pursued. I've always been alpha. And Jeffrey was like, 'You're going to be my girlfriend.' "
"It was so nice to be pursued," the actress continued recalling. "He's a cute dude! And I liked that he knew exactly who he was. His confidence was intoxicating."