At the end of her two-year contract with The Guiding Light she left her role as Michelle Bauer Santos and moved from New York City to Los Angeles.In Los Angeles, Lenz was directed by Garry Marshall playing Pinky Tuscadero in Happy Days: the Musical (musical directors Carole King and Paul Williams) and by Arthur Allan Seidleman in a staged reading of a musical version of The Outsiders.

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After eight seasons on air, One Tree Hill returned for thirteen episodes in its ninth and final season, with Bethany famously sashaying around in thigh high boots to save her husband.

On November 17, 2011, Lenz filmed her last scenes as the character Haley James Scott. In September 2012, it was confirmed that Lenz would be guest starring on an episode of Men at Work.

When she was twenty-two, Lenz was cast in the WB television series One Tree Hill.

She originally auditioned for the roles of Brooke Davis and Haley James.

Her stint earned her such favorable reviews from viewers, critics and Guiding Light executives alike that Lenz was eventually recast as Michelle Bauer Santos upon Rebecca Budig's exit – an unusual move that was "unheard of" in the industry according to CBS producer, Mickey Dwyer-Dobbin.

In 1999, while working on Guiding Light, she graduated from Eastern Christian High School in New Jersey and landed the role of Rose Cronin in Mary and Rhoda, a made-for-television movie that reunited Mary Tyler Moore and Valerie Harper as Mary Richards and Rhoda Morgenstern.Lenz appeared in an episode of Life Unexpected alongside Kate Voegele as part of a crossover-event between One Tree Hill and Life Unexpected.In the sixth season, Lenz made her directorial debut.In March 2013 it was confirmed that Lenz would have a recurring role on Dexter.Her character Cassie was described as "an attractive former finance executive looking for a quieter life".Production for Songbyrd began in late January 2014 in New York City, but the show was not picked up by E! In January 2015, Lenz and her friend Sid Mallya chose a movie to produce on the website Ink Tip.