Even though Gossip Girl has been off the air since 2012 (yes, it’s been that long), fans’ hearts will forever remember the relationship between Serena van der Woodsen and Dan Humphrey, played by Blake Lively and Penn Badgley, respectively. Of course, the main reason the relationship was so memorable onscreen was that Lively and Badgley’s chemistry was undeniable. They even started dating IRL in 2007 and stayed together for about three years. But are Blake Lively and Penn Badgley friends now, or did they simply let their relationship run its course years ago? Here’s what to know about where they stand.
After meeting on the set of Gossip Girl in 2007, Lively and Badgley tried to keep their relationship out of the public eye — so much so that when the two called it quits in 2010, they didn't even tell the cast and crew of the show. In a Gossip Girl 10-year anniversary interview with Vanity Fair in 2017, the cast recounted just how private the couple was.
"The shocking thing was, I found out on the set of the Season 2 finale that Blake and Penn had broken up months before," executive producer Joshua Safran told the magazine. "They kept the breakup hidden from the crew, which you could never do now. I don’t even know how they did it. They kept it from everybody, which is a testament to how good they are as actors. Because they did not want their personal drama to relate to the show."
Lively chimed in, adding that it seemed as though the relationship onscreen was "overlapping" with their own private lives. "I remember there was one point where we were just afraid of how our personal lives overlapping our work life could be perceived by our bosses. [But then] we were like, ‘Oh no, that’s exactly what they want.’ They wanted us all to date," Lively revealed. "They wanted us all to wear the same clothes that we’re wearing on the show. They wanted that, because then it fed their whole narrative. People could buy into this world."
The pair didn't last, but that didn't mean they still didn't have to work together — and get romantic — on the set of Gossip Girl. While appearing on Watch What Happens Live back in 2015, when a caller asked him who he enjoyed kissing the most on screen and who he enjoyed kissing the least, he revealed the answer to both questions was Lively.
"I’d say best… I’ll say it was Blake, because we actually had a relationship at the time," Badgley said, then jokingly adding that the worst was "maybe Blake after we broke up." But Badgley noted the pair handled the situation professionally. “We should both pat ourselves on the back because anything is complicated in that way... and we handled it.”
It sounds like both Lively and Badgley figured out a way to navigate the awkwardness together, which suggests there was some camaraderie remaining between them even after their split.
In an interview with Elle back in 2013, when asked if it was difficult to work with Lively after she married Ryan Reynolds in 2012, Badgley said it wasn't, and they were "ultimately professional.” In fact, he had lovely things to say about what he learned from their relationship. “We were very much caught up in the show, which itself was a six-year endurance test. Our relationship was a part of that and helped us through it,” he said. “I mean, like anything valuable, it was good and it was bad and it was a learning experience.”
In March 2015, after Lively had just welcomed her first child with Reynolds, Badgley spoke with HuffPost Live and revealed he hadn't remained in contact with his ex. "We haven’t spoken in a while," he said, adding, "But, you know, there’s an amicable silence, if that makes any sense.”
Like Lively, Badgley moved on with someone new, having tied the knot with Domino Kirke in 2017. Kirke announced in a February 2020 Instagram they were expecting their first child together. They welcomed a baby boy named James in August of that year, and shared the exciting news to Instagram. However, Kirke’s Instagram page has since been deleted.
Lively and Badgley have kept to themselves since starting families, and don’t appear to be in close touch. But that doesn’t mean they can’t reminisce on their Gossip Girl days from time to time. Badgley made it clear they’re on good terms when he fondly reflected on their time filming together in a June 2020 interview with Variety. For starters, he revealed it’s all thanks to Lively he made the jump to having an iPhone.
“I didn’t even want [the iPhone],” Badgley told the outlet. “Blake got me that. I literally was like, ’I don't want this thing. It’s so cumbersome and it has all these…apps? It has apps on it?’”
In addition to becoming a more tech-savvy man thanks to his ex, Badgley recalled one of his favorite on-set memories including Lively.
When Blake and I went [to the Palace] to eat, it was probably when we were shooting there. They had a grilled cheese sandwich there called the Gossip Girl Grilled Cheese Sandwich.” Badgley recalled. “And I was like, ‘You should just call it the Gossip Grill.’ And then he took the menu from me and went inside, changed the name right there.”
There ya have it: Badgley and Lively are very happy in their new lives, but acknowledge they had lots of happy memories together, as well. They might not be best friends, but they seem to have remained 100% cordial over the years.
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