While Dan and Serena made it down the aisle on Gossip Girl, Penn Badgley and Blake Lively called it quits long before the 2012 series finale.
“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 Vanity Fair in August 2017 while celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the show’s debut. “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.”
Us Weekly confirmed in October 2010 that Badgley and Lively had split after three years together. “They’re professionals,” a source told Us at the time. “They’re still good friends and hang out on the set.”
One year after Gossip Girl wrapped, the You star recalled what it was like to continue making the teen drama after their split.
“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,” Badgley told Elle in 2013. “I mean, like anything valuable, it was good and it was bad and it was a learning experience.”
He added that things can get “warped” when you’re on a hit show and dating your costar.
“As an actor being in a relationship, you have this opportunity to have something really exceptional, because you don’t have a regimented schedule or lifestyle. But then it can also be very warped,” he continued. “You have on-camera romances, which ordinarily I don’t have a problem with. There are complications being an object of attention. I’ve found it’s a double-edged sword. But I’m happy to wield it.”
Despite the drama on-screen between all of the characters, Badgley has maintained that he and Lively didn’t have any issues behind the scenes.
“We were consummately professional,” he said on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen in 2015. “And I think we should both pat ourselves on the back for getting through it. … We handled it.”
Four years later, Chace Crawford echoed his former castmate’s remarks.
“Not at all. Not in the least,” the Boys actor responded when Andy Cohen asked if the real-life relationship caused drama on set. “Most mature people in the world.”
Both Badgley and Lively found love — and named kids James! — after their split. The A Simple Favor star married Ryan Reynolds in 2012 and welcomed four kids — daughters James, Inez and Betty — and a fourth child whose name they have yet to announce. The John Tucker Must Die alum wed Domino Kirke in 2017 and she gave birth to son James in 2020. (Badgley is also the stepfather of Cassius, Kirke’s son from her previous relationship with Morgan O’Kane.)
Scroll through for more from Lively and Badgley on their relationship: