Penn Badgley Says Past Blake Lively Relationship ‘Saved’ Him During ‘Gossip Girl’

Penn Badgley is reflecting on his relationship with Blake Lively.

The 36-year-old actor was this week’s Variety’s February cover star and when talking to the outlet, he looked back at his time on “Gossip Girl” and his relationship with his former co-star.

The “You” star said after the show premiered on the CW in 2007 his rise to fame was “a little bit night and day” but admitted he thinks people were mainly interested in his love life.

“Beyond our relationship I don’t think anybody was going to be interested in me publicly,” he told the outlet.

Blake and Penn met on the set of the hit teen drama and first sparked dating speculation in 2007 and broke up in 2010. They continued to play love interests on the show until it ended in 2012.

XOXO! Hot Shots From ‘Gossip Girl’

XOXO! Hot Shots From ‘Gossip Girl’

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When looking back at his life in the spotlight and the show’s six-season run, Penn said that time was “fun and fast-paced” but also admitted there was a “dark undercurrent that would bottom out in my later 20s.” When the outlet asked if that had anything to do with substances, he said no.

“Blake didn’t drink, and I think our relationship in some ways saved me from forcing myself to go down that road,” he said.

But Penn did admit that the darkness stemmed from “nothing short of a spiritual crisis.”

“Like anybody who experiences some degree of fame and wealth, I was presented with the universal truth that not only does it not make your life better or easier, it actually can greatly complicate things, and make you quite unhappy,” he told the outlet.

Penn Badgley: From ‘Gossip Guy’ To Big Screen Star

Penn Badgley: From ‘Gossip Guy’ To Big Screen Star

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“I was never anything that I would define as suicidal at all, but I was certainly in a despair,” he added. “It had to do with ‘Do I matter? Do I matter? Does anything matter?’ These questions do inform how we feel. The answer that I came upon was ‘Yes.’ I think we all have to come to that. I don’t know how you could come to ‘No’ and be happy, so we all have to come to that ‘Yes’ somehow. Probably repeatedly.”

Thankfully, Penn got out of that dark time and has found happiness with his wife, Domino Kirke, his 14-year-old stepson Cassius Riley and two-year-old son James Badgley.

-Emely Navarro

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