Penn Badgley’s Joe Goldberg has had his share of romantic obsessions, from Elizabeth Lail’s Guinevere to Victoria Pedretti’s Love Quinn. But when new episodes of You season 4 hit Netflix this week, his character—now going by the alias “Jonathan Moore”—will be getting less hot and heavy with the women in his web.
That’s at the request of Badgley himself, he recently revealed in a bonus episode of his podcast Podcrushed. “I asked Sera Gamble, the creator, ‘Can I just do no more intimacy scenes?’” the former Gossip Girl actor explained. “This is actually a decision I had made before I took the show [in 2018]. I don’t think I had ever mentioned it publicly, but one of the main things is like, do I want to put myself back in a career path where I’m just always a romantic lead?”
Another factor in Badgley’s decision was his five-year marriage to Domino Kirke, with whom he shares a son, James. “Fidelity, in every relationship, and especially my marriage, is important to me,” he continued. “And it just got to that point where I don’t want to do that.” Gamble “didn’t even bat an eye” at his request, Badgley said. “She was very glad that I was that honest. She had a really positive response. They came back with a phenomenal reduction.”
Badgley did, however, understand that to de-escalate Joe’s sexual appetite “from 100 to zero” would be disingenuous. In this season, the character flees his suburban life in California for a fresh start in London, where he’s working as a writing professor and getting cozy with a group of wealthy British socialites being terrorized by a mysterious killer. And—surprise, surprise—Joe’s lust eventually comes into play. “I signed this contract, I signed up for this show, I know what I did,” Badgley concluded. “You can’t take this aspect out of the DNA of the concept.”
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