All that gossips is not gold. In a cover story for Variety, Penn Badgley revealed that toward the end of Gossip Girl, he “didn’t want to be in television” anymore, and “was not invested” in the series—or the character that launched his career.
Badgley starred as literary love interest Dan Humphrey on the popular CW series, staying with the show for its entire six-season run. Despite playing a key role on the show—which made overnight stars out of Badgley and castmates including Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, and Chace Crawford—Badgley told Variety that by the end, he grew weary of the gossip and the girls. “I didn’t want to be in television,” he said. “I was biding time a lot with Dan—I was not invested. And I’m not saying it’s a good thing! I’m saying it’s just what it was.”
Badgley went on to describe his Gossip Girl days as both “fun and fast-paced,” yet containing a “dark undercurrent that would bottom out in my later 20s.” He credited Lively, his costar and girlfriend at the time, for helping him make it through that intense period of his life unscathed. “To be honest, I never struggled with substance,” Badgley said. “Blake didn’t drink, and I think our relationship in some ways saved me from forcing myself to go down that road.”
Badgley has made a few headlines recently for revealing things that he is not a fan of. On his podcast Podcrushed, Badgley shared that he requested not to do any sex scenes on the latest season of Netflix’s You because of his commitment to his wife, Domino Kirke. “Fidelity, in every relationship, and especially my marriage, is important to me. And it just got to a point where I don’t want to do that,” he said on the podcast. You cocreator Sera Gamble “didn’t even bat an eye” at Badgley’s request; they ultimately found a compromise in which Badgley was able to perform less intimate scenes. “She was really glad that I was that honest. She had a really positive response,” Badgley said. “And they came back with a phenomenal reduction.”
In his interview with Variety, Badgley expanded on his discomfort with sex scenes, admitting that while he’s “done a fair amount of them” in his career, they have always unnerved him. “It’s not a place where I’ve blurred lines,” he said. “There’s almost nothing I could say with more consecration. That aspect of Hollywood has always been very disturbing to me—and that aspect of the job, that mercurial boundary—has always been something that I actually don’t want to play with at all.”
Badgley went on to reveal that he almost turned down the role of Joe Goldberg in You because of his issues with intimate scenes. “My fidelity in my relationship. It’s important to me,” he said. “And actually, it was one of the reasons that I initially wanted to turn the role down. I didn’t tell anybody that. But that is why.” Ultimately, though, his wife “encouraged” him to play Joe. “I wasn’t going to listen to anyone more than her.”
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