Penn Badgley Explains How Ex Blake Lively ‘Saved’ Him From Substance Abuse

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Penn Badgley is crediting his past relationship with Blake Lively for keeping him on a less self-destructive path.

The “You” star reflected on his mental state while shooting his popular teen drama “Gossip Girl” that ran from 2007 to 2012 in a profile published in Variety Wednesday.

Badgley admitted that he didn’t really want to be on TV at the time, and was “biding time” while portraying the show’s brooding Dan Humphrey — who Badgley said was a character he “was not invested” in. Yet he was also experiencing instant fame on a hit show and was in a highly publicized relationship with his co-star Lively from 2007 to 2010.

Badgley and Lively on location for “Gossip Girl” in 2007.

James Devaney via Getty Images

He described this era of his life to Variety as “fun and fast-paced” but with a “dark undercurrent that would bottom out in my later 20s.”

When Variety asked if this tinge of gloom was related to any kind of substance abuse — a prevalent narrative for many of his contemporaries at the time — Badgley dismissed the assumption. But he admitted his disinterest in substances was influenced by dating someone who wasn’t interested in it.

“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.”

Yet, it does seem that Badgley did go through somewhat of an existential crisis after “Gossip Girl” wrapped.

Domino Kirke and Penn Badgley in 2017.
Domino Kirke and Penn Badgley in 2017.

Sylvain Gaboury via Getty Images

Badgley’s wife, Domino Kirke, described her future husband as being “a little lost” and “between worlds” when they first met, on his podcast “Podcrushed” in October.

“Half my belongings were in a trash bag,” Badgley said during the same podcast episode, noting that he was also “couch surfing” at the time.

“I knew ‘Gossip Girl’ was this insane thing that happened to you,” Kirke continued, noting that the mutual friend that introduced them had told her that Badgley was traveling a lot at the time in an attempt to find himself. “I loved that he was seeking something in life bigger, higher than him,” Krike said.

She added that she was also attracted to his disinterest in drinking alcohol.

Badgley touched on this point of his life while talking to Variety.

“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 said.

To read how Badgley got himself out of this funk, head over to Variety.

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