She may have been turning heads since she was a teenager, but Blake Lively became a truly international star after the wildly popular Gossip Girl premiered in 2007. Amassing a huge fan following because of her acting, show-stopping good looks, and on-point fashion choices, Lively is also often in the news because of her fun relationship with her husband, Ryan Reynolds. But there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to Blake Lively.
Blake Lively Facts
1. It Was A Family Affair
Blake Lively was born in August 1987, to parents Elaine, a talent scout, and Ernie, an actor. Named Blake Ellander Brown at birth, she was the youngest of her siblings. Considering the whole family was already a part of showbiz, it feels like a no-brainer that Lively would want to follow the same path, but did she?
2. She Wanted a Different Path
Fate may have had its own plans, but as a young girl, Blake Lively was never interested in becoming an actor herself. What was her dream, you ask? Studying at Stanford.
3. She Started Early
Lively’s desire to get in a top school might have been born at the tender age of three. You see, three-year-old Lively accompanied her six-year-old brother, Eric, to first grade because he was scared to go alone. Their mom convinced the school that Lively was six because she was tall enough to pass off as a first grader.
4. She Got Sent Home
The school became concerned when Lively showed more interest in napping rather than doing schoolwork, and suggested putting her in a special needs classroom as she was clearly unable to keep up with the other kids. That was the end of that experiment and Lively was homeschooled until she was old enough to start high school.
5. They Met Very Young
There was an unexpected figure who ended up being part of Lively’s homeschooling journey: Penn Badgley. The two got to know each other at age 11, when he moved to L.A. to pursue acting. You may know him as the lead in You and as Lonely Boy, Lively’s on-again, off-again boyfriend in Gossip Girl. The couple was a fan-favorite, and their onscreen chemistry may have been so steamy for a very good reason.
6. They Were Together On and Off
Smoldering onscreen chemistry might have roots in real-life romance sometimes—at least it did for Lively and Badgley! They kept mum about their relationship though, first because they felt their bosses wouldn’t like it, and later because they preferred keeping it private. Their quest for not mixing the personal with the professional couldn’t last forever, though….
7. They Had a Break Up—Sans Shake-Up
There was one remarkable thing about Lively and Badgley’s on-set romance. No one ever knew they dated! The cast and the crew only found out about the relationship a few months after the split. Fellow actor Chace Crawford said that the two were so mature and professional that there was no awkwardness at all. On their end, the ex-couple didn’t want any drama…though they did make some interesting observations post-split.
8. She Grew From It
Not one for tears and drama, Lively’s coping mechanism post-breakup was to “learn and grow” from the experience, which was pretty much Badgley’s takeaway as well. He went further to declare that his best and worst on-screen kiss had been with Lively, the former when they had been dating and the latter after they’d split up.
9. She Says It Was Awkward
Lively has always found filming intimate scenes very awkward. She was especially very uncomfortable doing them in her Gossip Girl days. “There’s a room full of 40 people watching you…it’s completely silent. It’s awful!”
10. It Paid Off
Flashback: How did Blake Lively get the role of Serena in the first place? It all started when she auditioned for The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. A coming of age story about four friends, Lively landed the role of Bridget for the movie when she went in to the audition and handed over her photograph. The casting team thought it was a joke until she left the room; then they realized they’d found their Bridget.
11. There Was No Looking Back
Bridget not only earned Lively her first award, Teen Choice for “Choice Movie Breakout—Female,” she also helped her land her best-known role of Serena Van Der Woodson. Gossip Girl’s casting director was swayed by the overwhelming response of the Sisterhood fans, who posted on online message boards, campaigning for Lively as Serena.
12. She Didn’t Look the Part
Just because fans wanted it, didn’t mean that Lively had it easy. The Gossip Girl powers that be weren’t sure Lively would make a convincing Upper East Sider because she looked “too sunny California.” Blake rose to the challenge and straightened her hair for the second audition, which magically changed the producers’ minds. She got the part…only to almost turn it down.
13. She Was Lured Away
Lively was going to refuse Gossip Girl because of her Stanford dream, but the directors made her an offer she couldn’t refuse. They told her about the wonderful clothes Serena would get to wear, some of which she could even keep. Executive producer, Josh Schwartz felt that was what sealed the deal for Lively, but there was another, non-material, reason too.
14. She Wanted to Keep Her Dream Alive
The lure of clothes by itself may not have convinced Lively to give up her college dream, so she was delighted when the producers told her she could attend Columbia one day a week for the first season and have a more normal student life when things quieted down in the next one…well, there was a twist.
15. They Betrayed Her
Lively learned a life lesson the hard way: If a promise is to be honored, it must be put down in writing. The producers’ claim that she could be a part-time student was an empty one. “When they say ‘we promise, but we can’t put it in writing,’ there’s a reason they can’t put it in writing.”
16. There Weren’t Real BFFs
They may have been besties with a relationship that blew hot and cold onscreen, but Meester and Lively did not share the same kind of closeness off-screen. They were just too different to be friends. However, contrary to what some tabloids would have their viewers believe, there was no animosity between them either. They were “friendly,” but never friends.
17. She Has Two Left Feet
Lively was roasted by the cast and crew of Sisterhood very often because of how accident-prone she was. She crashed a moped on the first day of shooting and stepped on a sea urchin and ended up with “42 needles” in her foot! The doctors had to pick those out one by one, as there was no pain medication available. Ouch!
18. She Grammed Before the Gram
Lively is active on social media nowadays, but she was “Instagramming” way before Instagram was even a thing. In fact, one of the Gossip Girl producers called her “way ahead of the curve” because she was taking pictures to document her life long before the platform became so popular. And yes, she was sharing the pictures as well—but in a bizarre way.
19. She Had an Avatar
What was strange about the photos Lively was sharing with her boyfriend at the time? Just the fact that she had a doll in most of them. Yes, you read that right. Lively would use a doll as a prop in the pictures, or a means of expressing her feelings. Sounds a bit Chucky-esque to me. What’s even more surprising is just who she was sending them to—none other than Leonardo DiCaprio.
20. It Was Short & Sweet
DiCaprio and Lively were together for a grand total of, drumroll please, five months! The couple met when Lively went to audition for the role of Daisy in The Great Gatsby. She didn’t get the part, but she clearly made quite an impression on Gatsby himself. Well, at least for a while.
21. They Had Worldwide Romance
Although their relationship didn’t last for too long, DiCaprio and Lively sure had a happening time together. From partying on Steven Spielberg’s yacht, to going to see koalas in Australia, dating in Disneyland, and visiting Venice, this was one globe-trotting couple. Some may have thought this meant the relationship was going somewhere, but sadly it wasn’t meant to be…and the reason behind it could’ve been related to a certain Marvel superhero.
22. She Went From One to the Other
Neither Lively nor DiCaprio have talked about their brief affair, but the rumor is that it was he who ended it. And although there is no reason to believe that Ryan Reynolds had anything to do with their breakup, it is interesting to note that he and Lively ended up together not long after DiCaprio was out of the picture.
23. She’s Pretty Serious
Lively doesn’t seem to have believed in casual dating. Evidence: She was seriously involved with the four men who came in her life, the last of whom is her husband. Her first and least famous boyfriend was Kelly Blatz, who went to the same high school as her. The two worked together in Simon Says and dated for three years before Lively moved to New York for Gossip Girl and started dating Lonely Boy, AKA Penn Badgley.
24. They Had Bad Timing
One imagines that when Lively first met Mr. Right, there were huge sparks, right? Not so. At the time, he was married to actress Scarlett Johansson, and it was way back she was dating Penn Badgley. Later, she and Reynolds became good friends while shooting Green Lantern together, and pictures from the time they spent together promoting the film prove that the two got along really well.
However, anything beyond friendship wasn’t meant to be…at least, it wasn’t back then.
25. It Was A Date with a Twist
Interestingly, Reynolds’ marriage ended a year after Green Lantern, and coincidentally Lively was newly single too at the time. The two reconnected as friends and decided to go on a double date together. The funny part? They weren’t each other’s date on that double date.
26. There Were Fireworks
Kinda makes you sorry for whoever they brought along that day. Reynolds remembers the situation as awkward because while sparks were flying between these two, their respective dates couldn’t do more than just watch. Wouldn’t it be cool if those two bonded over the experience and also ended up together!
27. They Had a Whirlwind Romance
When you know, you know. Case in point: Reynolds and Lively decided to tie the knot just a year after dating each other. In keeping with their desire to keep things private, their wedding was a small, personal affair…which almost wouldn’t have gone as planned if it wasn’t for one “fairy godmother.”
28. She Brought in the Big Guns
Just before Blake Lively’s wedding to Ryan Reynolds, she began to panic. Things were shaping up to be a disaster. But she came up with a plan. Lively sent out a cry for help to her “idol,” Martha Stewart. The homemaking expert told Lively to relax and sent her team to the Charleston plantation venue to manage the situation.
Lively got the wedding of her dreams with plenty of desserts, beautiful decorations, and the couple’s closest friends and family. However, not everyone was wowed by the wedding and many were upset because it had a dark side to it.
29. She Courted Controversy
Lively and Reynolds may have chosen their wedding venue because of its natural beauty, and romantic history. After all, it was where The Notebook was shot. But when photos came out, people were shocked. Many believed it was insensitive of the couple to choose to get married at a plantation which was a reminder of one of the darkest, most inhumane eras in history. It reportedly still has eight original slave cabins!
Websites like Pinterest and The Knot refused to put up pictures of the wedding because of the venue, and because they do not wish to glorify slavery in any way.
30. She Has a Signature Style
Lively has a huge fan following because of her signature red carpet looks and overall sense of style, which is all her own doing. She claims she does not like other people styling her because she has “control issues and a big ego!”
31. Designing a Home
Blake Lively enjoys interior decorating so much that she does it for her friends for free! Her own home is also a reflection of her elegant taste, and she borrows “inspiration” from various places, including her daughters’ clothes, loose tiles in her bathroom, stencils at an art shop, and so on.
32. She’s a Foodie For Life
She may have been in some steady relationships, but Lively’s first love has always been the same: Food. And she isn’t just fond of eating, she loves cooking it too! So much so, that she takes cooking classes whenever she travels to “immerse herself in the local culture.” The high point in her life was a cooking workshop at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, and one of her biggest desires is to go there again!
33. Cupcake Queen
Lively is also a cupcake designer! Her S’mores cupcake creation was sold at a Sprinkles Bakery in Georgetown. That’s all very sweet (pun intended), but there’s a darker side to Lively’s love for food.
34. She’s a Smuggler
Her face may not let you believe it, but Lively’s broken the law a few times. The reason: Smuggling spices from other countries by hiding them in teddy bears. Yep, teddy bears. In fact, she once asked a restaurant in New Orleans if they could send a spice she wanted, which wasn’t FDA approved, by hiding it inside the stuffed toy and mailing that. She said, “They’re like, ‘No, we are not a cartel; we’re not sending you your sweet potato sauce in a teddy bear.’”
35. They Love to Roast Each other
Stays together? One of the hallmarks of the Reynolds-Lively relationship is their social media interaction with each other, and by that, we mean their roasting of each other. While you may find other couples posting lovey-dovey messages for each other, this couple keeps it fresh by teasing each other on Instagram and Twitter. Their fans approve, and the two are quite hilarious.
36. They Have a Big Family
Always family-oriented, Lively and Reynolds have three kids together, all girls! Their third daughter is just a few months old, and Lively joked that having three kids was like going from two to 3,000 because the adults were outnumbered and the situation got a bit crazy!
37. They’re Very Private
Both Lively and Reynolds are very protective of their kids’ privacy. They want to give their kids as normal a childhood as possible, which is one reason why they chose to live in a New York suburb instead of in L.A. The parents also ask the paparazzi to avoid taking and posting pictures of their girls.
38. She’s a Working Mom
Blake Lively hasn’t been making a lot of movies recently, and for good reason. Her family and home are her priority and she feels it must be a really strong role that would motivate her to cut into their time and go to work. She is still ambitious about the films she does though, and stays relevant by showing her acting prowess every now and then.
39. The Tabloids Won’t Leave Them Alone
Every now and then the tabloids make us believe trouble is brewing in the Lively-Reynolds paradise. So far, the rumors remain unfounded, with Reynolds often shutting them down with his trademark wit and humor. Case in point: A picture with Lively, Reynolds, and his mom noting they appeared together after shutting down rumors of a split. The response? “We’re never splitting. She’ll always be my mom.” Nice.
40. She Made Life and Art Collide
Lively gave her fans plenty to talk about when she deleted all pictures from her Instagram account right before the release of her most recent film, A Simple Favor. She also replaced everyone on her following list by 28 accounts of women called “Emily Nelson” and cryptically asked, “Where’s Emily?” in her bio. Turned out, it was all to promote the film in which her own character, Emily, goes missing.
41. She’s a Teetotaller
While her character, Emily, in A Simple Favor, is an alcoholic, Lively does not drink alcohol at all because she “doesn’t like the taste.” Clearly, she finds it enough to be high on life.
42. She Had Website Woes
A woman who dons many hats, Lively also started her own website by the name of “Preserve,” hoping to curate and preserve simpler, finer, handmade, all-American things. The website aimed to be in part a digital magazine and in part an e-commerce site. Unfortunately, it did not do too well and Lively closed it after a year, saying that it had been launched prematurely, and she would relaunch it after some changes. That hasn’t happened yet, but never say never!
43. They’ve Kept It Secret
The couple doesn’t even share what they name their kids upfront. We still don’t know the name of their third child, and the first two names were revealed quite a while after the girls were born. Their second-born is called Inez. There is a heartwarming, but also sad, reason behind their oldest daughter’s name. They called her James, after Reynolds’ dad who passed on shortly before she was born due to Parkinson’s disease.
44. She Knew the Drills
How did Lively become a Hollywood star? In retrospect, she had a lot of training. It turns out that Lively was attending acting lessons all through her childhood without realizing it! Her parents took her along for all the classes they taught because they didn’t want to leave her with a babysitter. Guess those drills paid off later: When she landed her first big acting job.
45. She’s Thisclose to her Brother
How does a sophomore in high school learning world history become more cultured? By traveling to Europe, of course. Or at least that’s what her brother Eric decided she needed to do—so he took her on a European holiday for two months. It was during this vacation that he used a foolproof method to convince her to audition for films.
46. He Believed in Her
She may have just been 15, but Eric wanted his sister to consider what her options were for her future. Lively said that he sat down and charted out the possibilities and since nothing struck her fancy, she agreed to go on auditions to pacify him. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say Eric really knew what he was doing.
47. They’ve Kept It Secret
Lively and her husband are very private and don’t even share what they name their kids upfront. We still don’t know the name of their third child, and the first two names were revealed quite a while after the girls were born. Their second-born is called Inez. There is a heartwarming, but also sad, reason behind their oldest daughter’s name. They called her James, after Reynolds’ dad who passed on shortly before she was born due to Parkinson’s disease.
48. She Knows Preparation is Key
While working on Gossip Girl, Lively made sure to use her time on the hit show to make a name for herself. She pursued more dramatic roles and dark characters in other projects, even giving up food to play Annabelle, a bulimic girl, in the independent movie, Elvis and Annabelle. A few years later, when preparing for her role in The Town, Lively went around Charleston and talked to people so she could give a convincing performance. However, rumors swirled about her activities while on set.
49. She Made Headlines
Blake Lively turned in a surprisingly hardboiled performance that proved she wasn’t just a teen star but a serious actress. However, she made headlines for more reasons than the movie’s positive reviews. Though neither she nor Ben Affleck have ever spoken about it, many people wondered if they became romantically involved while making the movie. The proof? Strap in because it’s about to get spicy.
50. Intimate Pictures Caused A Stir
First, there were pictures of the two actors being friendly and chatting on set. Then Affleck gave an interview where he gushed over Lively in a way that seemed a little excessive. But the kicker came when intimate photos alleged to be of Lively leaked in 2011. Who might she have been sending said pictures to? Well, the very next day, photographers took snaps of Ben Affleck on a walk with Jennifer Garner. He had a black eye, leading columnists to wonder if the couple had gotten into a fight over the pictures. Drama!