Penn Badgley Said He Was in "Earth-Shattering Love" With Zoë Kravitz
Who: Gossip Girl and You actor Penn Badgley, 35, and actress, musician, and debut director Zoë Kravitz, 33.
How They Met: Badgley credited Gossip Girl for ultimately bringing him and Kravitz together — well, sort of …
In a 2013 interview with Movieline, the actor gave the CW hit its due, explaining, "Gossip Girl has given me everything that I have now." A diverse headband collection and a penchant for calling people by their first initials? Same. "It gave me the opportunity to live in New York and to be in a position to get this role," he went on. "It also put me in New York City so I could meet Zoe."
While we don't have the exact details surrounding Lonely Boy and Lolawolf's introduction, we do know that the couple emerged (hand-in-hand on the sidewalks of N.Y.C.) in 2011, less than a year after Badgley split from co-star Blake Lively. Kravitz had been linked to her X-Men: First Class co-star Michael Fassbender earlier that year.
Though Gossip Girl was foundational for their relationship (at least geographically), we got the feeling that Badgley and Kravitz didn't exactly stay up late speculating about the titular tattletale's identity (spoiler: it was Dan all along!). When Vulture asked Kravitz her plans for "Monday" (the date of the series' finale), she asked "for what?"
"That's so funny!" she answered once the reporter had filled her in. "We don't have any plans. I think we were celebrating when Penn was done working on the show, but I don't know about any plans to watch the finale."
Instead, Kravitz was eager for fans to catch Badgley in his first post-GG role.
"I'm just really excited for people to see what he can really do [in Greetings From Tim Buckley]," she said. "He's in Detroit right now, and he just told me he's coming home for the weekend to surprise me, so maybe? Maybe we can have a drink and let it all go?"
Why We Loved Them: Ah, the autumn of 2011 in N.Y.C. Can you picture it? To us, it's personified by a teen drama star wearing a deep V-neck tee layered beneath a flannel shirt and an awkwardly draped scarf, a newsboy cap atop his head and a MacBook under his arm, as though he's an aspiring writer with a trust fund (and not a CW actor whose character is famously bullied for living in Brooklyn). And this image wouldn't be complete without the woman by his side, cool girl royalty in the beanie-clad form of Lisa Bonet and Lenny Kravitz's 22-year-old daughter.
Speaking of the elder Kravitz, we're happy to report that Badgley and the rock legend were on good, concert-going terms. "We get along, we talk music," the actor told Elle of his relationship with his girlfriend's dad in 2013. "He took me to Harlem to see this little jazz show in the back of a church. It was just shitty fluorescent lights and a small stage piano, but this band tore it up."
When They Peaked: In 2013, Badgley described falling in love with Kravitz while filming Jeff Buckley biopic Greetings From Tim Buckley.
"At that time I was falling madly in love in a way that was changing me and opening me up," he told Movieline. "I was kind of going through what Jeff was going through emotionally in the movie in the sense that the worlds of music and love and women and art were opening up to me. Honestly I needed it. It was like this cosmic intervention where, if you're going to play somebody like Jeff you've got to at least be in love, you know?"
"And being in love, real, true, earth-shattering love – even though it sounds hyperbolic I really was going through it — helped me be as good as I could be," he added. Earth-shattering love … a Dan Humphrey novel?
The Breakup: In June 2013, about two years after they were first linked, Us Weekly reported that the couple had split, with a source noting, "it wasn't a sad breakup."
"It just wasn't working," the source added. "It really did end on good terms, though."
Another source blamed the actors' careers. "They are at two different stages in their careers," they said. "They just didn't have time for each other."
In an interview published just one month prior to the breakup news, Badgley opened up to Elle about how he and Kravitz handled time apart.
"There's definitely no secret," he said. "I'd say honesty is always the best policy. There are always a lot of arguments — but even if honesty starts some, it avoids bigger ones."
Meaning … ?
"It means being honest with yourself, about what you want and what you need, and then being honest about what those things are with the person you're with. As an actor, being in a relationship you have this opportunity to have something really exceptional, because you don't have a regimented schedule or lifestyle. But then it can also be very warped. You have on-camera romances, which ordinarily I don't have a problem with. There are complications being an object of attention. I've found it's a double-edged sword. But I'm happy to wield it."
Where They Are Now: Badgley wed musician and doula Domino Kirke in 2017. The couple welcomed their first child together, a son named James, in 2020.
The actor returned to TV in 2018 with Netflix hit series You, the third season of which premiered in October 2021.
Kravitz wed fellow actor Karl Glusman in 2019 — she filed for divorce 18 months later. The Big Little Lies star is currently dating Channing Tatum, who will appear in her directorial debut, Pussy Island.
While Pussy Island's release date is still TBD, Kravitz is already having a major year. She stars in Steven Soderbergh's Kimi, which is premiering Feb. 10 on HBO Max. Kravitz will also appear in the long-awaited film The Batman as Catwoman (Selina Kyle), in theaters March 4.
#TBT: Check in every Thursday as we throw it back to some of our favorite celebrity couples of all time.