Penn Badgley Said Blake Lively Saved Him in His Early Days of Fame

The two dated for three years while filming Gossip Girl .

Penn Badgley and Blake Lively Nina Ricci After Party For Met Ball 2008

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Penn Badgley is revisiting his early days of fame circa Gossip Girl — you know you love it — and his relationship with former co-star and ex-girlfriend Blake Lively. In a recent interview with Variety, Badgley credited Lively with keeping him on the straight and narrow at the height of the show's popularity.

“Beyond our relationship, I don’t think anybody was going to be interested in me publicly,” he said. “It was a little bit night and day. I think the date was Sept. 19, 2007.”

Lively and Badgley started dating IRL in 2007 amidst their characters Dan Humphrey and Serena van der Woodsen's on-screen romance. Badgley said the show's environment was "fun and fast-paced," but he experienced a “dark undercurrent that would bottom out in my later 20s." But Badgley didn't go down the road of substance use, partly thanks to Lively.

“To be honest, I never struggled with substance," he explained. "Blake didn’t drink, and I think our relationship in some ways saved me from forcing myself to go down that road.”

“I was never anything that I would define as suicidal at all, but I was certainly in a despair,” he added. “It had to do with ‘Do I matter? Do I matter? Does anything matter?’ These questions do inform how we feel."

The two dated for three years before splitting in 2010. Towards the end of the show's six seasons, Badgley said was ready to move on. "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, who currently stars in Netflix's You as Joe Goldberg, is married to Domino Kirke and has two sons, James and Cassius. Cassius is from Kirke's previous relationship with Morgan O'Kane.

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