Blake Lively is an actress notable for her role as Serena van der Woodsen on the CW network’s teen drama Gossip Girl.
Blake Lively was born in Los Angeles on August 25, 1987. Her father was an actor and director, and her mother was a talent scout. During her junior year of high school, Lively had an audition for and landed a major role in the 2005 blockbuster “chick flick” The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Two years later, Lively landed her most famous role to date on the CW’s hit teen drama Gossip Girl.
Actress Blake Lively was born on August 25, 1987, in Los Angeles, California, to a show business family. Her father, Ernie, was an actor and director, and her mother, Elaine, was a talent scout. Lively is the youngest of five children, and all four of her older siblings are also actors. Before moving to Los Angeles to pursue their show business careers, Lively’s parents lived in Georgia, and the household always maintained its Southern influences. “I have a tight-knit Southern family,” she says. “So whenever I tell people I’m from L.A., they say, ‘Yeah, but you don’t count,’ I guess because of the Southern values I was raised with, and the way I eat—the more sugary and cheesy and fried, the better.”
Lively began the first grade when she was only three years old. Her six-year-old brother was so nervous about beginning first grade alone that her mother told the school that Blake (who was extremely tall for her age) was also six years old so that she could accompany him. “After a few weeks,” Lively remembers, “they said they would have to put me in mentally disabled classes because I wasn’t up to pace with the rest of the kids. They thought that I was slow because all I wanted to do was sleep while the other kids were doing their projects.”
After getting that early, if perhaps ill-advised, jump on her primary education, Lively attended a staggering 13 different schools by the time she graduated from grade school. She finally settled at Burbank High School, where she stood out in both her academics and her extracurricular activities. Besides receiving stellar grades in her AP coursework, Lively was a cheerleader, class president and member of her school’s show choir.
Despite strong pressure from her older siblings to ditch school and embark on an acting career, Lively initially expressed no interest in acting. Instead, she had her own dreams of attending Stanford University. Nevertheless, sensing her star potential, her older brother Eric relentlessly pushed her to try auditioning. “He was trying to get me to make life decisions at 15!” she recalls. He then began contacting agents and telling them about his beautiful, talented younger sister. “I was really busy at school,” Lively remembers, “and I would have these agents calling and saying, ‘We have an appointment for you.’ It was really hard to say no, because I didn’t want to make my brother upset.”
During her junior year of high school, at the age of 17, Lively finally consented to attend a few auditions. She found nearly instant success. After only a few months of auditioning, she landed a major role in the 2005 blockbuster “chick flick” The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, which filmed during the summer between her junior and senior years at Burbank High. Her performance earned her a Teen Choice Award nomination for Breakout Movie Star.
‘Gossip Girl’ Fame
After filming Traveling Pants, Lively returned to Burbank for her senior year and graduated in 2005. After finishing her diploma, she immediately returned to acting, starring opposite Justin Long and Jonah Hill in the 2006 comedy Accepted. A year later, in 2007, Lively landed her most famous role to date on the CW’s hit teen drama Gossip Girl. The show follows a cohort of privileged teenagers on New York’s Upper East Side, with Lively playing the lead role of Serena van der Woodsen, a stylish blonde and (somewhat) reformed party girl.
Bolstered by intense media coverage, including a provocative and controversial photo shoot in Rolling Stone magazine, Gossip Girl quickly developed a cult-like fan base. Its young and beautiful cast became nearly ubiquitous on celebrity magazine covers and websites. The fashion-forward show, and Lively’s character in particular, also had enormous influence over style trends. In a case of onscreen romance breeding real-life love, in 2007 Blake Lively began dating Gossip Girl co-star Penn Badgley, who plays Dan Humphrey on the show. Their Gossip Girl characters also date throughout season one. Both the real-life actors and their characters they played on screen later split up.
Lively won the 2008 Teen Choice Award for TV Actress and TV Breakout Star for her performance. Gossip Girl aired its final episode in December 2012.
With her dazzling good looks, natural acting talent, and devoted backing from devoted Gossip Girl fans, Lively seemed to be on the verge of breaking out as a top-flight movie star. In a January 2010 profile, Esquire called Lively “the most promising and interesting and talented young actress of the year.” She displayed a grittier side in her role as a young mother in Ben Affleck’s crime thriller The Town that same year. Both the film and Lively’s performance drew widespread critical acclaim.
The following year, Lively co-starred with Ryan Reynolds in the film Green Lantern, a big screen take on the classic comic book series. While the movie proved to be a critical and commercial disappointment, the on-screen pairing of Lively and Reynolds translated into a real-life romance.
A self-admitted foodie and lifestyle enthusiast, Lively launched Preserve in 2014, an e-commerce site that sold unique items that were handpicked by the actress. Lively closed the site in the fall of 2015, stating that the launch was premature and that she would bring the site back at a later date.
In 2015, Lively starred in the romantic fantasy, The Age of Adaline, in which she plays a woman, who as a result of a freak accident, hasn’t aged beyond 29 years. In 2016 she played the lead role in the horror shark film The Shallows.
Lively and Reynolds quickly became inseparable. They bought a home together in upstate New York, in April 2012. Managing to keep their plans hidden from the media, the pair married in a special ceremony on September 9, 2012, near Charleston, South Carolina. About 70 guests attended the couple’s nuptials held at Boone Hall Plantation. Lively’s friend, singer Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine, performed at the reception. This is Lively’s first marriage. Before dating and marrying Reynolds, she had been previously linked to actor Leonardo DiCaprio. In December 2014, Reynolds and Lively welcomed their first child, a daughter they named James. In September 2016 the couple celebrated the birth of their second daughter, Ines.