Penn Badgley believes Blake Lively “saved” him from self-destruction.
The 36-year-old actor starred alongside Blake in the TV drama ‘Gossip Girl’ between 2007 and 2012, and he admits that their relationship helped him to avoid a “dark undercurrent” that was developing in his life.
Penn – who dated Blake between 2007 and 2010 – explained: “To be honest, I never struggled with substance. Blake didn’t drink, and I think our relationship in some ways saved me from forcing myself to go down that road.”
Despite this, Penn admits to paying a heavy price for fame and success.
The actor recalled feeling “quite unhappy” during his 20s.
He told Variety magazine: “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.”
Penn can still vividly remember feeling isolated and having a lack of trust in other people.
The actor said: “I was never anything that I would define as suicidal at all, but I was certainly in a despair.
“It had to do with ‘Do I matter? Do I matter? Does anything matter?’ These questions do inform how we feel. The answer that I came upon was ‘Yes.’ I think we all have to come to that.
“I don’t know how you could come to ‘No’ and be happy, so we all have to come to that ‘Yes’ somehow. Probably repeatedly.”
Penn also lost his passion for TV acting during his time in ‘Gossip Girl’.
The actor – who played Dan Humphrey on the show – recalled: “I didn’t want to be in television. 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.”