Love can be messy, but luckily for the cast of You, their offscreen relationships aren’t as rocky as those of their characters.
The drama premiered on Lifetime in September 2018, starring Penn Badgley, Ambyr Childers, Elizabeth Lail and more. Based on Caroline Kepnes‘ novel of the same name, season 1 followed Joe Goldberg (Badgley) as he went to extreme lengths to pursue a relationship with aspiring writer Beck (Lail).
At first, the series didn’t take off, but it picked up a major following when it moved to Netflix. Season 2 dropped on the streaming platform in December 2019, and the following month, a third season was confirmed.
The Easy A actor thinks “there’s value” in Joe not being a traditional romantic lead, he told IndieWire in December 2019. “I mean … I think a lot of what we talk about, the way they talk about love, in pop culture and as long as it ever has been pop culture, is actually quite distorted and sometimes — if not most of the time — has nothing to do with true love. Because true love is something that can be expressed between many different kinds of people, not just people who are romantically interested.”
The MOTHXR musician continued, “I think a lot of times what we’re talking about when we say ‘love’ is actually lust. There’s nothing inherently wrong with lust, but I mean, it obviously doesn’t always compel us to do the best thing.”
You isn’t Badgley’s first experience starring in a wildly popular series. He portrayed outsider Dan Humphrey on Gossip Girl from 2007 to 2012 and had plenty of fans swooning with his brooding performance. He even sparked a romance with costar Blake Lively, who played his onscreen love interest Serena van der Woodsen.
“I remember there was one point where we were just afraid of how our personal lives overlapping our work life could be perceived by our bosses,” Lively told Vanity Fair in 2017. “[But then] we were like, ‘Oh no, that’s exactly what they want.’ They wanted us all to date. … They wanted that, because then it fed their whole narrative. People could buy into this world.”
The duo ultimately went their separate ways in 2010, continuing to work together on the CW series. He went on to marry Domino Kirke in Brooklyn in 2017. After suffering multiple miscarriages, the couple welcomed their first child together in the summer of 2020.
Kirke is also the mother of son Cassius from a previous relationship, and the little one has a solid relationship with Badgley. “He doesn’t have to be ‘dad’ so he can have more fun with him,” she told Us Weekly exclusively in October 2019. “It’s really nice. The stepparent thing is definitely uncharted territory for me ’cause I didn’t grow up with one, but … he takes care of him really well.”
Production on season 3 of You was paused amid the coronavirus pandemic, but in February 2021, Badgley and his costars returned to set. Scroll down to see the cast’s dating histories through the years: