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12 Little Known Facts About Blake Lively

It's easy to think we know everything about certain public figures, especially ones who aren't shy about putting their personal lives on display. One example of this is Blake Lively, who captivated the public eye even years before her meme-worthy marriage to Ryan Reynolds. Lively first joined the A-list when she was cast in The CW's "Gossip Girl," quickly becoming one of the most recognizable TV actresses of the late 2000s.

Shortly after "Gossip Girl" concluded its run in 2012, Lively made a name for herself not just in the film world, but as an iconic figure in fashion, business, and pop culture. There are many aspects of Lively as a person that most people could recount off the top of their heads even if they haven't obsessively watched "Gossip Girl," from her sarcastic roasts of her husband on social media to her high-profile celebrity friendships with fellow A-listers like Taylor Swift and Gigi Hadid.

However, even a celebrity as widely-known and beloved as Blake Lively can surprise people with facts about her life, career, and personality. From lesser-known work in the entertainment industry to the stories behind her biggest roles, these 12 facts may startle even Lively's most dedicated fans. 

Her entire family worked in entertainment

Often controversially referred to as "nepo babies," celebs like Lily-Rose Depp and Gwyneth Paltrow have been criticized for refusing to acknowledge the extreme privileges they've received from having family members who work in entertainment. Blake Lively is among the A-listers who benefited from this privilege, though she's avoided much scrutiny over it in the public eye.

In fact, there are many members of the Lively family who worked in the industry, including her father, Ernie, an actor and director. Lively's sibling Eric has also acted in "The L Word" and "American Pie," while her half-siblings have appeared throughout various film and TV projects. In an ironic twist of fate, Blake might be the only member of her family who was hesitant to pursue a career in entertainment. She made her acting debut at the age of 11 in her father's movie "Sandman," though she was more interested in completing her higher education.

It was Eric who really pushed Blake into an acting career at age 15, convincing his agents to start sending her to auditions. As Lively later told W magazine, "It was really hard to say no, because I didn't want to make my brother upset." Eric's insistence paid off, as it didn't take long for one of those auditions to land Blake her first major role.  

She landed her first role while she was still in high school

Within a few months of Blake Lively's first auditions, she landed a major role in the 2005 adaptation of "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants," She played Bridget, one of the four leads, alongside Amber Tamblyn, America Ferrera, and Alexis Bledel. The film centers on a quartet of high school friends spending their first summer apart, while sharing a magical pair of jeans. It's an iconic film of the mid-2000s, labeled "the quintessential chick-flick" by The Michigan Daily

Lively filmed the movie between her junior and senior year of high school, when she was only 17 years old. However, the experience was the push she needed to realize that her brother may have been right about Lively having a real future in acting. She began working non-stop after graduating from high school, telling W, "I've been learning as I'm going along ... It has been just the most amazing experience anybody could ever ask for."

Lively said she felt a little older and wiser by the time she reprised her role as Bridget in 2008's sequel, "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2," feeling like she could relate to the character even more than she did in the first movie. The year before that film premiered, however, Lively made her debut as the character that would forever change her career trajectory. 

Lively was surprisingly awkward as a teenager

For devotees of Blake Lively's iconic portrayal of Serena van der Woodsen on "Gossip Girl" — a fan-favorite role she later said she regretted taking — it can be difficult to imagine her as anything but the "it girl of Manhattan." Her stylish looks throughout the series and bad girl reputation certainly rubbed off on Lively's public persona, whether the actress likes it or not. However, it's far from the reality of how Lively actually spent her adolescence, having felt the negative side of teenage introversion. 

In an interview with Elle Australia (via Daily Mail), Lively shared how she struggled to adapt to social situations amongst her peers, saying, "I didn't fit in that well in high school because I was tall and shy and not very confident about myself." That only began to change when she was 16 and began taking acting classes and auditioning with the encouragement of her family, which she says helped her embrace being more extroverted in her personal life even before she had fully embraced acting. 

Nowadays, Lively oozes as much confidence as her "Gossip Girl" character, and has even been willing to share glimpses of her pre-celebrity self via social media. Even the most awkward teenage photos have been posted by Lively herself on sites like Instagram, with captions like, "Because we all need to smile right now. And sometimes embarrassing, pubescent photos are the only way."

She nearly turned down Gossip Girl

It's hard to imagine "Gossip Girl" moving forward without Blake Lively in its lead role, though it was certainly a possibility early in production. Lively was scouted for the role of Serena by creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, inspired by fan castings of the book series. Rather than auditioning, Lively was approached directly with an offer, which she initially turned down.

In a retrospective by Vanity Fair, Lively revealed that, prior to starring in "Gossip Girl," she felt disillusioned with the entertainment industry. When she told the creators she instead wanted to attend Columbia University, they counter-offered by promising she could go one day a week. It was only after Lively had taken the part that those plans fell through, with the actor recalling, "This is advice to anyone: when they say, 'We promise, but we can't put it in writing,' there's a reason they can't put it in writing."

As it turns out, starring in one of the most popular television shows of its time was too chaotic for Lively to find any time to pursue higher education. That wasn't even her only gripe about joining the show: she also predicted its meteoric rise would be overwhelming, saying, "I'm actually a very shy person and the idea of losing my anonymity was one that was scary to me ... You could tell it was a cultural phenomenon."

The Lonely Island recruited her for SNL cameos

It wasn't long into the first season of "Gossip Girl" that Blake Lively was granted new opportunities thanks to her new stardom. Among those was her first time hosting "Saturday Night Live," which Lively did in 2009 during its 35th season (coincidentally, her future husband Ryan Reynolds hosted six episodes prior, and future friend Taylor Swift three episodes prior). Her episode was a standout of the season, but surprisingly wasn't her "SNL" debut, nor was it her last appearance.

A season prior, Lively cameoed in an SNL Digital Short opposite James Franco, as a woman seduced by his admittedly small genitalia. More notably, Lively made a cameo a year after her hosting stint in The Lonely Island's viral music video "I Just Had Sex," in which she plays a woman dissatisfied with Andy Samberg's underwhelming bedroom performance. It's an underappreciated appearance from Lively in one of the comedy group's most famous sketches, though it wasn't exactly difficult to get her on board. 

Samberg told GQ he was especially impressed by their ability to rope Lively, as well as fellow A-lister Jessica Alba, into their absurdly stupid song about sex: "I can't believe they were in it," he said. "They're so awesome for doing that." 

Her romance with Ryan Reynolds happened fast

Not much good came from the 2011 "Green Lantern" film, aside from being the impetus for Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively's eventual marriage. While the two did not pursue a romance on set, they remained friends until a double date with different partners resulted in sparks flying between each other. On the SmartLess podcast, Reynolds revealed the romance moved quickly: "A week later, I was like, 'we should buy a house together,' and we did."

After they began dating in 2011, it was less than a year before the two got married, and by 2024 they've now had four children together. The duo are easily one of the most beloved celebrity couples in Hollywood, but aside from their online roasts of each other, there's a lot to admire about how they managed to build such a solid foundation so quickly. 

Lively attests that their relationship works thanks to a rule that was established early on, as she described to her "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" co-star Amber Tamblyn on her Substack show "Further Ado" (via ET Online). "When Ryan and I got together, we made a rule not to work at the same time," Lively explained, "so that we could always prioritize our personal life." As a result, the couple are rarely separated, going as far as to help each other in business ventures and acting roles from time to time. 

She freaked out while working with Harrison Ford

Blake Lively has had the honor of working with some truly great actors throughout her career, but perhaps none elicited more anxiety than Harrison Ford. The two worked together in 2015's "The Age of Adaline," in which Lively stars as a woman incapable of aging who falls for a modern-day philanthropist. Ford played the latter's father, who was a former lover of the titular character. While many actors would be rightfully intimidated meeting an icon like Ford, Lively was thankfully ignorant.

On The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Lively admitted that she had never seen any "Star Wars" or "Indiana Jones" movies prior to meeting Ford. However, Reynolds sat her down for a marathon of the "Indiana Jones" franchise the night before the first day of production, which ended up putting both Lively and Ford into an awkward situation. As she described, "I thought that he was just dying to talk to me about it for some reason ... and he just stared at me."

While it would be nice for the story to end with the two becoming friends, Lively also told Fallon that she may have permanently damaged the potential friendship: "He must just think I have some sort of major disorder ... I think he's avoiding me." However, Ford had many wonderful compliments for Lively as a scene partner, so he must not have taken it too personally. 

The Shallows tested Lively's endurance for stunts

One of Blake Lively's biggest theatrical successes was "The Shallows," a horror film which grossed nearly $120 million at the box office. The film features Lively as a stranded surfer at odds with a great white shark. Lively was singled out in a review for RogerEbert.com, which called the film "a one-woman show that puts Lively on a jagged rocky pedestal and worships her." It's a good thing the film accrued positive reviews, because it was quite the roller coaster for Lively to perform.

In preparation for the role, Lively spent time actually diving with great white sharks to observe them, which helped her overcome her fear of them. She also got in contact with Tom Hanks for advice, inspired by his work in "Cast Away." However, the production left quite a mark, as Lively admitted to News.com, "I cracked my nose on a buoy so the bloody nose that's in the movie is actually a real thing that happened to me." 

There were also many scenes in which Lively had to be held underwater for a long time, which certainly provided the actress with a taste of the danger her character is in throughout the film. While Lively did most of her own stunts and surfing, reshoots took place while she was pregnant with her second child, so a double filled in for the more difficult stunts. 

She broke a personal rule for All I See Is You

Blake Lively has done her fair share of risqué projects, from the saucy sex of "Gossip Girl" to films like "Savages" and "The Town," but she had a steadfast rule about doing nudity, telling Vanity Fair, "I always find nudity distracting." She's been vocal about how uncomfortable sex scenes made her feel in the past, due to the presence of crew members or the intense intimacy required of actors in even brief scenes.

However, Lively's rule was ultimately put to the test when she was approached for Marc Forster's 2016 drama "All I See Is You." In the film, Lively plays Gina, a blind woman who recovers her sight via surgery, to the detriment of her relationship with her husband, played by Jason Clarke. Due to the character's recovery of her vision, Gina rediscovering her sexuality was an important part of the story, and Forster allegedly did not want to shoot the film without the script's nude scenes. 

While Lively initially read the script to see if she'd be interested enough to try convincing the director to take out the nudity, she ended up loving it and agreed to be a part of the film as Forster envisioned it. Thankfully, Lively's husband is also an actor, so he understood the awkwardness that comes from having to perform intimate scenes with other actors. 

She has never worked with a stylist

Films like 2018's "A Simple Favor" showcase one of Blake Lively's biggest qualities both on and off-screen: her sense of style. Whether it's on the red carpet of a charity event or on the sets of her most recognized movies, Lively rarely doesn't have the fashion world in a vice grip with every choice of outfit. It may come as a shock to casual fans of the actress that she has never employed a stylist, and that her most iconic looks are her own choices.

In a breakdown of her looks for Vogue, Lively attributed her love of fashion to an early lesson in filmmaking: "To really see how much fashion could define a character, differentiate a character, it really, I think, imprinted on me young." Aside from "control issues and a big ego," her lack of a stylist comes down to her pursuit of ways to be creative, telling WWD, "In my job I get to be creative, but it's over a period of time and so many other people are involved, whereas this is a beginning, middle and end, and I get to be creative and there's an end date in the near future."

In films like "The Age of Adaline," Lively even pilfered her own closet for the characters' outfits. However, Lively's appearances at the Met Gala have garnered her the most style praise, particularly her dress from 2022, which intentionally transformed while walking down the event's carpet.

A music video isn't Lively's only collaboration with Taylor Swift

It's well-known at this point that among Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds's more public celebrity pals is Taylor Swift, stemming from a serendipitous trip to Australia in 2015. Since then, the duo are frequently spotted attending each other's public events, from stadium concerts to movie premieres, but Lively and her family have seeped into the Taylor Swift cinematic universe in ways even hardcore Swifties may not know. 

Most notably, Blake Lively made her directorial debut with a music video for "I Bet You Think About Me," a vault track from Swift's re-recording of her 2012 album "Red." The duo collaborated on the music video's script and employed Miles Teller to play the part of Swift's ex, whose wedding to real-life wife Keleigh is haunted by the appearance of the singer causing chaos. The project seems to have opened up doors for Lively, who is set to make her feature-length directorial debut with the graphic novel adaptation "Seconds."

The music video is far from the only time Lively has been a part of Swift's world. Her daughter James' voice appears at the beginning of the song "Gorgeous," and their first three children inspired the names of characters on Swift's 2020 album "folklore." If that wasn't enough, Lively and Reynolds also donated their home to be used for the filming of Swift's own "All Too Well: The Short Film."

Despite never drinking, she started an alcoholic mixer company

Aside from their excursions in film and television, Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds have made bold strides in the world of business. While Reynolds has acquired ownership stakes in brands like Aviation Gin and Mint Mobile, Lively took an even bigger swing in 2021 by launching Betty Buzz, her own line of non-alcoholic drink mixers. Interestingly enough, Lively doesn't drink. 

Despite her aversion to drinking, she told Forbes, "The idea of Betty Buzz came out of a partnership in the first place. My husband has a gin company. I was the at-home mixologist." Rather than attach her name or likeness to an existing brand of mixers, Lively wanted to build something from the ground up and ensure it was the best product it could be.

Her work with Betty Buzz, which is named after her daughter, has continued between Lively's busy schedule with projects like "It Ends With Us" and a sequel to "A Simple Favor." In 2023, the company launched a line of canned cocktails, and in 2024 Betty Buzz products were made available in Canada as well as the U.S. and U.K. The brand even advertised a selection of Taylor Swift-inspired cocktails ahead of the 2024 Super Bowl, which Swift and Lively both attended.