Gossip Girl was good at keeping secrets, but Penn Badgley, not so much! Since the Gossip Girl series finale, the actor has spilled some major tea about playing Lonely Boy Dan Humphrey for six seasons.

By now it’s no secret that during the final season, which aired in 2012, Penn’s character was revealed to be the all-knowing Gossip Girl who wreaked havoc on the lives of his classmates. But when chatting with former costar Chace Crawford for a reunion with Variety in June 2020, the duo explained that the Gossip Girl reveal didn’t really make sense.

“At the end of Gossip Girl the show, whatever your reaction is on whether it was smart to do that or not, that he’s Gossip Girl — it didn’t really line up with the character of Dan. Right?” Chase asked. Penn replied, “Yeah,” before they launched into a discussion about how the series “was edgy” during its time on the CW.

“And now, I mean, I haven’t seen it in so long. It would be very interesting to watch it now,” Penn shared. “I know that I watched with my wife, with Domino [Kirke], before we got married. It must’ve been six months after we met. She had never seen it, and that’s the last time I can remember seeing an episode. I remember even then, it has nothing to do with the show, but it was very hard to watch. These snapshots of yourself when you’re 20, 21, 22 years old. Who can enjoy that? Sometimes it’s just uncomfortable.”

The actor went on to explain how playing Dan, ultimately, helped him to go on and star in the Netflix series You as the terrifying Joe Goldberg.

“I’ve always tried to be both transparent and forthcoming and grateful of the way Gossip Girl positioned me to be in a role like this and for it to have the particular effect that it has,” the Netflix star explained. “Because it’s interesting that regardless of my performance, the fact that it’s simply me, just one of the main characters of the show called Gossip Girl, and I ended up being Gossip Girl — even though we can debate about whether or not that makes sense. And we can debate about whether or not Dan is even really a male lead in the show, because the heart of the show was somewhere else.”

Scroll through our gallery to read everything Penn has said about playing Dan Humphrey over the years. 

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