Inside You star Penn Badgley's career from Gossip Girl outcast to Netflix serial killer

BEFORE Penn Badgley started stalking and murdering people on Netflix’s You, he was a bit less dangerous of an outcast on The CW’s Gossip Girl.

The 34-year-old actor starred on the hit teen show as Dan Humphrey, aka “Lonely Boy,” from 2007 to 2012, but his career has only continued to flourish throughout the years.


Penn played the sensitive writer and on-again, off-again boyfriend of Blake Lively’s character, Serena van der Woodsen, for the CW’s adaptation of Cecily von Ziegesar’s novel series of the same name.

It’s been almost a decade since Gossip Girl came to an end – long enough that an HBO Max reboot has already been made – and Penn has now been making a name for himself once again as an outsider.

Season 3 of You launched on Netflix on Friday, and the show’s already been renewed for a fourth season.

His character started off as a disturbed bookstore manager who fell for a beautiful writer who walked into his shop.

Now he’s become just a disturbed book lover making his way through new locations, and new victims, each season.

Throughout the show, viewers watch Penn's Joe Goldberg stalk, manipulate, and eventually kill different characters.

Though Dan on Gossip Girl had the first two attributes down, he never ventured into murderer territory.

Prior to the start of his CW show in 2007, Penn starred in the romantic comedy John Tucker Must Die (2006), alongside Brittany Snow and Jesse Metcalfe.

During his six-season run on the show, he often worked on projects during his off-time.

In 2009, he worked on the crime-thriller The Stepfather, which saw his character looking into his mom's suspicious new boyfriend.

Amber Heard also starred in the flick, which was nominated for Choice Movie: Horror/Thriller at the 2010 Teen Choice Awards.

Penn also won critical acclaim for his role in Margin Call (2011), earning himself an Independent Spirit Award.

The same year Gossip Girl ended, 2012, Penn had the release of one of his biggest rom-com releases, Easy A with Emma Stone, in which he played the eventual love interest Woodchuck Todd.

A year before You premiered on Lifetime, prior to it moving to Netflix for its future seasons, Penn married singer Domino Kirke in a New York courthouse In 2017.

Along with becoming a stepfather to Domino's son Cassius, he and his wife also welcomed a son together in August 2020.

The star's talents go beyond acting as he is also the lead singer of band MOTHXR, with the band having released its debut album in 2016.



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