Blake Christina Lively (born August 25, 1987) is an American actress and model who stars as Serena van der Woodsen in the television teen drama series, Gossip Girl. She has also starred in movies, including Accepted, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee and 2010's The Town.
Blake Lively was born in Tarzana, Los Angeles to actors Ernie and Elaine Lively. Blake Lively was raised as a Southern Baptist. The youngest of five siblings, Lively has a brother, Eric, two half-sisters, Lori and Robyn, and a half-brother, Jason. Both of her parents and all of her siblings are, or have been, in the entertainment industry. During Lively's childhood, her parents would take her with them to acting classes that they taught because they did not want to leave her with a babysitter. Lively said that watching her parents teach acting classes helped her learn the "drills" of acting and gain confidence as Blake Lively got older. Lively stated that as a child, her mother would bring her to Disneyland twice a week as an opportunity "to have some extra time to bond"; Lively has stated, due to all the time Blake Lively spent there, Blake Lively felt that she "grew up at Disneyland."
Blake Lively was not at all interested in acting, but during the summer between her junior and senior years, her brother, Eric, made his agent send her out on a few auditions over a period of a few months; of the few auditions, Blake Lively got the role of Bridget for The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Lively filmed her scenes in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants between her junior and senior years at Burbank High.
Blake Lively began her acting career at age 11, when Blake Lively appeared in the 1998 film Sandman, which was directed by Lively's father. Lively describes her role in the film as having been a "bit part". Lively appeared in the film adaptation of the novel of the same name, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants in 2005 playing Bridget, one of the four female leads. Lively's performance in the film earned her a nomination for a Teen Choice Award for "Choice Movie Breakout - Female."
In 2006, Blake Lively co-starred with Justin Long in Accepted, and Lively had minor roles in the horror film, Simon Says. While Accepted was not well received by critics, Lively's performance was, earning her an award from Hollywood Life, in the category of 'Breakthrough Award'. In 2007, Lively played one of the two title characters in Elvis and Anabelle as Anabelle, a bulimic girl who hoped to win a beauty pageant. Lively said of getting into character for the role that she had 'shed serious weight' for her height. Lively stated that that process was difficult for her because food is “the No. 1 love of my life.” praised her performance in the film and credited it as having been her "breakthrough role".
Blake Lively was cast in the CW's series Gossip Girl, which premiered in September 2007. Blake Lively plays Serena van der Woodsen in the teen drama. Her first magazine cover was the November 2007 issue of Cosmo Girl, where Blake Lively discussed her time in high school and her career prior to Gossip Girl.
In 2008, Lively reprised her roles in the 2008 sequel, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2. Similar to the first film, Lively was positively received by critics. As of November 2009, the film had earned over $44 million at the box office. In 2009, Lively appeared as Gabrielle DiMarco, a minor role in the romantic comedy, New York, I Love You, a sequel to the 2006 film Paris, je t'aime. Despite positive reception from critics, the film had a poor box office performance.
One of Lively's most acclaimed roles to date is her supporting role as playing the younger version of the title character in The Private Lives of Pippa Lee (2009). Paul Byrnes, of the Brisbane Times, described Lively's performance in the film as being "sensational". In October, 2009, Lively began filming her scenes for her role as Krista Coughlin, in the 2010 film The Town, based on Chuck Hogan's novel Prince of Thieves. In the film, Lively's role has been described as "the sister of Jem and Doug's ex-girlfriend who has a 19-month old daughter, Shyne." The film, which also stars Ben Affleck, was released in the United States on September 17, 2010 to critical acclaim. In an interview with Marie Claire, Lively stated that she wasn't relying on her career as an actress, having felt that having her own interior decorating firm would be a substitute as a back-up plan, having felt that because of her 'fascination' with "colors and textures and layering things." In January 2010, it was announced that Lively would be cast as Carol Ferris in the up-coming 2011 superhero film Green Lantern.
Lively appeared in the music video for The Lonely Island´s "I Just Had Sex" together with Jessica Alba in January 2011.
Lively dated actor Kelly Blatz from 2004 to 2007; the two had been friends since childhood. In late 2007, rumors circulated that Lively was dating her Gossip Girl co-star and former childhood classmate Penn Badgley. In May 2008, after People magazine published photos of the two kissing while on vacation in Mexico, the couple became more open about their relationship. Lively and Badgley ended their three-year relationship in mid-September 2010, according to a representative for the pair.
During the 2008 United States presidential election Lively expressed her support for Barack Obama over John McCain. Lively and Badgley appeared in a pro-Obama commercial, as part of MoveOn.org's Youth Vote program. The commercial, directed by Doug Liman, aired during Gossip Girl on CW, MTV and Comedy Central.
In 2011, she was featured in the annual TIME magazines 100 influential people.