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Blake Lively and Penn Badgley attend 2009 Angel Ball at Cipriani, Wall Street on October 20, 2009 in New York, NY© Getty

Blake Lively's ex Penn Badgley reveals shocking paternity prank she played on him: 'My world was rearranging'

The former Gossip Girl co-stars dated for three years while starring as Serena van der Woodsen and Dan Humphrey

Beatriz Colon
Beatriz Colon - New York
New York WriterNew York
May 30, 2024
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Penn Badgley may have been the on-screen gossip spreader when he starred as Dan Humphrey on Gossip Girl, but it was Blake Lively who was the prankster, it seems.

The You actor and the Serena van der Woodsen actress starred in the beloved CW series for six seasons from 2007 to 2012 as on-and-off love interests, and in real life, they dated from the start of the show for three years.

It was during that time that the Podcrushed host's former girlfriend played a prank on him of epic proportions, and left him thinking none other than rockstar Steven Tyler was his real father.

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Speaking on the latest episode of his podcast, Penn was asked what was the greatest prank he had been a victim of, and though he noted he doesn't really care for them, he admitted he does "really admire people who do." 

Penn went on to reveal: "Somebody who may or may not be known for this — Blake Lively is, as I recall, very serious about pranks. She pulled a remarkable prank on me. It is crazy."

He then recalled getting an email from his PR team, cautioning him: "There's this press item that we're trying to kill, but just so you know, somebody thinks or Steve Tyler thinks he's your dad." He added: "I don't remember the phrasing but I remember being like… Didn't even think about it for a moment because who in their right mind would think that that's true."

Blake Lively and Penn Badgley film on the set of "Gossip Girl" on April 30, 2008 in New York City© Getty
Blake and Penn filming in 2008

Though he didn't believe it at first, his team of representatives played the part, and insisted not only that the story wasn't "going away," but that the Aerosmith legend was insistent that he was in fact his long lost child.

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Penn continued: "At this point, of course I don't think it's true but it's like, 'How can Steven Tyler believe this? There's no way! You have to be kidding. Steven Tyler of Aerosmith thinks that I'm his illegitimate child?! What am I gonna do, talk to Steven Tyler? No, my publicist is gonna handle it because what else is gonna happen."

Leighton Meester, Penn Badgley, Blake Lively, Taylor Momsen, Chace Crawford and Ed Westwick ("Gossip Girl" Cast attend The CW Network premieres "GOSSIP GIRL" at Tenjune on September 18, 2007 in New York City.© Getty
The Gossip Girl cast at the 2007 series premiere

Ever the mastermind, Blake got not just her then-boyfriend's team in on it but his own mother as well. She suggested he call her to sort it out, and Penn further recounted: "My mom is so not an actress, so not a prankster either, and she's upset," adding: "I'm like, 'Mom why are you upset?!' And then she takes a pause, that is like, the pause that sold me, and she goes, 'Why do you think we moved out of Maryland?'"

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It was then that he started fully believing the conspiracy. "I was speechless and my world was rearranging," he said, and even admitted he began wondering whether he should then pursue a career in music, following in the footsteps of his supposed rockstar father. "I'd always wanted to play music," he noted, though he shared: "I didn't want to exploit the man, I definitely didn't want to do that."

Blake Lively and Penn Badgley filming on location for "Gossip Girl" on August 28, 2012 in New York City© Getty
Blake and Penn continued filming Gossip Girl for two more years after their 2010 split

Despite his brief musings, eventually he came to his senses, as he realized the whole ordeal was a perfect lead up to April Fool's Day, when the call with his mother took place.

Penn also noted: "Anyone who's in my life and wants to pull a prank on me, go ahead and try, because I will never think about it. I guess I'm trusting, I guess it says something good about me, I just never think that somebody's trying to pull a prank. So [Blake] had that going for her."

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