Gossip Girl was one of the most dramatic shows of the 21st century. It was full of heartbreak, young love, crazy twists, and it was pretty sexy as well. As it turns out, the same was largely true for the show's behind-the-scenes drama. There are plenty of juicy Gossip Girl behind-the-scenes secrets if you know where to look. Thankfully, we do.
Whether it's on-set heartbreak or accusations of criminality, Gossip Girl was often quite dramatic even when cameras weren't rolling. The show's young stars have all gone on to varying levels of success in the years since. Regardless of whether you loved the show or hated it, you'll find these behind-the-scenes nuggets compelling. After all, that's what made the show so watchable too. XOXO, Gossip Girl.
We all know that Chace Crawford was perfectly cast as pretty, preppy Nate Archibald, but that was also the role that Ed Westwick initially read for. Ed's audition for the role wasn't even a disaster. The show's creators liked him, but the studio thought he was a little too creepy to play Nate.
As a result, Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage encouraged him to audition for Chuck Bass instead, and the rest is history. Chuck went on to become one of the show's most iconic characters. In retrospect, Ed lucked out in getting to play the juicier of the two roles.
In its adaptation from the page to the screen, Gossip Girl made a number of changes. For the most part, Cecily von Ziegesar was pleased with the changes that the show had made, but there was one fairly large exception. "I think Vanessa is one character they ruined," she told MTV.com.
"In the book, she’s kick-ass and has a shaved head and wears lots of black. I think a lot of the readers who don’t usually read teen fiction identify with Vanessa... I just wish Vanessa was like she is in the books a bit more." Unfortunately, the showrunners didn't go that route.
In general, the idea that co-stars are constantly hooking up with one another on set isn't really true. On Gossip Girl, though, it was basically true. When a cast is this attractive, and they're all trapped on set for large parts of the year, it makes some degree of sense.
Still, the fact that only Chace Crawford and Taylor Momsen kept themselves from hooking up with any of their co-stars is a little insane. It's not as if there are that many people on the show. On-set romance is clearly a powerful bug since the members of the cast switched romantic partners almost as often as their characters did.
Blake Lively and Penn Badgley had one of the more serious relationships of the between members of the show's cast. Their characters were also among the more long-term relationships, but in real life, Blake and Penn dated for three years before breaking up.
Ever the professionals on set of the show, the two of them hid their breakup from the cast and crew for months. When everyone else found out they had broken up, they had been broken up for months. It showed admirable restraint on their part and probably helped keep everyone focused. They didn't want to become a distraction, and because they kept the secret, they weren't.
Blair Waldorf's life was never perfect, but that doesn't mean she wasn't hugely privileged. The same was not true for Leighton Meester, the actress playing her. Both of her parents were involved in a drug ring and arrested, and Leighton was actually born in a prison. She spent the first three months of her life in a halfway house.
This didn't ultimately get in the way of her rise to prominence, but her troubles with her family didn't end there. Eventually, Leighton had to take her mother to court for misusing money that Leighton was sending to help her sick younger brother.
The reasons that Ed Westwick and Jessica Szohr's relationship ended may never be entirely clear. What we do know is that from the time it started in 2008 to its eventual end two years later, the pairing was engulfed in tabloid controversy. There were rumors of affairs, as well as frequent breakups and makeups.
When the relationship officially ended in 2010, there were rumors that Jessica had had an affair with one of Ed's friends. Her rep denied those claims, but it's clear that the relationship was never meant to last. The two had too much drama between them for their own good.
The talents of the Gossip Girl cast are on full display in every episode, as we delight in watching their characters stab each other in the back. For Leighton Meester and Taylor Momsen, though, those talents extended past their acting abilities. Both actresses were working as singers while they starred on the show.
Leighton found some early success on Cobra Starship's "Good Girls Go Bad," while Taylor's band The Pretty Reckless failed to make much of a splash. As a result, the show used two songs featuring Leighton and none from Taylor. Apparently, the folks at the CW felt that Taylor's music wasn't ready yet.
Penn Badgley began acting professionally when he was only 11 years old, and eventually landed roles on shows like The Young and the Reckless and Will & Grace. After landing roles on two series that didn't make it past their first seasons, though, the struggles of being an actor began to leave a mark.
Apparently, Penn was on the verge of quitting acting altogether before he got the role of Dan. Although he was hesitant to accept the part, the producers encouraged him to do so, and the rest is history. Penn is still acting today on You, although it's not the roguishly charming role many are used to from him.
Although Penn didn't quit acting and instead chose to take the role of Dan, it was a decision he eventually came to regret, at least somewhat. As Josh Schwartz explained to Harper's Bazaar, "Penn did not like being on Gossip Girl, but...he was Dan. He may not have liked it, but [his character] was the closest to who he was."
Whether he liked it or not, Penn Badgley was a perfect fit for the role of Dan, and he played the character well. He may not have enjoyed being on Gossip Girl, but the show only worked because he was on it.
As Taylor Momsen became more focused on her music career, reports suggest that she became more difficult to work with on set. She eventually stopped learning her lines, and it was clear that the show's regular cast and crew was becoming more and more frustrated with her.
Eventually, it was announced that Taylor would be taking an "indefinite hiatus" from the show. While the official story is that that decision was hers, there are many who believe that she was forced to leave because of her behavior. Whatever the truth really was, it's clear that the situation on set was not a sustainable one.
The news is filled with stories of foreign hackers stealing valuable information and using that information to blackmail various companies and governments. Years ago, that exact thing happened on Gossip Girl. During the show's fourth season, the production discovered that the show's scripts were ending up online and realized that it was because a teenage Russian hacker was selling them on e-Bay.
Shows work incredibly hard to prevent these kinds of leaks now, but at the end of the day, there are worse things that can happen to a production. A few spoilers out in the world usually doesn't ruin the whole show.
It seems clear that the decision to make Dan Gossip Girl was made fairly late in the show's run. There are plenty of times when it seems like, if they had known he was Gossip Girl the whole time, he would have behaved differently. As it turns out, Penn Badgley didn't even know his character was Gossip Girl until the very last moment, in order to preserve the surprise.
This goes at least part of the way toward explaining why Dan would be shocked by Gossip Girl blasts when he was alone. If Penn didn't know Dan was Gossip Girl, he wouldn't be able to play those scenes like he knew.
There are plenty of plot decisions through Gossip Girl's history that seem a little regrettable in retrospect. One of those controversial decisions was to try and boost the show's ratings by airing and promoting an episode where Dan has a threesome with Vanessa and Olivia Burke, who was played by guest star Hillary Duff.
The show sparked controversy and led to the Parents Television Council denouncing it as "reckless and irresponsible." Although the CW and its affiliates were urged to pull the episode, it aired at planned. In fact, it even resulted in the ratings boost that the network was hoping for.
On Gossip Girl, Blair and Serena are the best of frenemies. They fight, it's true, but their love ultimately forms the core of what the show is about. In real life, though, the two were not nearly as friendly as they are on-screen. That's not to say that they disliked each other, exactly, just that their relationship was like one between co-workers instead of friends.
One of the most magical things about actors is their ability to create relationships out of thin air. The relationship between Blair and Serena was a piece of fiction, but it was one that the actors made you believe in.
After Josh Schwartz found success with The O.C., he decided to create a similar series set in the wealthy areas of New York City. As he began working on the series for the CW, it became clear that the network wanted high profile women to play the lead roles. For Blair, they wanted Ashley Olsen.
It's interesting to consider what the show would have been like if it had been headlined by a more famous face. As it is, the showrunners insisted ongoing with more unknown names, and things worked out pretty well. Blake Lively made her entire career on playing Serena, after all.
Ashley Olsen was not the only famous face the network wanted to put on Gossip Girl. They were also keen on casting Rumer Willis as Blair, although that plan fell through for the same reason that the Ashley Olsen casting did.
For those of you who may not know, Rumer is the eldest daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore. She's had a fairly long acting career, but it's hard to imagine anyone besides Leighton playing Blair. Leighton brings a sensitivity and smarminess to the role that it would be hard to find in any other actress. She just fits the role too perfectly.
Throughout the series, we learn bits and pieces about Lily van der Woodsen, Serena's mother, and her wild, rebellious youth. We even get flashbacks to Lily's life with her sister, played by Brittany Snow and Kristen Ritter respectively. In fact, producers found those characters intriguing enough that they planned an entire spin-off that centered on them.
The pilot would set up their lives in the mid-80s, and the show would have followed them from that point. Ultimately, the series never received a green light and was eventually canceled. It's a shame, because if the series had gone forward, it might have featured younger characters from The O.C..
As more toxic men are revealed throughout Hollywood, we've learned just how many men can take advantage of and assault women. Ed Westwick has been accused of sexual assault by three different women, including actresses Kristina Cohen and Aurélie Wynn as well as creative producer Rachel Eck.
After these accusations came to light, Ed lost roles in the various projects he was attached to. While Ed was not ultimately prosecuted as a result of these accusations, it's clear that he likely should not have a career as a famous actor anymore. We'll see whether things turn out that way. His ex Jessica stood up for him after the accusations came to light.
How different would Gossip Girl have been if Leighton Meester had played the other lead role? That was almost the case, as Leighton originally auditioned for the role of Serena. In an interesting twist, it was Leighton herself who told the producers that she felt she was a better fit for Blair.
Her intuition on that front undoubtedly paid off. Leighton probably wouldn't have made a great Serena, and Blake Lively was a perfect fit for that role. Conversely, she was an outstanding fit for the role of Blair and played her to perfection over the course of six seasons.
This isn't exactly true, but Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage caught onto Blake after reading message boards in which fans cast her for the role. Apparently, the showrunners didn't see many other actresses for the role. It was clear almost immediately that it was a part that Blake should be playing.
Sometimes, the wisdom of the crowd is exactly what you need to help narrow down your search. Showrunners shouldn't rely on message boards to solve all their problems, but that doesn't mean they're entirely useless. On occasion, they can even help you cast one of your most critical roles.