Over the years, Penn Badgley and Domino Kirke have proven to the world that they are a deeply in love pair. The Gossip Girl star and the doula and musician Kirke met in New York City in 2014. They connected right away because they shared a similar taste in music.
Kirke is three years older than Badgley and is not an actor herself. But, having sisters like Jemima Kirke (of Girls) and Lola Kirke (of Mozart in the Jungle) gives her a distinct viewpoint on Badgley’s career. There were two weddings for the couple in 2017. They started with an intimate party following the February civil wedding.
There was a huge reception for the newlyweds in late June, attended by hundreds of their closest friends and famous people from all over the world. The couple has been there for each other professionally and personally since they tied the knot.
They opted to expand their family even though Kirke already has a son, Cassius Riley, from a previous relationship. Kirke and Badgley’s first child, a son named James, was born on August 20, 2020.
July 2014: Badgley and Kirke Begin Dating
Paparazzi photographs of Badgley and Kirke together were taken for the first time in the summer of 2014 in New York City. After dating for some time, sources finally confirmed their relationship was public knowledge.
When Kirke was a guest on Badgley’s podcast, she revealed that they had first met at a meatball restaurant. At the time, the actor was participating in a phenomenon known as “couch surfing,” and Kirke generously offered to host him. He declined, but they did exchange contact information.
In a now-deleted interview with HeyMama, Kirke reportedly said she was taking things slow in the relationship. “I was sort of getting used to being a single mom, maybe a little too used to it,” she added. “I had a really good thing with my kid and we were like this little team. Penn and I were dating, but it wasn’t nearly as serious as it is now, of course. I didn’t think marriage was in the cards for us.”
Later in an interview, the You actor explained that he was able to fall in love with Kirke because he had grown closer to the Baha’i faith before meeting her. “I don’t think I could truly value human love until I developed divine love,” Penn shared with People in 2018. “[Domino and I] very much had a romantic beginning, and I think that you discover in a marriage that what sustains a marriage for decades—there are fewer and fewer people who can tell us this—but I think it has something to do with [divine] love.”
December 2014: The Couple Attends a Black Lives Matter March
Throughout their time together, Badgley and Kirke have been vocal in their support of various social justice initiatives. The actor posted a snapshot of the two of them on Instagram in December 2014 from the Million March for Black Lives Matter. Later that year, both were present at the 2017 Women’s March.
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2015: Badgley and Kirke Watch “Gossip Girl” Together
Penn Badgley’s rise to prominence was unquestionably due to his role on Gossip Girl. On the other hand, Kirke missed all of the episodes that aired between 2007 and 2012 because he was busy.
In a 2020 “Actors on Actors” video interview for Variety with his former co-star Chase Crawford, Badgley shared, “I watched with my wife, with Domino, before we got married. It must’ve been six months since we met. She had never seen it, and that’s the last time I can remember seeing an episode.”
February 27, 2017: The Couple Gets Legally Married
On February 27, 2017, Penn Badgley and Domino Kirke-Badgley tied the knot in a civil ceremony. People report that the event was quite low-key, with the bride wearing a short white lace gown and the groom a blue suit. The newlyweds celebrated their nuptials with 40 close friends and family at Brooklyn’s Maison-May.
Domino shared an Instagram photo from the party with the caption, “Here’s to getting hitched on a Monday. I love you @pennbadgley #5years 💐.”
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June 24, 2017: The Newlyweds Host a Larger Wedding
After their wedding, the happy couple decided to continue the celebrations. Celebrities including Mariska Hargitay, Zac Posen, Debra Messing, and Heidi Klum attended the party that Badgley and Kirke-Badgley threw on June 24, 2017.
“My first wedding was more of a civil ceremony with about 40 people that were able to join us in a pinch,” Kirke explained in a deleted interview with HeyMama. “The second one was more planned. 200 people came from all over the world. It just felt necessary to have both.”
August 2017: Badgley Appears in Kirke’s Music Video
Beyond Waves, Domino Kirke’s debut album was released that same year. Kirke and her half-brother appeared in the self-directed music video for the song “Half-Blood,” which was about half-siblings, together with her new husband and his half-sister, Jen. Friend and foe alike were encouraged to share their experiences because “I wanted to understand that connection in other half-siblings too, so I invited friends and strangers alike to take part and tell their stories,” Kirke told PAPER.
Badgley also promoted the new album by posting the first image of Kirke to Instagram.
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September 3, 2019: The Family Attends the U.S. Open
In September 2019, the married couple and Kirke’s son Cassius made a rare public appearance together at the U.S. Open.
December 17, 2019: Badgley Writes a Birthday Post
As his wife’s birthday rolled around in December 2019, the John Tucker Must Die star sent a sweet Instagram message about her. Badgley paired a video of a grinnin’ Kirke in the snow with the caption “Happy birthday, Dom. A super-brief review of your invisible qualities: A truly radiant soul, you seem to spark alight almost everyone you meet, with a 99% success rate. It’s really impressive and quite mysterious. You encourage others to be honest, brave, gentle, and expansive. Your great capacity for empathy is obvious, something anyone can get warm by like a glowing stove. Your desire to be of service to others is miraculous. It is in your DNA. In pictures as a very young child, you exude it—great care and sweetness; an invitation. You make others happy by you. For me, it is a joy to witness you when you are happy. For you, I always hope to be a source of joy. I’m really glad we’re married.”
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February 2020: Kirke Announces They Are Expecting
Kirke announced she and Badgley were expecting their first child in an Instagram post that has since been deleted. She shared that the couple had previously suffered two consecutive losses and were thinking about “calling it.” “I stopped trusting my body and started to accept the fact that I was done,” wrote Kirke.
“As a birth attendant, I’ve seen and heard it all. It takes everything I’ve got to detach lovingly from the losses I’ve been present for and be in my own experience. When I was pregnant at 25, I knew nothing. I had no community. I dove in blissfully unawareness about birth and its mysteries. Now, with 10 years worth of experience to pull from, I treasure my birth community and the knowledge I have.” She added in a message to her future child, “You’re already teaching us how to stay in the day in a way we’ve never had to, little one. Thank you.”
August 11, 2020: The Couple Welcome Their First Child Together
The couple welcomed their baby, James Badgley, into the world on August 11, 2020. In September of that year, Kirke broke the news on Instagram by posting a picture of the placenta she’d had printed out on paper. She allegedly shared the news on social media with the caption, “His heart-shaped home ❣️ #40dayspostpartum.”
October 2021: Badgley Talks of His “Joyful” Parenting Experience
Badgley, who portrays a murderer on the popular TV drama You, recently became a father and admitted it was challenging to play the part. “The funny thing is I was curious what my new fatherhood, how that would influence my experience with Joe and acting with him, and sometimes it was almost not helpful because I was having such a light and joyful experience—still am—and Joe is so petrified,” he explained to Access.
“He’s so scared, and of course, I can identify with the fear, but he’s just so morbid in his obsessive, sort of like self-preservation, primal instinct that sometimes I almost found it harder as a result, you know what I mean? It depended on the scene.”
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January 2022: Kirke Is Still Getting Used to Badgley’s Fame
Kirke said in an interview with Glamour UK that she is “getting used” to being a celebrity wife, especially after her husband became the main man in the show You. “I didn’t watch Gossip Girl, so I didn’t know what all the fuss was about when I met him,” she said.
“So I’m still sort of—getting used to this, and I think he is too because he was always part of this ensemble. So this is new for him. He’s the star, the shining star of all of it. I think it’s a learning curve for us, for sure. It’s very unnatural to be known as well as he’s known right now. It feels kind of strange when we’re out and about to have a number of people come up to us—it’s pretty crazy. So, I don’t think it ever feels normal or healthy, so we’re all just getting used to it.”
February 10, 2023: Badgley Says Fidelity in Marriage Is Important to Him
In a recent episode of the podcast Podcrushed, Badgley discussed the upcoming season of his program You and said that he asked the show’s producer to tone down intimate sequences out of respect for his marriage. “I asked Sera Gamble, [the] creator, ‘Can I just do no more intimacy scenes?’ This was a decision I had made before I took the show,” he said.
“I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it publicly, but one of the main things is, do I want to put myself back on a career path where I’m always [the] romantic lead? Fidelity in every relationship—especially in a marriage—is important to me.”
February 14, 2023: Badgley Almost Turned Down “You” Due to Intimate Scenes
Badgley elaborated on his earlier comments about wanting to reduce the number of romantic sequences in an interview with Variety. He admitted he was almost dissuaded from taking the part because of the explicit content. “It’s not a place where I’ve blurred lines. There’s almost nothing I could say with more consecration,” he said in the interview.
“That aspect of Hollywood has always been very disturbing to me—and that aspect of the job, that mercurial boundary—has always been something that I don’t want to play with at all. I didn’t tell anybody that. But that is why.”