Taylor Momsen recently opened up to her TV brother, Penn Badgley, about her decision to leave “Gossip Girl” and pursue music.
On Wednesday’s episode of Badgley’s podcast, “Podcrushed,” Momsen explained that she had always been more drawn to music than acting and confirmed that she asked to be released from the popular CW series about stylish teenagers living scandalous lives in New York City.
Momsen, 30, and Badgley, 36, played sibling duo Jenny and Dan Humphrey in “Gossip Girl,” which ran for six seasons from 2007 to 2012.
Acting “was a childhood thing that I got put into at 2 years old,” Momsen told Badgley and his co-hosts, Nava Kavelin and Sophie Ansari. “I wasn’t making my own choices then. And literally, as soon as I got to an age where I could make my own decision, it was like a click. I don’t know exactly what happened. But it’s like I woke up one morning and went, ‘Wait a second. I don’t have to do this … other job. I can just play in my band, and I can tour and write songs.’”
“Granted, [it’s] a little more complicated to get out of a television show,” she added, revealing that the writers and producers of the series supported her by manufacturing a loophole for her to stop working on “Gossip Girl” without breaching her contract.
“They went, ‘Well, we can’t let you out of your deal. But we can write you out of the show so you can go on tour,’” she said.
When the producers warned her that she wouldn’t be allowed to “act in anything else” until her contract expired, the rock musician wasn’t deterred.
“I went, ‘That’s fine. That’s not what I’m trying to do,’” she recalled. “They really allowed me to follow my dream. … I’m forever grateful and thankful to them for that.”
The longtime lead singer of rock band the Pretty Reckless was 13 when the first season of “Gossip Girl” premiered and 17 when she was dropped as a series regular upon her request.
At the time, rumors painted Momsen as a diva behind the scenes. But even then, the teen actor was vocal about her passion for music and dedication to her band.
“I have the ability to create my life how I wanna create it and live my life how I wanna live it,” she remembered thinking.
“I don’t know exactly what made that click, but it did one moment, and it was like a lightbulb went off, and I uprooted and changed my whole life overnight.”
Momsen — who famously starred opposite Jim Carrey in 2000’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” as little Cindy Lou Who — was significantly younger than many of her “Gossip Girl” castmates. She reflected during the podcast episode about feeling isolated throughout her childhood — first as the “Grinch girl” at school and later as the odd one out on the set of “Gossip Girl.”
“I was all by myself a lot,” she told Badgley.
“I didn’t have my own clique. I didn’t fit in with you guys. … Music became a solace for me where I could find myself or express myself and feel good about myself.”