Penn Badgley on His Relationship With Blake Lively: ‘It Was a Learning Experience’

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  • Penn Badgley
    Penn Badgley
    American actor and musician
  • Blake Lively
    Blake Lively
    American actress

Count Penn Badgley and Blake Lively among the Hollywood exes who aren't the best of buddies.

Although they dated for more than two years while co-starring on "Gossip Girl," the one-time power couple of The CW went their separate ways … and never looked back.

In a new interview with Elle, Badgley was asked what lessons he learned from his relationship with Lively, who went on to marry another Hollywood heartthrob, Ryan Reynolds, last September -- less than two years after their 2010 split and while they were still working together on the final season of "Gossip Girl."

"I don’t know if I can distill it into a sentence, or even articulate it," the 26-year-old told the magazine. "We were very much caught up in the show, which itself was a six-year endurance test. Our relationship was a part of that and helped us through it. I mean, like anything valuable, it was good and it was bad and it was a learning experience."

Read More From the Penn Badgley Interview in Elle

Asked whether working with Lively after she married Reynolds in a lavish ceremony in South Carolina last September was difficult, Badgley would only offer, "No, we were ultimately professional."

Professional, but not friendly. As in, he didn't purchase the happy newlyweds a new coffeemaker, fine china -- or any other wedding gift.

"No, I didn’t," he said, his final comment on the topic of his ex.

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But make no mistake, it's not like the floppy-haired star, who is currently on the big screen playing the late musician Jeff Buckley in "Greetings From Tim Buckley," is still hung up on Lively. He's been dating actress-model Zoë Kravitz, 24, since 2011 -- although it's often from afar.

"There’s definitely no secret," he said about often being in a long-distance relationship because of their careers. (Last year, she was in Africa for six months filming "Mad Max: Fury Road.") "I’d say honesty is always the best policy."

Honesty and ... not being afraid to fight.

"There are always a lot of arguments," he allowed, "but even if honesty starts some, it avoids bigger ones."

[Related: Q&A: ‘Gossip Girl’ Guy Penn Badgley Breaks Out With Soulful Star Turn in ‘Greetings From Tim Buckley’]

Elaborating on that point, he offered, "As an actor, being in a relationship you have this opportunity to have something really exceptional, because you don’t have a regimented schedule or lifestyle. But then it can also be very warped. You have on-camera romances, which ordinarily I don’t have a problem with. There are complications being an object of attention. I’ve found it’s a double-edged sword. But I’m happy to wield it."

And he'd be happy to settle down and get married himself … one day.

"Yeah. Eventually," he said on the topic of marriage. "I want the ceremony. I want the bond."

Badgley has already bonded with Zoë's family -- at least her famous dad, Lenny Kravitz. He said they have a friendly relationship and that the "Let Love Rule" singer doesn't play the protective dad.

"We get along, we talk music," said Badgley, who pursued a singing career in the late '90s and revealed during the interview that he's "written a song for every woman I’ve been with." "He took me to Harlem to see this little jazz show in the back of a church. It was just sh---y fluorescent lights and a small stage piano, but this band tore it up."

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But he's not looking to Lenny for tips on relationships. When the topic of Lenny's celibacy came up -- the rock star famously abstained from sex for three years -- Badgley said he wouldn't be trying that.

"I don’t know how I would fare," Badgley replied. "I’m sure I could do it. But I don’t know that I’d want to."

For more of Badgley's interview, pick up the June issue of Elle, on newsstands May 21.

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