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From ‘Gossip Girl’ to ‘You’! See Penn Badgley’s Total Transformation Over the Years

If you were a big fan of the original Gossip Girl, it’s likely you’re also a big fan of Penn Badgley! The Baltimore, Maryland, native played “Lonely Boy” Daniel Humphrey on the hit teen drama from 2007 to 2012.

While Gossip Girl is no doubt one of Penn’s most notable roles to date, he also stars as Joe Goldberg on the hugely popular Netflix series You. The show first hit the streaming platform in September 2018 and fans immediately took a liking to the dark and twisted tale of stalker Joe and his unassuming victims.

The second season of You came out on Netflix in December 2019, with the third season premiering in October 2021. Now, the highly anticipated fourth season of You is coming to Netflix in two parts — part I will be available on February 9, 2023, and part II will be available on March 9, 2023.

Given the disturbing nature of Penn’s character on You, he was initially surprised to see viewers swooning over Joe Goldberg on social media. However, the father of one, who shares a son with wife Domino Kirke, recognizes how that creates a conversation about real-life issues.

“I do think it has a lot to do with the way he looks. Joe is not that far from some of the characters we love to see as art and dissect ad nauseam, who we’ve found in Jack Kerouac or J.D. Salinger’s work,” Penn said during a 2019 interview with The New York Times.

“But this was before we were having the kind of more nuanced conversations around race and gender that we are now,” he added. “If anyone other than a young white man were to behave like these characters behave, nobody’s having it.”

Penn understands that people use Netflix to “check out,” but he believes You also delivers an important message. “I think there’s something about this show that forces you to check in, even though you are using it to consume and disconnect,” the Easy A alum explained.

“In my experience, it tends to be men who are more horrified by Joe. I’ll go out on a limb and wonder if that is because it’s less of a novel idea to women,” Penn noted. “He’s like a nightmare that you’ve repeatedly had, whereas men are like, ‘This isn’t real!’ Women are like, ‘Of course it isn’t real, but it’s extremely representative of something.'”

Scroll through the gallery below to see photos of Penn Badgley’s total transformation over the years.