Penn Badgley and Domino Kirke have proven over the years that they truly are a couple in love. The Gossip Girl actor and Kirke, who works as a doula and musician, first met back in 2014 while both were living in New York City. They quickly hit it off, sharing a love for both music and their Baha'i faith. Although Kirke, who is three years older than Badgley, is not in the film world, her actress sisters Jemima Kirke of Girls and Lola Kirke of Mozart in the Jungle gave her a unique perspective to understand her romantic partner's career.
The pair got married not one, but two times in 2017. First, they hosted a small celebration after a civil ceremony in February. Later in June, the newlyweds held a large reception with hundreds of friends and celebrity guests from around the world. Since tying the knot, the couple continued to support each other in their careers and lives.
While Kirke has a son Cassius Riley, who was born in 2009 from a previous relationship, the pair decided to grow their family further. On August 20, 2020, Kirke gave birth to her and Badgley's first son James.
- Below, see some of the major highlights of their relationship.
- Penn Badgley and Domino Kirke began dating after meeting in 2014.
- The couple legally tied the knot in February 2017 and hosted a second wedding in June that year.
- Badgley and Kirke welcomed a son named James together on August 20, 2020.
July 2014: Badgley and Kirke Begin Dating
Badgley and Kirke were first spotted together by paparazzi in New York City in the summer of 2014. Sources shared that the couple had been dating for a bit of time before reports of their relationship got out. Later when Kirke appeared on Badgley's podcast, she shared that the pair met in a meatball shop. The actor was couch surfing at the time and Kirke offered to let him stay at her place. He didn't accept the offer, but they did get each other's numbers.
According to People, in a since-deleted interview with HeyMama, Kirke shared she was keeping the relationship casual at first. "I was sort of getting used to being a single mom, maybe a little too used to it," she said. "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."
However, the You actor later noted in an interview that a deepening of his Baha'i faith before dating Kirke allowed him to truly fall in love. “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 marriage that what sustains a marriage for decades—there are less and less people who can tell us this—but I think it has something to do with [divine] love.”
December 2014: The Couple Attend a Black Lives Matter March
Throughout their relationship, Badgley and Kirke have showed their support for social justice causes. In December 2014, the actor shared a photo on his Instagram page from when they both took part in the Million March for Black Lives Matter. The pair also later attended the Women's March in 2017.
2015: Badgley and Kirke Watch "Gossip Girl" Together
Gossip Girl was definitely the show that catapulted Penn Badgley to fame. But, Kirke never saw the show when it first aired between 2007 and 2012. 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 after we met. She had never seen it, and that's the last time I can remember seeing an episode."
February 27, 2017: The Couple Get Legally Married
Penn Badgley and Domino Kirke-Badgley became husband and wife in a civil ceremony on February 27, 2017. According to People, the couple hosted a small celebration where the bride donned a short, white lace dress and the groom for a blue suit. After saying "I do," the couple hosted an intimate reception for 40 guests at Maison-May in Brooklyn. In February 2022, Domino posted a throwback post to the celebration on Instagram with the caption, "Here’s to getting hitched on a Monday. I love you @pennbadgley #5years 💐."
June 24, 2017: The Newlyweds Host a Larger Wedding
The newly married couple decided that they needed to celebrate even further. On June 24, 2017, Badgley and Kirke-Badgley hosted another celebration with celebrity guests like Mariska Hargitay, Zac Posen, Debra Messing, and Heidi Klum. "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, according to People. "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
Domino Kirke released her first album Beyond Waves in 2017. When she self-directed a music video for the song "Half Blood" about half-siblings, Kirke and her half-brother made an appearance, as well as her new husband and his half-sister, Jen. "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 first posted Kirke on his Instagram promoting the new album.
September 3, 2019: The Family Attends the U.S. Open
The married duo and Kirke's son Cassius made a rare public outing together to attend the U.S. Open in September 2019.
December 17, 2019: Badgley Writes a Birthday Post
In December 2019, the John Tucker Must Die actor wrote a heartfelt Instagram post about his wife in honor of her birthday. Paired with a video of Kirke smiling in the snow, Badgley wrote 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, like a 99% success rate. It’s really impressive, and quite mysterious. You encourage others to be honest, and brave, and 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—a 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."
February 2020: Kirke Announces They Are Expecting
In a since-deleted Instagram post, Kirke shared that her and Badgley were expecting their first child. She revealed that the couple previously experienced two miscarriages in a row and were considering "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 unaware 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
On August 11, 2020, the couple's family grew by one with the birth of their son James Badgley. Kirke shared the news on Instagram that September with a photo of the placenta, which was printed on a piece of paper. According to People, she wrote, "His heart shaped home ❣️ #40dayspostpartum."
October 2021: Badgley Talks of His "Joyful" Parenting Experience
While Badgley plays a murderous character in his hit television show You, the actor revealed it was difficult to take on the role after welcoming a baby. "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 really depended on the scene."
January 2022: Kirke Is Still Getting Used to Badgley's Fame
In an interview with Glamour UK, Kirke shared she is still "getting used" to being married to a celebrity, especially as he became a leading man in his show You. "I didn't watch Gossip Girl, so I didn't really 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 the amount of people come up to us—it's pretty crazy, actually. 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 an episode of the podcast Podcrushed discussing the new season of his show You, Badgley revealed that he asked the show's creator to scale back intimate scenes out of respect for his marriage. "I asked Sera Gamble, [the] creator, 'Can I just do no more intimacy scenes?' This was actually 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
In a later interview with Variety, Badgley further discussed his statements around wanting to cut back on intimate scenes. In fact, he shared he almost turned down the role due to its sex scenes. "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 actually don't want to play with at all. I didn't tell anybody that. But that is why."