Actress Leighton Meester rose to fame thanks to her role as Blair Waldorf on Gossip Girl from 2007-2012. Even though the show has been off the air for close to 10 years, Millennials still can’t get enough of Blair’s savage ploys and witty one-liners. And while we may not be over the drama and suspense of GG, Leighton has sure come a long way since she kissed her upper east heels goodbye.
The actress has been taking on more daring, complex roles since moving on from the teen drama, including roles in Country Strong (2010), Monte Carlo (2011), and The Oranges (2011). She made her Broadway debut in 2014 in Of Mice and Men and also dabbled a bit in music, having released her own independent album ‘Heartstrings’ in 2014. Since 2018, the celeb has been staring on the ABC sitcom Single Parents, which follows a group of adults as they try to navigate their way through parenthood.
But arguably the most challenging role Leighton has taken on in the past few years is that of being a mom. In 2014, the star married fellow actor Adam Brody after dating for four years. The couple welcomed their only child, daughter Arlo, the following year in 2015. Read on to see what Leighton is like as a mom and how her new role as influenced her acting career.
Nowadays, many parents are picky about the programming their kids watch on TV. But it sounds like Leighton wants her daughter to be exposed to a wide range of, um, classic films at a young age. Many fans were surprised when she revealed that she allowed her then-2-year old daughter to watch Edward Scissorhands, and it sounds like her toddler actually enjoyed it!
"She's really into Edward Scissorhands. It's actually not, like, really violent or anything. It's, like, very sweet and nice," the actress said to Entertainment Tonight in 2017. "We were like, 'I don't want to watch these cartoons anymore. I need to watch, like, a better movie.' Because they watch stuff on repeat. So it's cute."
Leighton is an outspoken feminist- which is one of the reasons she takes issue with her former role as Blair Waldorf. If one thing is for sure, it’s that the actress is raising her daughter with the same gender equality positive attitude and to fight for her rights when it matters.
“The thing that gets all the attention is ‘women’s right are humans rights,’ and that’s certainly a true statement,” she told Byrdie in 2017 about the need for women to make their voices heard. “Maybe some people are mistaken that sexism is gone and that women are treated equally, but we’re not. … That said, I do think people will fight for [those] rights.”
You go, girl!
Many fans aren’t aware, but Leighton has had a very strenuous relationship with her parents, and it’s likely they aren’t involved in her or her daughter’s lives nowadays.
When the actress was born, both of her parents were serving time in federal prison for substance usage- Leighton was actually born in a prison hospital. She was put in her paternal grandparents’ care until her mother completed her jail time and then eventually moved with her mom and siblings to New York when she was 11.
But the drama didn’t stop there. In 2011, Leighton filed a lawsuit against her mother for misusing money the actress had sent her that was supposed to go to her brother Alexander’s hospital bills. Her mom filed a counterclaim, alleging her daughter owed her even more money since she sacrificed so much to help start her acting career. In 2012, Leighton won her case, while her mom’s suit was thrown out.
Leighton always looks stunning on the red carpet and on set, thanks to her gorgeous wardrobe, styled hair, and on-point makeup. But it sounds like all of the times she’s gotten glammed up have made the actress appreciate the times she can just remain low-key and comfortable at home.
During her interview with Byrdie, Leighton admitted she can’t stand it when she doesn’t feel comfortable. “I’m such a baby about being comfortable,” she told the publication. “Comfortable temperature, comfortable clothes.” We’re taking this to mean that the star loves throwing her sweatpants on as soon as she’s home with her daughter. We’re the exact same way!
Despite it being the role that made her famous, Leighton isn’t sure if she’ll ever be comfortable with her daughter watching Gossip Girl. The actress has been honest about how she doesn’t believe the show is exactly empowering for teenagers, particularly young girls.
"Oh, I don't know. I don’t know how to answer that," she said to Glamour last year. "I meet young women now who are watching it for the first time, and I’m like, 'Whoa.' It still speaks to a lot of people, so I’m proud of it. It was, in many ways, my college and a first job. It was my twenties, from 20 to 26. It was so much of my growth."
It sounds like Leighton hates keeping her daughter cooped up inside their house on days where they have nothing better to do. That’s why the celeb says she makes an effort to get out of the house with her mini-me, explaining how it’s important for kids development to be active outside of the house.
“I think getting out of the house is very important,” Leighton explained to Us Weekly. “I’ve realized more than ever that playing is how they learn and work. When they play, that’s their work. That’s their job.” She added, "As soon as they get up, they want to play. That’s how they grow, socialize, learn and develop."
Now that’s some solid parenting advice!
Nowadays, it seems like millennials always have their kids on some sort of vegan or vegetarian diet. But while being health-conscious is obviously important, it seems like some parents tend to take it overboard.
Given how Leighton says she doesn’t like to restrict her diet too much, it sounds like she must be pretty relaxed when it comes to what she feeds her child. “I’m never hard on myself when it comes to what I’m eating,” Leighton told Byrdie of her food choices. “I usually just go with my gut … what I want, what I feel like, and what’s easy.”
Many fans have noticed that there aren’t many photos of Arlo floating around.
Both Leighton and her husband do their best to avoid their daughter’s photo being taken by paparazzi and they also don’t post pics of her online. Likewise, they refrain from speaking about their personal life too much in interviews, something that Leighton is actually proud of.
“I don’t talk about Arlo very much,” she told Refinery29in 2017. “I am very proud of that area of my life. But I’m also really proud of the show, and of the work I do. I think the perception is: You’re an ingénue, or you’re an icon, or you’re a mom. There’s no in between."
Many female actresses have said that either getting older or having children has impacted their career, and Leighton is one of them. The celeb has been honest that, since having her daughter, she’s noticed a difference in the roles she’s offered.
“I am a mother. I do notice now a lot of roles that don’t really come my way, like the sexy ingénue," she said to Net-a-porter. We need women who are more fully fleshed out on television and in film at every age, including young women who aren’t just there to be the love interest and the date.”
For someone who’s balancing a full-time acting career as well as being a parent to a child under 5, finding a balance between professional and personal life is essential. But Leighton admits she’s not quite there yet. In fact, she’s not sure if this sort of balance even exists.
"People don't get paid to raise their children; if they did, they'd be making a lot of money doing all the secretarial work, grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking…even just listening," Leighton once explained to Glamour.
The mom continued, "For me, being home is amazing and being at work is amazing. But I don’t think there’s a balance. I'm lucky I can breathe between each project and appreciate both."
Fans were elated when Leighton married Adam Brody in 2013, after meeting him in 2010 on the set of The Oranges. It was a match made in teen soap opera heaven, considering Leighton used to play Blair Waldorf while Adam is known for his stint as Seth Cohen on The OC.
Nearly six years later and it sounds like this couple is going strong. Leighton says it helps that they’ve figured out a schedule that balances their work with home life. "I think we're a pretty modern couple. I think we sort of toggle back and forth," she once said to Entertainment Tonight."We both work, but also being actors, I think we understand each other, what we're both going through."
Given how often she has to spend away from her family due to work, Leighton says it’s made her appreciate all of the time she gets to spend with her daughter and husband.
"I also think the nice thing about being an actor [is] you can work a lot, and when work is work, it's, like, super intense and long hours and you might not see your family for a long period," she explained to Entertainment Tonight."But then I'll have, like, months off at a time, so I can really be home and spend time [with Arlo]. I prefer it that way."
It sounds like this celeb loves keeping busy!
Since it’s clear that Leighton loves being an active mother, it’s no surprise to hear the star loves taking her toddler on hikes with her. Evidently, it’s a commonplace thing in their household, so long as the actress’ busy schedule allows for it.
“I do a nice morning hike with my daughter, that’s always a treat. It’s something to do in the wee hours of the morning when she’s up,” she shared with US Weekly in 2018. “It’s a good activity for both of us. We hike around our house … watching the sunrise with a kid is pretty fun.”
Teaching kids the importance of physical activity is crucial from a young age, so it sounds like Leighton is on the right track.
Leighton has taken on a lot of different roles since her time on Gossip Girl, and she says the new experiences she has as a mom definitely prepare her for the more diverse roles she’s been leaning towards.
"I think it kind of goes both ways, like, having a kid and being a mom. [It] prepares me to some extent, playing a mom. I bring the experiences with me. At least it's something that I've lived through," she told Entertainment Tonight. "But yeah, my kid is 3, not 7 [like my child on the show]. The school drop-offs have just sort [of] started that."
Considering that she’s starring on a show about parenting currently, we bet having a child at home definitely helps get her into character.
What’s Leighton’s best parenting advice? Well, it doesn’t sound like the celeb has anything specific in mind since she believes you can’t really prepare for raising kids. It sounds like this mama is carefree and confident!
"Nobody can tell you what parenthood is going to be like," Leighton told Glamour in 2018. "You think you know, and then it's just so hard. I feel so, so lucky that I have help and a husband. I feel stable, but there are so many people who don't have that. In a really tender way, [my new show] Single Parents explores how parenting is an emotional roller coaster."
While fans may think a celeb always wants to talk about their kid, that’s not always the reality. Leighton has implied that she gets bored of being asked about her personal life and would rather focus on her career accomplishments or the projects she’s currently working on. Fair enough!
"The excitement for a lot of people is: Man and woman meet, get married, then have a baby. But in the meantime, there’s so much more to women," she told Elle. "We have these flawed heroes so often leading shows. But a flawed heroine? She’s portrayed in a different way: so much more of a bitch, and if she’s older, certainly a dried up one."
Leighton has become choosier with her roles since becoming a mother and has talked about how it’s important to her that she chooses characters that are empowering and a good role model. It sounds like she wants her daughter to have characters to look up to who aren’t Blair Waldorf.
“I was excited to have the chance to play a character who’s so well-rounded. I really didn’t want to play a girlfriend or a wife,” the star said about her role as Deborah Revere in Making History. “I wanted to have something that I could have fun with and be a real person, as all women are. It’s so rare to find that on television."
She added, “Deb is ahead of her time, and she’s questioning women’s place in society and how they’re treated.”
Since Leighton has been open about her qualms over starring on Gossip Girl, many fans have wondered if the actress regrets accepting the role that made her famous. And while the star doesn’t love her former role completely, she says she has no regrets because it made her into the person (and mom!) she is today.
"I wouldn’t change anything [in the past] because I’m happy where I am now,” she told Entertainment Tonight about living life without regrets. “I think that that’s one of the many wonderful parts of not only having a child and meeting your soul mate but also I feel really lucky career-wise – really in a place that I want to be.”
Finally, Blair found happiness!
As has been mentioned, fans were elated when Leighton began dating Adam Brody, since they both played such popular characters in teenage dramas around the same time. Despite how supportive fans have been of the union, the actress wishes they’d be a little less enthusiastic about things.
“I think women need to be held up and supported and lauded for their achievements outside of their marital status,” Leighton once said to Fox News. “It definitely makes you feel more accomplished when you’re being supported for your intelligence, your character, your achievements.”
So, if you ever meet Leighton, don’t make who she’s married to a big deal!
Leighton knows that being a mom takes a lot of hard work! She not only realizes that thanks to her first-hand experience as a mom, but also thanks to her starring role in Single Parents, which has given her more insight into what single mamas have to go through.
"Angie is a paralegal and a mom and has very little time to do anything," she's said about her role in Single Parents."We use comedy on the show to explore co-parenting and being single parents. I can only imagine it is the hardest job in the world because being a parent is the hardest job in the world."
Despite handling a hectic filming schedule, the never-ending promotional appearances, and raising a toddler, Leighton couldn’t sound happier with her role as a mother. Though she knows it’s hard work, it sounds like she’s loving enjoying the fruits of her labour.
“I wouldn’t change anything [in the past] because I’m happy where I am now,” she's told Net-a-porter.“And I think that that’s one of the many wonderful parts of not only having a child and meeting your soul mate but also I feel really lucky career-wise – really in a place that I want to be.”
This actress is total #MomGoals!