Penn Badgley explains how being a stepdad is ‘very different’ than being a dad

Penn Badgley explains how being a stepdad is ‘very different’ than being a dad

Penn Badgley has opened up about fatherhood and how he was able to bond with his teenage stepson.

The Gossip Girl alum, 37, recently explained how being a stepfather to his wife’s 15-year-old son and a biological father to his toddler are two “very different” things. During an appearance on the New York Times’“Modern Love” podcast, Badgley read an essay about a father who had to be vulnerable around his sons after experiencing the loss of their mother.

The essay prompted the You actor to speak about the importance of being vulnerable with his own children. “I have an interesting situation where I have a biological son and a stepson,” Badgley told podcast host Anna Martin about his wife Domino Kirke’s son, Cassius Riley. The couple, who were married in 2017, are also parents to a three-year-old son.

“And my stepson is - his father is very much in his life, so his father is his father, and I’m something else. So I have two different kind of parental roles,” Badgley continued. “And then my biological son is only three and a half. So, that’s a very different thing, too. I’m going to need to be able to more consciously show him my vulnerability as he gets older in those years, you know?”

Elsewhere during the podcast, Badgley described a moment in which he was able to bond with his 15-year-old stepson, who he jokingly admitted “doesn’t want to spend that much time” with his parents. The Easy A star recalled how he and Cassius had watched the 2014 sci-fi action film Edge of Tomorrow together, when he suddenly realised how “important” it was to spend that time together.

“Very recently, we had a rare kind of, like, bedtimes - and when you have such an age spread, it’s kind of hard to make time for everybody. And he’s older, and he doesn’t want to spend that much time with us anyway,” Badgley explained.

“So this was like a night, an evening where I was sacrificing sleep after many nights of not much sleep, I think. Our littlest was sick, but it struck me, and I was like: ‘Hey, we need to watch a movie. We are going to watch The Edge of Tomorrow with Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt.’”

The John Tucker Must Die star explained how he was determined they were “going to have a great time together,” though they “didn’t talk that much” during the movie because it was late in the evening.

“And frankly, I was exhausted, and I was like: ‘I’m going to get maybe four or five hours of sleep.’ And whatever. But I just knew it was important,” he continued. “It was like the stars had aligned so that my wife and youngest son were asleep, and I was just like, this is a good time to do this. You’re not going to play video games right now. We’re going to do this.”

Badgley shared that Cassius “loved” the movie, adding: “And you want to talk about Modern Love? One of the ways you got to do that is watch things with people.”

Badgley and Kirke, who works as a doula, have been together since 2014. The two were married at a New York City courthouse in 2017 and welcomed their first child together two years later, after Kirke had suffered from two miscarriages. She shares her son Cassius with former partner and musician Morgan O’Kane.

Last year, Badgley offered fans a rare update about his then two-year-old son during an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. “Well, you know he’s a pandemic kid,” Badgley told Fallon in March 2023. “Anybody who has kids, it’s a joy, it’s an immense - I mean, it’s wild. It’s lovely. It’s great. It’s a challenge. Shoutout to all the parents. Keep going! Keep going, it gets better.”

When asked whether his toddler knows that his father plays serial killer Joe Goldberg in the Netflix drama series You, Badgley explained that his son isn’t entirely aware about his psycho character but he has seen his dad on screen before.

“We’re gonna have to break that one to him,” he jokingly replied.

“There was recently a day where I was doing something really sweet with him, you know, like in my lap,” Badgley added. “And then I sat on the remote and… it just went right to Netflix on the TV, and my face was right on the TV. He was like, ‘Daddy!’”.

“I started to race around because the next thing he was going to see was something really crazy.”