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Taylor Momsen Reflects on Her 'Complicated' Choice to Leave 'Gossip Girl': 'It Was Like a Light Bulb Went Off'

Momsen recalled how she "uprooted and changed" her life "overnight" when she decided to exit 'Gossip Girl' in its third season

<p>Dominik Bindl/Getty </p> Taylor Momsen attends the Frederick Anderson show during New York Fashion Week: The Shows at Prince George Ballroom on February 15, 2023

Dominik Bindl/Getty

Taylor Momsen attends the Frederick Anderson show during New York Fashion Week: The Shows at Prince George Ballroom on February 15, 2023

Taylor Momsen is looking back at her decision to leave Gossip Girl.

On the latest episode of her former costar Penn Badgley’s SiriusXM podcast Podcrushed, Momsen, who starred as Jenny Humphrey in Gossip Girl, reflected on her choice to depart The CW series during its third season.

“It was a childhood thing that I got put into at two years old. I wasn’t making my own choices then,” she said of her acting career in the interview, which was recorded before the SAG-AFTRA strike. “Literally, as soon as I got to an age where I could make my own decisions, it was like a click… I woke up one morning and went, ‘Wait a second. I don’t have to do this? I don’t have to do this other job? I can just play in my band and tour and write songs? I can just do that?’”

<p>Bobby Bank/WireImage</p> Taylor Momsen on location for "Gossip Girl" on September 30, 2008

Bobby Bank/WireImage

Taylor Momsen on location for "Gossip Girl" on September 30, 2008

Related: Taylor Momsen Says She Was 'Made Fun of Relentlessly' as a Kid for 'Grinch' Role: 'It Was Alienating'

She continued, “Granted, [it was] a little more complicated to get out of a television show than that, but the answer was yes. Like, you can just do that. I have the ability to create my life how I want to live it. … It was like a light bulb went off.”

Momsen, 30, also recalled how producers reacted after learning of her desire to pursue her music career.

“I uprooted and changed my life overnight,” she explained. “[Production] went, ‘Well, we can’t let you out of your deal, but we can write you out of the show, so you can go on tour. You can’t act in anything else, though.’”

<p>Cw Network/Kobal/Shutterstock</p> Penn Badgley and Taylor Momsen on 'Gossip Girl'

Cw Network/Kobal/Shutterstock

Penn Badgley and Taylor Momsen on 'Gossip Girl'

Related: Taylor Momsen on Touring the World, Why Her Dad's Her 'Biggest Fan' – and Whom She's in Touch with from 'Gossip Girl'

She shared that she was “fine” with the agreement from producers of the show, adding, “They really allowed me to follow my dream, and I’m forever grateful and thankful to them for that."'

After exiting Gossip Girl in its third season, The Pretty Reckless frontwoman later returned for the season 4 episode "Easy J" and for a brief cameo in the 2012 series finale.

The interview marked the first time Momsen had reunited with Badgley, 36, since the show’s final episode over a decade ago. However, Badgley has defended Momsen against rumors about her offscreen behavior, telling Hollywood Life in 2010 that "teenagers go through what they’re going to go through."

Editorial use only. No book cover usage. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Andrew Eccles/Cw Network/Kobal/Shutterstock; Inset: The CW Penn Badgley, Ed Westwick, Taylor Momsen, Blake Lively, Chace Crawford, Leighton Meester
Editorial use only. No book cover usage. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Andrew Eccles/Cw Network/Kobal/Shutterstock; Inset: The CW Penn Badgley, Ed Westwick, Taylor Momsen, Blake Lively, Chace Crawford, Leighton Meester

Related: 'Gossip Girl' Reunion! Penn Badgley Teases Catch-Up with TV Sister Taylor Momsen for His Podcast

"It just so happens that she's in the eye of the press, and I think that's unfortunate because everyone should be allowed to make their mistakes," he said at the time. "I think it's like, she's 17. Give her time. She's a really sweet girl, very smart, very talented. She's just growing up."

Badgley told Momsen that he has fond memories of working with her on the teen drama series, which ran for six seasons from 2007 to 2012.

“I just remember our scenes being really nice because there was an actual family vibe,” he shared on Podcrushed. “Especially as a father now — I have a 14-year-old and a 2-and-a-half-year-old — so, like, [Taylor’s] presence brought what I get now as a father … which is when you bring in children, it just brings something very positive to a space.”

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New episodes of Podcrushed arrive Wednesdays on SiriusXM and other podcast streaming platforms. All six seasons of Gossip Girl are available to stream on Max.

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