Badgley grappled with fame even before his time on “Gossip Girl.” By the time he auditioned for the CW series, he was already being recognized for his supporting role in “John Tucker Must Die” as well as his appearances on television staples like “The Twilight Zone” and “The Young and the Restless.” His taste of success made him lose his appetite altogether — in fact, it almost led him to turn the role of Dan Humphrey down.
“I was definitely thinking about not acting after having been in television for already, at that point, eight years — I was 20 years old, I started when I was 12,” Badgley explained in an interview with Josh Horowitz. “So when ‘Gossip Girl’ came around I was like, ‘I don’t know, I really don’t know.’ And in fact, when the role was first offered to me I said very conclusively, just no. Thank you for thinking of me, but like, no, I can’t.”
The actor doesn’t believe in regrets, but he certainly doesn’t think his reservations about “Gossip Girl” were unfounded. For better or for worse, the role had a huge impact on his career. “Post-‘Gossip Girl’ unfortunately one of my greatest concerns was, how am I going to not be known for this and the next 20 years?” he admitted. “And by the way, it’s been 15 years. It’s been 15 years since I made that one decision once.”
As it turns out, it wasn’t “Gossip Girl” that lost Badgley the role of Jesse Pinkman — in fact, it had nothing to do with him.