- Taylor Momsen, the actress who played Jenny Humphrey on Gossip Girl, left the show after season 5 to pursue her music career with her rock band The Pretty Reckless.
- The show’s team accommodated Momsen’s decision by writing her character out of the show, allowing her to go on tour and follow her dream.
- The original Gossip Girl series had a successful run and continued to have a lasting legacy, with a recent reboot launching in 2021, although it was ultimately canceled after two seasons.
Taylor Momsen, the actress behind Gossip Girl‘s teen fashion designer, has spoken out on her decision to leave the show after season 5. Originally airing in 2007 on The CW, Gossip Girl follows a group of wealthy Manhattanite students who progress through high school amid the pressure of an unknown gossip blogger. Featuring Hollywood staples such as Blake Lively, the show also stars Penn Badgley and Momsen as Dan and Jenny Humphrey. At just 14 years old when the show premiered, Momsen was the youngest member of the cast.
During an episode of the Badgley-hosted podcast Podcrushed, Momsen shared that as she matured, she realized she did not have to pursue the acting career she “got put into at two years old.”
Rather, she could continue performing in The Pretty Reckless rock band she founded two years after Gossip Girl premiered. Although she noted there were some complications regarding her Gossip Girl contract, the show’s team was overall accommodating and agreed to write Momsen out of the show. See Momsen’s full statement below:
“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?’ Granted, a little more complicated to get out of a television show than that, but the answer was yes.
They 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.’ They really allowed me to follow my dream, and I’m forever grateful and thankful to them for that.”
Gossip Girl’s Continued Legacy
After Momsen departed in season 5, the show could continue for another season, concluded in 2012 with its stars moving on to other major productions. Badgley, for instance, stars in Netflix’s psychological thriller You and will make his final appearance as Joe Goldberg on You season 5. Perhaps the biggest mark of the original Gossip Girl‘s success, however, is the HBO reboot that launched nine years after the series finale.
While Momsen or another of the original cast members reprised their roles for the reboot, the 2021 Gossip Girl series still elicited substantial viewership for HBO Max. Following CW’s concept, the show exists in a world 10 years post Gossip Girl’s shutdown, with a new gossiper operating through an Instagram account.
Although the reboot’s premiere increased traffic to HBO Max, the show could not achieve the success of the original and was canceled in 2023 after two seasons. Perhaps finding a dynamic rivaling that of the Humphrey siblings was no easy task. Nevertheless, both the original and Gossip Girl reboot are still available to stream on Max.