At 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 21, People broke the story that “lovebirds Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds are nesting.” According to the celebrity gossip magazine, the couple, who met two years ago while filming the underperforming superhero movie Green Lantern, invested in a $2 million house in Bedford, New York, where they’d previously been seen “horseback riding, buying chocolate milk, and dining at the Bedford Post Inn.” Just six months earlier, almost to the day, rumors of their alleged romance began when they were spotted together exiting an apartment in Boston, where he’d been filming a movie about undead cops called R.I.P.D. The media was understandably alarmed: Were they moving too fast? Was Ryan over Scarlett? Hadn’t Blake just split from Leo?
It’s Friday, April 20, just 24 hours before websites like E! Online will start gleefully and painstakingly scrutinizing the “real deal behind this new real estate,” and Lively is understandably distracted—but not by mortgages or headlines. “Oh my gosh!” she squeals from the backseat of a hired car that’s speeding through the California desert en route to Los Angeles, where she’s meeting her best friend Blair (yes, that’s right) for dinner. “I’m sorry for screaming. We’re passing this really grungy barbecue place that has sawdust on the floor. I’m really excited. Okay, phew. I’m so sorry, but they have really good garlic bread.” The 24-year-old actor, whose starring role on The CW’s Gossip Girl turned her into an overnight tabloid sensation and a fashion icon, has just wrapped her third and final day on the set of a still-undisclosed fragrance commercial, which was directed by Drive auteur Nicolas Winding Refn. “He was my first choice,” she says with the pleased smile of someone who’s grown used to getting what she wants.
And for the most part, she does. In 2008, during an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman to plug the first season of Gossip Girl, Lively revealed that she’d been harboring a crush on Leonardo DiCaprio since childhood. Last summer, she was photographed off the coast of Monte Carlo, on Steven Spielberg’s private yacht, with the Titanic heartthrob, who was her boyfriend for five months until they split in October. In 2010, she recorded a video interview in celebration of IMDb’s 20th anniversary, during which she gushed over Baz Luhrmann’s “fantastical” films. Eight months later, the acclaimed filmmaker had written a flattering piece about Lively for that year’s edition of the Time 100: The Most Influential People in the World, amid rumors that she’d been tapped to play Daisy Buchanan in his adaptation of The Great Gatsby. (The part eventually went to Carey Mulligan.) In July 2010, Lively accompanied American Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour to Haute Couture Week in Paris, where she was invited to tour the atelier of exalted shoe designer Christian Louboutin. Lively gasped when he showed her a high-heeled, rainbow-colored sandal with seven straps. “Do you love it?” he asked. “I want to sleep with it under my pillow every night!” she replied. By February 2011, “The Blake” hit stores across the world. During a September 2010 appearance on Live with Regis and Kelly, she raved about the bakery chain Sprinkles Cupcakes and wished they’d franchise into New York. Last December, she was photographed at Sprinkles’ first Manhattan outpost holding a tray of S’mores cupcakes (graham cracker–lined dark chocolate cake and ganache with toasted marshmallow frosting), which she had baked for charity; they have since been added to the confectioner’s regular menu. So, yes, you could say that Lively has led a pretty charmed existence. But that was before she met Oliver Stone.