Penn Badgley explains the differences between being a father and a stepfather

Penn Badgeley gets candid about his role as a parent, being both father and stepfather in his marriage to Domino Kirke.

The actor recently sat down for a chat at the New York Times' Modern love podcastand reflected on his role as a father to his three-year-old son – whom he shares with Kirke – and as a stepfather to Kirke's 15-year-old son, Cassius.

“I have an interesting situation where I have a biological son and a stepson,” said Badgley, who tied the knot with Kirke in 2017 after they started dating in 2014.

According to Badgley, when it comes to Cassius, “His father plays a big role in his life – so his father is his father, and I'm something else.”

“So I have two different types of parental roles,” Badgley explained. “My biological son is only three and a half. So that is also something completely different. I have to be able to show him my vulnerability more consciously as he gets older in those years.”

Badgley said that since Cassius is a teenager, he “doesn't want to spend that much time with us anyway.” But that has also made it a challenge to build a bond.

That said, Badgley credited the 2014 sci-fi action epic Tom Cruise Edge of tomorrow to give them a chance to connect.

“I just knew it was important. It was like the stars aligned so that my wife and my youngest son were asleep, and I thought, 'This is a good time to do this! You're not going to play video games now. We're going to do this!'' he recalled. “He loved it.”

As for his marriage to Kirke, Badgley spoke out in February 2023 about how his relationship and his commitment to fidelity led him to ask the showrunner of his hit Netflix drama thriller You to limit his intimate scenes as much as possible.

“I asked Sera Gamble, the show's creator, 'Can I just not do intimacy scenes anymore?' This is actually a decision I had made before I went on the show… I don't think I've ever mentioned it publicly, but it is… one of the most important things is, 'Do I want to put myself out there ?back on a career path where I always play a romantic lead?'' Badgley revealed at the Crushed podcast last year.

“Fidelity in any relationship – and especially in my marriage – is important to me,” he said of doing the scenes. “I said to Sera, 'My desire would be zero – to go from 100 to zero.'”

Badgley acknowledged, “I signed this contract. I signed up for this show. I know what I did. You know, you can't take this aspect out of the DNA of the concept, so, 'How much less can you make of it to make.” ?' was my question to them.”

Fortunately, according to Badgley, Gamble was understanding. 'She didn't even blink. She was really happy that I was so honest, and she was kind of, I would say, almost empowered. She had a really positive response. She appreciated my directness and she appreciated that I was also reasonable and practical.”

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