A Deep Dive Into Taylor Momsen's Troubled Life Post Gossip Girl

The following article includes mention of suicide and substance abuse. 

For many OG "Gossip Girl" fans, Taylor Momsen will forever be Jenny Humphrey, sister to Penn Badgley's Dan Humphrey and arch-rival to Leighton Meester's Blair Waldorf. However, more than a decade since the show wrapped, the actor-turned-singer has faced a ton of heartache — some of which took her to a very dark place. 

As Momsen explained in an interview on Badgley's podcast, "Podcrushed," she was just 12 years old when she shot the pilot for "Gossip Girl," though she'd already been an actor for most of her life. In light of that, when she was cast in "Gossip Girl," she was fairly over acting altogether. Nevertheless, she joined the cast, which certainly came with some perks, and as she pointed out in an interview at The 92nd Street Y, New York, it was a great experience. 

Even so, after a few years on the show, she was determined to pursue her real passion: music. Luckily for Momsen, the creators of "Gossip Girl" found a way to write her out of episodes, meaning she was able to do just that without any contract disputes. However, that's not to say everything was smooth sailing from then onward. 

After losing two loved ones in quick succession, Momsen has had a lot of sadness to contend with in the years since she walked away from "Gossip Girl." In fact, speaking to Badgley and his co-hosts, she explained that the traumas she endured almost saw her walk away from music as well. 

Taylor Momsen lost two friends in the space of a year

As soon as she left "Gossip Girl," Taylor Momsen threw herself into touring with her band, The Pretty Reckless. As she told Elle at the time during a 2011 interview, that was her goal for the foreseeable future. "Hopefully I'll be able to only do that for the rest of my life," she told the outlet. For several years, she made good on that — but then, in May 2017, disaster struck. 

As she recounted in an interview with Metro, while The Pretty Reckless was on tour with Soundgarden — one of her all-time favorite bands — the band's lead singer, Chris Cornell died by suicide. Momsen was heartbroken, to say the least, and ended up putting touring on hold. 

As if that wasn't difficult enough, mere months later, just as Momsen was beginning to feel like herself again, she suffered another loss. Kato Khandwala, her best friend and The Pretty Reckless' longtime producer, was killed in a motorcycle accident. Speaking of her mental state in the wake of two such major blows, Momsen told Metro that she began taking substances, and didn't believe she'd get through the pain. "I'd given up on everything at that point — I wasn't sure if I wanted to make music again," she recounted. 

Especially alarming, for Momsen, was the fact that she didn't just want to stop making music: She couldn't bear to hear it, either. Given just how passionate she'd always been about music, it was yet another major loss.

Making new music helped Taylor Momsen process her grief

Despite trying to avoid music, it was precisely that which ended up helping Taylor Momsen get through the thick of her trauma. As she explained in her "Podcrushed" interview, she eventually got to a point where she started writing again. Granted, she hadn't done so with the expectation of turning any of her words into lyrics. "I just kind of let the floodgates open about what I was going through, and wrote this record called 'Death by Rock 'n Roll,'" she said. 

Despite her initial aversions to listening to music, let alone making it, Momsen decided it was the only thing that would help her not just process her grief but honor both Chris Cornell and Kato Khandwala's memories. It was also a crucial next step for her, personally. "I had to make a very conscious decision at some point, where I was either going to die, or I was going to move forward," she said. 

That's not to say Momsen believes she'll ever really completely heal from the losses, though. As she told Metro, the best she could ask for was to get to a point where she'd learn how to incorporate the pain into her daily life. 

Momsen has certainly dealt with a ton of trauma, since leaving "Gossip Girl." Thankfully, she's been able to use her music career to navigate some of what she's gone through, but here's hoping for less heartbreak, going forward. 

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