The Truth About Leighton Meester And Ed Westwick's Relationship

For as long as the original "Gossip Girl" was on the air, Leighton Meester and Ed Westwick epitomized the very idea of a tempestuous relationship through their characters, Blair Waldorf and Chuck Bass, respectively. But what was the actors' off-screen relationship really like?

From dreaming up schemes together, to plotting one another's downfalls, to that time Blair left an actual prince to be with Chuck — and, of course, their iconic "three words, eight letters" line — Meester and Westwick brought to life the kind of passionate relationship that, while possibly not healthy, certainly kept viewers rooting for them (and on the edge of their seats). It should come as no surprise, then, that "Gossip Girl" fans are curious to know if that same tumultuous dynamic played out between the actors on set.

So, were Ed Westwick and Leighton Meester really as at odds with one another like their on-screen counterparts? This is the truth about their real-life relationship.

Ed Westwick says they had 'great chemistry'

In February 2022, Ed Westwick took to fellow "Gossip Girl" alum (and real-life ex-girlfriend!) Jessica Szohr's podcast — aptly called "XOXO with Jessica Szohr" — to talk about his time on the show. Needless to say, his relationship with on-screen love interest Leighton Meester came up during the chat, with Westwick noting that he and Meester "just had this great chemistry."

While surely no one who has seen the show is shocked to learn that, it turns out their chemistry was so strong that it completely changed the trajectory of their characters. "You get an actor like Ed Westwick and see the chemistry he had with Leighton Meester, and their scenes just crackled," "Gossip Girl" co-creator Josh Schwartz told Vulture in 2016. As Chuck Bass was initially the villain of the piece, Schwartz and his co-writers used the connection between the actors as a jumping off point to explore new dimensions of character and new plot angles not present in the "Gossip Girl" source novels.

"Here are two people who are bonded by their mutual scheming and the dark side of the show," Schwartz added, "and that would naturally evolve into a romantic relationship. One that was fraught and often conflict-laden, but ultimately romantic and fulfilling for both the characters and the audience. They came into the show as very different kinds of roles, but the chemistry between them took over." By the end of the series, of course, this TV couple's love affair would become synonymous with the very essence of "Gossip Girl."

The Gossip Girl actor misses Leighton Meester 'dearly'

Much like Chuck Bass was known to say of Blair Waldorf throughout the six-season run of "Gossip Girl," Ed Westwick told Jessica Szohr's "XOXO" podcast that he believed Leighton Meester "probably made [him] better." Of their "great chemistry," he also noted, "We used to make each other laugh and I felt protective over her at times."

While "Gossip Girl" came to an end in 2012, the impact of Westwick and Meester's characters on pop culture lives on, so it's no surprise that Westwick has been very forthcoming about his admiration for his former co-star. On top of gushing over her talents as an actor and revealing that their time working together "felt special," Westwick admitted to missing her "dearly." However, that's not to say that their chemistry should hint at a romantic encounter between the two. While Westwick explained that Meester "found a vulnerability in that character that made it very easy for [his] character to fall in love with," theirs was a platonic relationship. "I'm not saying I was in love with Leighton, but it [never felt] forced."

Meester seems to agree, telling The K-magazine in 2013 that their relationship was deeply fulfilling, but strictly professional. "Ed is such a great person to work with, always so funny but with such talent," Meester said, adding that it's "enjoyable to be around him."

Ed Westwick may have been 'madly in love' with her

But perhaps Ed Westwick's feelings about Leighton Meester have merely evolved. The actor's comments to the media in the years after "Gossip Girl" ended strike a much different tone than Westwick's statements when he was actively working with Meester. 

In a January 2012 interview with E! News, Westwick revealed the source of his on-screen rapport with Meester. "I'm madly in love with Leighton, so that's what helps on my behalf, maybe so much that she doesn't even have to be in love with me. I love enough, she's mine," he said, hinting at romantic feelings that were seemingly not reciprocated. "But she is a remarkable talent and there is just sometimes you can't put thing into words with connections or sparks when you're acting with someone. We've got the right pairing, I guess," Westwick said, walking things back a tad.

During a Q&A session in 2021 at Monopoly Events' Comic Con in Liverpool, Westwick again fielded questions about the exact nature of his relationship with Meester, and he again suggested that some of Chuck Bass' adoration for Blair Waldorf seeped into his heart as affection for his co-star. "It's hard not to fall in love with Leighton — like, have a part of me fall in love with her, you know?" he said (via Us Weekly). "She's amazing."

He sent well wishes to Leighton Meester and her husband

In 2007, right around the same time that she'd meet her on-screen romantic interest for the ages in Ed Westwick, "Gossip Girl" star Leighton Meester also met her future husband. According to the "Unqualified" podcast (via Us Weekly), show co-creator Josh Schwartz took the cast of the brand-new show out for a meal in Los Angeles and ran into Adam Brody, star of Schwartz's other show, the just-wrapped teen drama "The O.C." While Meester and Brody would later work together on the film "The Oranges" in 2011, they started dating in 2013, marrying less than a year later in February 2014.

Us Weekly reported that the wedding was a surprise, low-key affair, and so few people knew about it beforehand — including, it would seem, Westwick. In March 2014, the actor told the outlet that when he found out his old co-worker got married, he sent a text of congratulations, despite seemingly having mixed feelings about the matter. "It's not my life," Westwick said, referring to the somewhat hasty nature of the wedding. "I love her. I think she's fantastic, and she's a good friend of mine. And whatever she does I wish her all the best."