One of Hollywood’s most beloved couples, Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, seem to have a perfectly-balanced relationship—particularly when they take turns lovingly roasting each other on social media. The pair began dating in 2011 and were married about a year later. That might seem fast, but they’d been friends for a while and could simply no longer deny the chemistry between them.
More than a decade later, Lively and Reynolds remain happily married and share three daughters—James, Inez, and Betty—and their fourth baby, whose name and gender haven’t been shared yet.
Here, the complete history of Lively and Reynolds’ love story.
Lively and Reynolds met through work. The two starred in the superhero movie Green Lantern but didn’t date at the time. They both were actually in other relationships. Lively was dating her Gossip Girl co-star Penn Badgley, while Reynolds was married to Scarlett Johansson, a future on-screen superhero herself. They did appear together for the first time during Comic-Con in San Diego in 2010, preceding the film’s release.
A few months later, Badgley and Lively split after three years together but supposedly remained friends.
A source told Us Weekly, “They’re professionals. They’re still good friends and hang out on the set.”
They did not publicize the news of their break up right away, however.
At the end of that same year, Reynolds and Johansson released a joint statement to People confirming they were separating, which read, “After long and careful consideration on both our parts, we’ve decided to end our marriage. We entered our relationship with love, and it’s with love and kindness we leave it. While privacy isn’t expected, it’s certainly appreciated.”
Reynolds filed for divorce a few weeks later in December.
Lively and Reynolds walked the red carpet premiere of Green Lantern in Hollywood on June 15, 2011. There were still no rumors of a romance, and Lively was actually romantically linked to Leonardo DiCaprio. Lively and DiCaprio were first photographed together in Cannes, France that May, and then spent the summer together. But it was a brief fling, and E! reported they ended things when the season changed.
But with fall came new love. People reported that Lively and Reynolds were dating shortly before Halloween, when she was seen exiting his apartment in Boston at the crack of dawn after his birthday weekend. A source told People at the time that the two are “very much a couple,” and “they’re really happy together.”
By Christmas time, Lively was already familiar with Reynolds’ family, visiting his hometown of Vancouver in late December. Paparazzi caught a shot of them holding hands while walking in the streets between family time.
In the new year, PopSugar reported the pair went to New Orleans to Reynolds’ private home for a romantic getaway.
The couple were back in Vancouver in the spring, PopSugar reported. They also ferried to Nanaimo, British Columbia, to meet with Reynolds’ brother.
On September 9, 2012, Lively and Reynolds got married during a small secret ceremony with friends and family. The bride wore a couture gown designed by Marchesa, and Reynolds was in a classic Burberry suit.
“When Ryan first saw her, his face broke into a huge smile that crinkled his eyes,” a source told People. “They just stared at each other with absolute love. Their faces were lit up with the candlelight, and it looked like something out of a romance movie.”
The couple have since apologized for holding their event at Boone Hall in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. Boone Hall is a former plantation, and wedding on one is generally viewed as distasteful and offensive given the site’s history.
Reynolds said in an August 2020 interview with Fast Company, “It’s something we’ll always be deeply and unreservedly sorry for. It’s impossible to reconcile. What we saw at the time was a wedding venue on Pinterest. What we saw after was a place built upon devastating tragedy. Years ago, we got married again at home—but shame works in weird ways. A giant f*cking mistake like that can either cause you to shut down or it can reframe things and move you into action. It doesn’t mean you won’t f*ck up again. But repatterning and challenging lifelong social conditioning is a job that doesn’t end.”
Just after their marriage, Lively told Allure, “Right now, I’m so peaceful. I’ve never been happier in my life,” she said. It was also her first mention of a family since her marriage.
“I’ve always wanted a big family,” she told outlet, answering a question about how many kids she wants with, “Oh, I’d love 30 if I could.”
The pair went to Paris for a little PDA, according to some Daily Mail photographs.
The pair appeared on the red carpet together for the first time since getting married, attending The Sound of Change Live concert at Twickenham Stadium in London.
For Lucky magazine’s September cover, Lively opened up about how marriage was influencing her personal style. Not at all!
“I was recently asked how my style has changed since I got married, as if I was living under some sort of dictatorship,” she claimed. “I should hope I dress differently at 25 than I did when I graduated high school. I hope I never stop changing.”
But she admitted that Reynolds does influence her in some ways.
“I’m very lucky to be with someone who has better taste than me. We influence each other in different ways. With film and TV, you don’t see the results for months. Building a home, you get immediate gratification.”
The couple attended the A Funny Thing Happened On the Way To Cure Parkinson’s event benefiting The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research in New York City. Reynolds lost his father to Parkinsons, so the event is close to his heart.
Lively and Reynolds attended their first Met Gala together on May 1, 2014, in New York City, wearing Gucci.
Lively told Vogue that summer that she and Reynolds live in one another’s pockets.
“Everything we do in life, we do together,” she said. “He’s going to be a great father and leader and patriarch—he’s so meant to be all of those things.”
She spoke about children again in the September issue of Marie Claire, saying, “He’s my best, best friend. What do you do with your best friend? You do nothing. If I could spit out a litter of kids, I would.”
On her lifestyle website Preserve, Lively announced she was expecting her first child with Reynolds, sharing a maternity photo.
Lively gave birth to her eldest daughter James in December 2014, though they did not initially share James’ name or gender.
A source told Us Weekly in earlier January, “The baby came early but everyone is happy and healthy.”
The big name reveal came from Reynolds during an interview on the Today Show.
“It’s James. Everyone knows. I didn’t want to be the first guy screaming it out to the media,” he said. “Because as we know, little girls turn into teenage girls and little teenage girls sometimes scan through the archives and go, ‘Why did you do that?’”
A couple months later, Reynolds shared a photo of baby James’ hand. He captioned it, “Thumb wrestling isn’t always fair. Curiously, my hand is the small one.”
The couple began to get more goofy on social media in the following years, and that Chirstmas, Reynolds shared a present from his wife on Instagram with the caption, “Mrs @blakelively had this made by AdoraWools. Nothing says ‘I love you’ like a felt #Deadpool, holding a chimichanga while riding a Unicorn dressed in ass-less leather chaps. Amaright fellas?”
In February 2016, Reynolds’ massive hit Deadpool premiered, and the couple walked the red carpet event together, their first major appearance since having a kid.
While at the amFar New York Gala a few days later, Reynolds Entertainment Weekly that his first date with Lively was actually a double date because they were just “buddies.”
He said, “About a year after Green Lantern had come and gone, and we were both single we went on a double date–she was on a date with another guy, and I was on a date with another girl and it was like the most awkward date for the respective parties because we were just like fireworks coming across.”
Lively and Reynolds looked stunning State Dinner at the White House in Washington, D.C.
Moving towards Lively’s joke goal of 30 children, Us Weekly reported the couple were expecting their second child in April 2016. Lively was filming The Shallows at the time, and photos from set show her small baby bump.
Lively told Marie Claire that she knew Reynolds “would always be my best friend for my whole life” in a July 2016 cover story.
She continued, “I’d never known anything like the friendship that I had with him. I could like him as much as I loved him.”
When asked what she was protective of, she replied,“My family: That’s the thing that I feel most protective of and the thing that I feel is the most exposed when I feel exploited. Ryan had a nice, normal upbringing, and we want our kids to have the same normal life that we had. We don’t ever want to rob them of what we had, because we’d feel really selfish.”
Their second child is born that September, as Page Six reported at the time. Once again, they keep their second daughter’s name under wraps until Us Weekly revealed it to be Inez several months later.
During an interview for GQ’s December cover, Reynolds was asked when he knew Lively was the one.
“Probably after the sex,” he joked. “No, we were hanging out at this little restaurant in Tribeca that’s open really late, and this song came on, and I was just like, ‘Want to dance?’ No one was in there, so it was just totally empty. And it was just one of those moments where halfway through the dance, it was like, ‘Oh, I think I just crossed a line.’ And then I walked her home. And, uh, you know, I don’t really need to go into what happened after that.”
When asked if he remembered what the special song was, he answered, “I do, but I’m not gonna say. You’re shut out.”
The two girls made their red carpet debut with their parents when Reynolds was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Once again, Reynolds and Lively attended the Met Gala looking fabulous in New York City.
Lively and Reynolds are busy parents and busy actors, but they balance their hectic schedule.
“My husband and I don’t work at the same time, so we all go together as a family,” she told People. “If we’re away as a family, it’s never more than for a day. We stay together.” And the kids go on set.
She added, “I’m not in an office where I can’t do that, so she’s either with me or when I’m shooting a scene, she’s one room away. If she really needs me, I can pop over there.”
Reynolds celebrated Valentine’s Day by sharing a photo of a delicious cake he made, joking the icing was glue in the caption. It was for his wife, of course.
Now on year seven together, rumors surfaced that the couple might not be getting along too well, but Reynolds cleared things up by tweeting, “I wish. I could use a little ‘me time.’”
While promoting Lively’s new movie A Simple Favor, Reynolds teased his wife for answers to the film’s mysteries on Twitter, and she answered, “Oh darling, of all the secrets I’m keeping from you, this should be the LEAST of your concerns… trust me.”
For the red carpet premiere of Reynolds’ project Detective Pikachu, the pair also premiered their new pregnancy. Lively wore a stunning yellow gown that showed off her figure and their expectation of a third child.
In October 2019, Lively and Reynolds welcomed their third child, a daughter named Betty, though her name wasn’t revealed for quite a while—until it appeared on their friend Taylor Swift’s album folklore.
Taylor Swift loves to drop Easter eggs in her projects, and her fans guessed that when they heard the names James and Inez, the third baby’s name must be somewhere in the lyrics of folklore track “Betty.” Indeed, Betty is the title of the song about fictional characters named after all three of Reynolds and Lively’s daughters at that point.
“She said ‘James, get in, let’s drive,’” Swift sings, and, “You heard the rumors from Inez / You can’t believe a word she says.”
Canadian-born Reynolds got his American citizenship shortly before the 2020 elections, and the couple voted early together. Lively shared a photo of herself with him, writing in the caption, “It was Ryan’s first time. He was understandably scared. It all happened so fast. Like, REALLY fast. He wept. I pretended to weep. Then he called all his friends.”
Reynolds tells Access Hollywood that he loves “being a girl dad.”
“I try to be as present as possible. I shoot movies, and my wife shoots movies, and we go travel all over the place, and we just all go together,” he said. “I think that that’s been the best part of it. We really don’t spend a lot of time apart. I get to spend a lot of time with my girls.”
He added, “I come from all boys. I have three older brothers. So for me to have three daughters has been such a ride, and I love every second of it.”
The couple shared on Instagram that they were getting their COVID-19 vaccinations.
Reynolds wished his wife a happy Mother’s Day with a photo of them cuddled up together, writing in the caption that Lively was the “heart and soul of every moment their family shares.”
Reynolds shared more about how he made the first move on Lively while on SmartLess podcast. He recalled how when he and Lively met up in Boston, their friendship became something “out of a fairy tale.”
“I met Blake on the darkest crease in the anus of the universe called Green Lantern,” he joked. “We were friends and buddies, and about a year and a half later, we went on a double date, but we were dating separate people.”
He and Lively had “always kind of kept in touch sort of casually.”
“Next thing you know, she was going to Boston, I was going to Boston and I said, ‘Well, I’ll ride with you.’ We got on the train and we rode together. I was just begging her to sleep with me,” he claimed.
When asked what his big move was, he said, “I would use a little bit of tear stick so I could get the tears kind of rolling…then I would tell a little sob story about my life.”
In August, the couple walked the red carpet together for the premiere of Reynolds’ video game movie Free Guy, with Lively wearing Prabal Gurung dress and Lorraine Schwartz jewels.
“We thought it was pretty damn amazing. We still do,” he said. “I still walk down the street and shake my head thinking, ‘I can’t believe that happened.’”
He continued, “The names are the names of our kids. We trust [Taylor] implicitly. She’s very sensitive to any of that stuff.”
Reynolds also explained that the song “has nothing to do with our kids other than our kids’ names.”
The couple were “surprised,” and they had “no idea” until they listened to the song the first time.
Reynolds shared more about how he and Lively keep their romance alive after a decade together in an interview with Entertainment Tonight. The secret ingredient is friendship.
“We don’t take each other too seriously, but we’re also friends,” he said. “Falling in love is great, but do you like each other? That’s kinda the question you gotta ask yourself, you know, going into it. We’ve always liked each other. We grow together. We learn from each other. So yeah, I’m lucky to have a buddy in that.”
Speaking of friendships, the pair celebrated Taylor Swift’s musical guest spot on Saturday Night Live that month. They were joined by Swift’s ex Joe Jonas, his wife Sophie Turner, and Selena Gomez. The group attened the SNL afterparty at L’Avenue.
The next day, Swift dropped a teaser for new video for “I Bet You Think About Me (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault),” which was directed by Lively.
“SURPRISE! NEW MUSIC VIDEO TOMORROW at 10am ET,” Swift announced on her Instagram. “I finally got to work with the brilliant, brave, & wickedly funny @blakelively on her directorial debut. Join us as we raise a toast, and a little hell.”
After a busy year, Reynolds said he’d be taking a break from acting to be more available to his family in an interview with LinkedIn News Senior Editor at Large Jessi Hempel.
“I want my kids to have a pretty normal schedule,” he explained. “For many years when my wife Blake would shoot a film, I would not shoot a film and I would be with the kids and vice versa. So we would sort of trade off. We never really worked at the same time. But always we were away. So the kids were away too.”
He continued, “Now that they’re in school, they have a somewhat normal schedule. I think it’s totally important for their development, and I really enjoy being a present dad. I love taking them to school in the morning; I love picking them up.”
The couple were seen out on a casual date in New York City on January 24, bundled up for a cozy day on the town.
Reynolds shared a picture of himself on the beach in matching blue pajamas, holding a white mug and smiling, which he credited to his wife on Instagram. It offered a little glimpse into their married life.
After many years of being attendees, the couple were co-chairs of the Met Gala in 2022, where the theme of the night was “Gilded Glamour.” Lively wore a crown and a custom Atelier Versace dress, and Reynolds wore a black tuxedo.
A video of Reynolds’ reacting to seeing Lively in her outfit for the first time went viral on @21MetGala’s Twitter, and it’s pretty adorable.
To celebrate Lively’s birthday on August 25, Reynolds posted a TikTok of him and Mariah Carey, writing, “My favorite thing that’s ever happened on August 25th.”
The couple announced that they were expecting a fourth child when Lively stepped out for the Forbes Power Women’s Summit, where she was being honored, and her pregnancy was very evident.
To get the paparazzi off her back, Lively shared her own pregnancy photos on Instagram as well.
“Here are photos of me pregnant in real life so the 11 guys waiting outside my home for a 🦄 sighting will leave me alone,” she wrote. “You freak me and my kids out. Thanks to everyone else for all the love and respect and for continuing to unfollow accounts and publications who share photos of children. You have all the power against them. And thank you to the media who have a ‘No Kids Policy’. You all make all the difference 🙏♥️. Much love! Xxb.”
For the holiday, Reynolds released a new version of the classic tale A Christmas Carol with comedian Will Ferrell, a musical title Spirited. The actor shared one of his much-needed choreography lessons on Instagram, joking, “You’ve got to be willing to be bad at something if you want to be… slightly less bad at it? Here’s Will and I proving that point!”
Reynolds might not have thought much of his moves, but Lively was all over it.
“Can you get pregnant while pregnant??” she asked in the comments section.
Reynolds took the time during his People’s Choice Award speech to gush about his family, after giving a thanks to his “work family.”
“I’ve got to thank my family family,” he said, via Buzzfeed. “Blake and my three daughters. It’s going to be a fourth child very soon. If it happens tonight, while I’m here, I will be looking for a couch to sleep on for a little while. I’d venture to guess that [People’s Choice Award performer] Shania Twain has an amazing couch, I’m just saying.”
“But Blake and my girls, you are quite literally my heart,” he continued. “You are my hope, you are my happiness. I joke that my family exhaust me, but in reality, you give me more strength than any man could possibly deserve.”
In December, Reynolds also posted a photo of meeting Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus.
“We met Jessica Claus and her husband on the Polar Express. She was everything I’d always dreamed since I was a kid. She smelled like cinnamon buns and sangria. 🎄,” he captioned it.
On January 2, Lively shared another pregnancy pic for her fans.
Her other big news for the month was that she’d been cast as red-headed Lily in the film adaptation of Colleen Hoover’s mega hit It Ends With Us. After Deadline reported her casting, Lively posted an Instagram Story of herself with red hair, set to Smashing Pumpkin’s song “Lily (My One and Only).”
Baby #4 arrived…although the child’s name, gender, and birth date were kept private. Lively subtly revealed during Super Bowl Sunday that she had given birth to their newest addition when she shared a photo of herself visibly not pregnant.
Reynolds discussed how he and Lively were doing in mid-February, declining to share the child’s gender during an interview with CNBC’s Power Lunch. “We’re very excited,” Reynolds said. “Look, we wouldn’t do this four times if we didn’t love it. Everybody’s doing great. Everybody’s actually doing fantastic. If we hadn’t figured it out by now, I think we’d be in deep, deep trouble.”
Lively shared a look at her husband’s summer physique—and made headlines for the “extra spicy” commentary she added to the photo. It marked a rare moment of public flirting for the pair.
Aimée Lutkin is the weekend editor at ELLE.com. Her writing has appeared in Jezebel, Glamour, Marie Claire and more. Her first book, The Lonely Hunter, will be released by Dial Press in February 2022.