Penn Badgley and Domino Kirke: A Celebrity Couple on the Rise

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Penn Badgley and Domino Kirke have managed to stay fairly under the radar despite their circumstances. Despite Penn Badgley’s world renown, his feet seem firmly planted on the ground. Part of the reason for this is his beautiful wife, singer and doula Domino Kirke.

Penn Badgley’s Career

Penn Badgley was born November 1, 1986, in Baltimore, Maryland and raised between Washington and Virginia. His father was a carpenter, newspaper reporter, and Green Party candidate for Governor of Washington. His mother was the PTA president of one of his schools in Washington and later became a jewelry designer. As a child, Penn moved from school to school. His parents divorced when he was twelve, which is around the same time he decided that he wanted to become a musician. Penn was also involved in children’s theatre from a young age, an endeavor that his mother supported by taking up various jobs.

After testing out of high school at age 14 and beginning studies at Santa Monica College, Badgley intended to transfer to UCLA. By that time, he had already committed to various acting jobs. He deferred from UCLA and later studied for two years at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon.

Penn Badgley had his first acting credit in 1999, at the young age of 13. He appeared in one episode of Will & Grace. That same year, he did voice work for the Mario Golf video game, further working with Nintendo as the voice actor for the 2000 game, Mario Tennis.

Penn also loves music. He is the leader of an indie pop band called MOTHXR.

Badgley Was a Star by the Time He Was 21

Despite moving around, Badgley managed to continuously land acting roles throughout his entire career. Notably, he starred as Dan Humphrey in the TV series Gossip Girl from 2007 to 2012. Most recently, he played (and continues to play) Joe Goldberg in the TV show You. Badgley also produced 10 episodes of You in 2021 as well as Moth, a short film released in 2009. He has received 19 prestigious nominations for his roles in a variety of works including Gossip Girl and You and was awarded 3 times so far.

Penn Badgley has always been a favorite among teen audiences, a metric that is shown in how many times he’s been nominated by the Teen Choice Awards (8). Buddy TV listed him as one of TV’s 100 Sexiest Men in 2011 and People named him one of “25 Beauties (and Hotties) at 25” in 2011.

The Gone Girl actor has been romantically linked to Blake Lively and Zoë Kravitz. Despite his gorgeous features and propensity to charm women around the world, Penn certainly doesn’t seem like he’s had to try very hard. He told Elle that he was oblivious to whether or not girls found him attractive when he was younger.

“I didn’t start to understand my own appeal to women until later,” he said, adding that he doesn’t even know what the appeal is.

It’s obviously something, because Penn found himself with a woman who seems to be a modern-day goddess.

Domino Kirke’s Career

Domino Kirke (Kirke-Badgley) was born on December 17, 1983, in London, England. Her father, Simon Kirke was a drummer and musician and he taught Domino music from a young age. She was a classically trained vocalist from age 9. Domino moved around a lot as a child due to her father’s tour schedule with his rock bands, Free and Bad Company.

Domino moved to New York City along with her family, where she studied voice and piano. She told W Magazine that, despite all the moving around, “in every house we ever had, there was always a piano.” She added that there was always a stream of musicians in and out of their houses, as well as an atmosphere of music in general.

After moving to New York, Domino was discovered while performing karaoke at a pub in Manhattan. Record producer then Andres Levin signed her onto the label Fun Machine.

Kirke started a band called DOMINO along with guitarist Jordan Galland. She produced an EP with Mark Ronson, toured with Lily Allen, and was featured in Lena Dunham’s film, Tiny Furniture. All of that happened by the time she was in her early 20s.

From Singer to Doula… and Back Again

Despite being thrust into the Rock and Roll life, Kirke shifted her path after the birth of her first son in 2009. She shares a son with her former partner, Morgan O’Kane. Kirke told Glamour that she became a doula after giving birth to son Cassius, and that the decision to become a birth worker “rerouted [her], in a way that was a gift in the end.”

Kirke elaborated on the decision to switch career trajectories while speaking with W Magazine. Around the time she found out she was pregnant, she was having second thoughts about what she was doing.

“Being in a band was so fun and exciting, but I was just kind of focusing more on performance and wasn’t really writing the songs—I didn’t really think I had a voice,” she said. “Something in me knew I needed to take a step back to come back at it on my terms.”

She did indeed come back around to music on her own terms. In 2017, Domino Kirke released her solo album, Beyond Waves. W Magazine described her sound as “a collection of 11 synth-driven songs… with a folky, bohemian sound.” Kirke told the magazine that writing the songs was both “therapeutic” and “cathartic” for her. In 2021, Domino wrote and performed the song “Mercy,” and the music video was later accepted into several Indie and Music Video Film Festivals.

Penn Badgley and Domino Kirke’s Love Life

Domino Kirke didn’t expect to eventually marry Penn Badgley when they started dating. According to US Weekly, the pair were first romantically linked in 2014. And four years later, she told Hey Mama that she was admittedly more focused on being a mom than taking things to the next level.

“I didn’t think marriage was in the cards for us,” said Kirke. “So, I was sort of just chugging along, surviving and getting through the days, and I think the difference now is that I’m really living.”

Badgley and Kirke first wed in February 2017 at a courthouse in Brooklyn. They had a second marriage ceremony in June 2017, with about 5 times more guests in attendance. Mariska Hargitay, Tara Summers, and Debra Messing were some of the invitees.

“My first wedding was more of a civil ceremony with about 40 people that was able to join us in a pinch,” Kirke told Hey Mama (via US Weekly). “The second one was more planned. 200 people came from all over the world. It just felt necessary to have both.”

How Domino Kirke Helps Penn Badgley Keep a Low Profile

On Penn Badgley’s podcast, Podcrushed, Penn and Domino spoke with co-hosts Nava Kavelin and Sophie Ansari about their relationship.

Domino recalled that when she first met Penn, he had just come off of Gossip Girl. The result was sudden fame that seemed to terrify Penn. That made Domino want to protect him.

“This is someone who is absolutely terrified, definitely processing a massive chapter of his life being on a show like Gossip Girl and what that did for him and his self-esteem or his insecurities,” Domino said. “Just being that seen and that focused on by so many, millions of people.” She added that she “felt this need to wrap him in, I just wanted to protect him.”

Domino praised her husband for his modesty and desire to maintain anonymity — as best as he could. She said he often tried to disguise himself with a hat when they went out in the city.

“The best parts are watching the way he organizes it all… The risky run with being with someone in the public eye is that they really take a lot from being recognized and needing and wanting that recognition. It’s their fuel, needing that kind of validation,” she said on the podcast. “Penn is very graceful when it comes to that part of his career, like living in New York City where literally we’re inundated every time we walk down the street.”

But despite Penn not wanting to be seen, Domino added that sometimes he needs a little help.

“Sometimes it’s like ‘Penn, you’re famous. Can you please put some glasses on? Or a hat or something?'”

Penn Badgley and Domino Kirke Welcomed a Son in 2020

The couple gave birth to their first child together, a son, in 2020. The pregnancy was joyous news after two previous miscarriages. Penn had already proven his skill in the dad department after practicing as Cassius’ stepfather.

Penn Badgley told People that his relationship with Domino has taught him how to “truly love.”

“I don’t think I could truly value human love until I developed divine love,” he said. “[Domino and I] very much had a romantic beginning, and I think that you discover in marriage that what sustains a marriage for decades — there are less and less people who can tell us this — but I think it has something to do with [divine] love.”

Read More: Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively Marriage Started on the Set of ‘The Green Lantern’

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