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Penn Badgley is getting candid about his parental role, being both a father and stepfather in his marriage to Domino Kirke.

The actor recently sat down for a chat on the New York Times‘ Modern Love podcast, and reflected on his role as a father to his 3-year-old son — whom he shares with Kirke — and a stepfather to Kirke’s 15-year-old son, Cassius.

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

According to Badgley, when it comes to Cassius, “His father is very much in his life — so his father is his father, and I’m something else.”

“So I have two different kind of parental roles,” Badgley explained. “My biological son is only 3 and a half. So, that’s a very different thing, too. I need to be able to more consciously show him my vulnerability 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 something of a challenge to form a bond.

That being said, Badgley credited the 2014 Tom Cruise sci-fi action epic Edge of Tomorrow for giving them an opportunity to connect.

“I just knew it was important. It was like the stars had aligned so that my wife and my youngest son were asleep, and I was just like, ‘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 dedication to fidelity led him to ask the showrunner on his hit Netflix drama-thriller You to limit his intimate scenes as much as possible.

“I asked Sera Gamble, creator of the show, ‘Can I just do no more intimacy scenes?’ This is actually a decision I had made before I took the show… I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it publicly, but it’s… one of the main things is, like, ‘Do I want to put myself back on a career path where I’m just always romantic lead?'” Badgley revealed on the Podcrushed podcast last year.

“Fidelity in every relationship — and especially in my marriage — is important to me,” he said of doing the scenes. “I said to Sera, like, ‘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 it?’ was my question to them.”

Fortunately, according to Badgley, Gamble was understanding. “She didn’t even bat an eye. She was really glad that I was that honest, and she was sort of I want to say almost, like, empowered. She had a really positive response. She appreciated my directness and she appreciated that I was also being reasonable and practical.”

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