Blake Lively was born in Tarzana, Los Angeles to actors Ernie and Elaine Lively. She was raised as a Southern Baptist. The youngest of five siblings, Lively has a brother, Eric, two half-sisters, Lori and Robyn, and a half-brother, Jason. Both of her parents and all of her siblings are, or have been, in the entertainment industry. During Lively's childhood, her parents would take her with them to acting classes that they taught because they did not want to leave her with a babysitter. Blake Lively said that watching her parents teach acting classes helped her learn the "drills" of acting and gain confidence as she got older. Lively stated that as a child, her mother would bring her to Disneyland twice a week as an opportunity "to have some extra time to bond"; Lively has stated, due to all the time she spent there, she felt that she "grew up at Disneyland."
Blake Lively was initially not particularly interested in acting, however during the summer between her junior and senior years of high school, her brother, Eric, asked his agent to send her out on a few auditions over a period of a few months. From these few auditions, she got the role of Bridget for The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Blake Lively filmed her scenes in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants between her junior and senior years at Burbank High.
Blake Lively began her acting career at age 11, when she appeared in the 1998 film Sandman, which was directed by Lively's father. Blake Lively describes her role in the film as having been a "bit part". Lively appeared in the film adaptation of the novel of the same name, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants in 2005 playing Bridget, one of the four female leads. Lively's performance in the film earned her a nomination for a Teen Choice Award for "Choice Movie Breakout - Female."
In 2006, she co-starred with Justin Long in Accepted, and Lively had minor roles in the horror film, Simon Says. While Accepted was not well received by critics, Lively's performance was, earning her a 'Breakthrough Award' from Hollywood Life. In 2007, Blake Lively played one of the two title characters in Elvis and Anabelle as Anabelle, a bulimic girl who hoped to win a beauty pageant. Lively said of getting into character for the role that she had 'shed serious weight' for her height. Lively stated that that process was difficult for her because food is “the No. 1 love of my life.” MovieLine.com praised her performance in the film and credited it as having been her "breakthrough role".
Blake Lively was cast in the CW's series Gossip Girl, which premiered in September 2007. She plays Serena van der Woodsen in the teen drama. Her first magazine cover was the November 2007 issue of Cosmo Girl, where she discussed her time in high school and her career prior to Gossip Girl.
One of Lively's most acclaimed roles to date is her supporting role playing the younger version of the title character in The Private Lives of Pippa Lee (2009). Paul Byrnes, of the Brisbane Times, described Lively's performance in the film as being "sensational". In October, 2009, Lively began filming her scenes for her role as Krista Coughlin, in the 2010 film The Town, based on Chuck Hogan's novel Prince of Thieves. In the film, Lively's role has been described as "the sister of Jem and Doug's ex-girlfriend who has a 19-month old daughter, Shyne." The film, which also stars Ben Affleck, was released in the United States on September 17, 2010 to critical acclaim. In an interview with Marie Claire, Lively stated that she wasn't relying on her career as an actress, having felt that having her own interior decorating firm would be a substitute as a back-up plan, and because of her 'fascination' with "colors and textures and layering things." In January 2010, it was announced that Lively would play Carol Ferris, the female lead and love interest of Hal Jordan in the superhero film Green Lantern, which was released in June 2011.
Blake Lively with the cast of Green Lantern at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con International
Blake Lively dated actor Kelly Blatz from 2004 to 2007; the two had been friends since childhood. In late 2007, rumors circulated that Blake Lively was dating her Gossip Girl co-star and former childhood classmate Penn Badgley. In May 2008, after People magazine published photos of the two kissing while on vacation in Mexico, the couple became more open about their relationship. Lively and Badgley ended their three-year relationship in mid-September 2010, according to a representative for the pair. Lively has also been linked to Leonardo DiCaprio. They began dating in mid May 2011, but ended their relationship in early October 2011. During the 2008 United States presidential election Blake Lively expressed her support for Barack Obama. Lively and Badgley appeared in a pro-Obama commercial, as part of MoveOn.org's Youth Vote program. The commercial, directed by Doug Liman, aired during Gossip Girl on CW, MTV and Comedy Central. In 2011, she was featured in the annual TIME magazine 100 influential people.