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Penn Badgley on His Relationship With Blake Lively: ‘It Was a Learning Experience’

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(Trunk Archive)

Count Penn Badgley and Blake Lively among the Hollywood exes who aren't the best of buddies.

Although they dated for more than two years while co-starring on "Gossip Girl," the one-time power couple of The CW went their separate ways … and never looked back.

In a new interview with Elle, Badgley was asked what lessons he learned from his relationship with Lively, who went on to marry another Hollywood heartthrob, Ryan Reynolds, last September -- less than two years after their 2010 split and while they were still working together on the final season of "Gossip Girl."

"I don’t know if I can distill it into a sentence, or even articulate it," the 26-year-old told the magazine. "We were very much caught up in the show, which itself was a six-year endurance test. Our relationship was a part of that and helped us through it. I mean, like anything valuable, it was good and it was bad and it was a learning experience."

Read More From the Penn Badgley Interview in Elle

Asked whether working with Lively after she married Reynolds in a lavish ceremony in South Carolina last September was difficult, Badgley would only offer, "No, we were ultimately professional."

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Badgley with Blake Lively in 2009 (Getty Images)

Professional, but not friendly. As in, he didn't purchase the happy newlyweds a new coffeemaker, fine china -- or any other wedding gift.

"No, I didn’t," he said, his final comment on the topic of his ex.

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But make no mistake, it's not like the floppy-haired star, who is currently on the big screen playing the late musician Jeff Buckley in "Greetings From Tim Buckley," is still hung up on Lively. He's been dating actress-model Zoë Kravitz, 24, since 2011 -- although it's often from afar.

"There’s definitely no secret," he said about often being in a long-distance relationship because of their careers. (Last year, she was in Africa for six months filming "Mad Max: Fury Road.") "I’d say honesty is always the best policy."

Honesty and ... not being afraid to fight.

"There are always a lot of arguments," he allowed, "but even if honesty starts some, it avoids bigger ones."

[Related: Q&A: ‘Gossip Girl’ Guy Penn Badgley Breaks Out With Soulful Star Turn in ‘Greetings From Tim Buckley’]

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Badgley with girlfriend Zoe Kravitz in 2013 (Getty Images)

Elaborating on that point, he offered, "As an actor, being in a relationship you have this opportunity to have something really exceptional, because you don’t have a regimented schedule or lifestyle. But then it can also be very warped. You have on-camera romances, which ordinarily I don’t have a problem with. There are complications being an object of attention. I’ve found it’s a double-edged sword. But I’m happy to wield it."

And he'd be happy to settle down and get married himself … one day.

"Yeah. Eventually," he said on the topic of marriage. "I want the ceremony. I want the bond."

Badgley has already bonded with Zoë's family -- at least her famous dad, Lenny Kravitz. He said they have a friendly relationship and that the "Let Love Rule" singer doesn't play the protective dad.

"We get along, we talk music," said Badgley, who pursued a singing career in the late '90s and revealed during the interview that he's "written a song for every woman I’ve been with." "He took me to Harlem to see this little jazz show in the back of a church. It was just sh---y fluorescent lights and a small stage piano, but this band tore it up."

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But he's not looking to Lenny for tips on relationships. When the topic of Lenny's celibacy came up -- the rock star famously abstained from sex for three years -- Badgley said he wouldn't be trying that.

"I don’t know how I would fare," Badgley replied. "I’m sure I could do it. But I don’t know that I’d want to."

For more of Badgley's interview, pick up the June issue of Elle, on newsstands May 21.

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