Penn Badgley Explains How His 'Joyful' New Fatherhood Experience Made 'You' Performance 'Harder'

Penn Badgley and wife Domino Kirke welcomed their first baby, a son, in August 2020, and in the upcoming third season of Netflix's You, his character Joe navigates new parenthood

Penn Badgley's real-life fatherhood journey has been vastly different than his You character's, thankfully.

In the upcoming third season of the series, premiering on Netflix Friday, Badgley's murderous Joe Goldberg becomes a dad, raising a newborn with the also-murderous Love Quinn, played by Victoria Pedretti. Speaking with Access, Badgley explained what it was like portraying Joe's "morbid" parenting after having his own "joyful" transition to fatherhood.

The actor and wife Domino Kirke, whom he wed in February 2017, welcomed their first baby, a son, in August 2020.

"The funny thing is I was curious what my new fatherhood, how that would influence my experience with Joe and acting with him, and sometimes it was almost not helpful because I was having such a light and joyful experience — still am — and Joe is so petrified," Badgley, 34, said.

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Penn Badgely
Actor Penn Badgely turned 35 on Monday, Nov. 1. Jenny Anderson/Getty

"He's so scared, and of course I can identify with the fear," he continued, "but he's just so morbid in his obsessive, sort of like self-preservation, primal instinct that sometimes I almost found it harder as a result, you know what I mean? It really depended on the scene."

Added Pedretti, 26, "I think not having a child allowed me to just come at it as a character. I think that if I felt like I had to draw from my personal experience at all that would just be ... confusing."

RELATED VIDEO: Penn Badgley Reveals How 'Divine Love' Prepared Him for His Marriage to Domino Kirke

Kirke, a singer and doula, announced their pregnancy news in February 2020, revealing that she had previously endured "two miscarriages in a row" before conceiving their baby. The pregnancy losses left the couple feeling "ready to call it."

"I stopped trusting my body and started to accept the fact that I was done," wrote Kirke, who's also mom to son Cassius Riley, who was born in 2009. "As a birth attendant, I've seen and heard it all. It takes everything I've got to detach lovingly from the losses I've been present for and be in my own experience."

"When I was pregnant at 25, I knew nothing. I had no community. I dove in blissfully unaware about birth and its mysteries," she said at the time. "Now, with 10 years worth of experience to pull from, I treasure my birth community and the knowledge I have."

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