Blake Lively hates that people think she lives a “perfect” life.
In Glamour‘s September issue (on newsstands Aug. 8), she explains why it’s a troublesome notion. “It’s nonsense. It simplifies people. Not all men, but a subsection of men, have a desire to understand and control women. To do that, you have to paint them into this thing you can wrap your head around,” the 29-year-old All I See Is You star argues. “But women are complex.”
When people see pictures of the actress and her husband Ryan Reynolds walking red carpets, or see them making various talk show appearances, she hopes they realize “that what you see in the media is not real life.” That’s partly why she gets “complete anxiety” before interviews: “‘How is this person going to spin me?’ So when you read, ‘Oh, she’s got a perfect life,’ or ‘Her life is crumbling’—they pick narratives for everyone,” Lively explains. “And the narratives stick.”
Lively implies that she and Reynolds are often presented as characters, rather than a real couple with real problems. “We’re really shy people who express ourselves best when we’re acting, when we’re hiding as someone else. So the fact that very shy people have to share that shy person with the world—and are sometimes hurt by it—it’s very weird emotionally,” she says. But make no mistake: Lively doesn’t want pity, noting that they’re “champagne problems.”
In an effort to take back control of their own narratives, Lively and Reynolds regularly show off their sillier sides on social media. Noting her husband’s tweets in particular, she jokes, “He may as well work for the Enquirer. When he says ‘my daughter,’ he’s never, ever talking about her. Everything is a completely made-up scenario. He’ll run them by me sometimes just to make me laugh. But oh, I’m so in love with him when he writes that stuff. I mean, I’m in love with him most of the time, but especially with that.” Getting “defensive” over her word choice, Lively explains, “If I say, ‘I’m so in love with him all the time,’ then you get that eye-rolling, ‘Oh, her life is so great, she’s so perfect…'” So, she’ll often downplay things—it’s her “defense mechanism.”
How do the actors—who tied the knot in 2012—deal with conflict? “In other relationships, if something came up, I would call my girlfriends or my sister, and say, ‘Hey, this is what he did—what should I do?’ Where with him, we were friends for two years before we were ever dating. And I treat him like my girlfriend. I’m like, ‘Hey, this happened. It upset me. This is how I feel. What do I do?'” Lively reveals. “And he does the same for me. He treats me like his best buddy.”
Luckily, the two never really fight over dueling schedules.
“We don’t work at the same time,” says Lively, who will produce and star in The Husband’s Secret. “I admire people who find that what fulfills them is their art or their work, but what fulfills both me and my husband is our family. Knowing that, everything else comes second. We’ve each given up stuff we loved in order to not work at the same time. I’m fortunate to be in a place now where I get to find the material—a book or script—early and develop it. I know ahead of time that I’m going to be working on this job at this time. And we can plan around it.”
Lively and Reynolds have always viewed each other as equals, and together, they’re raising their two daughters to become strong, independent women. “With my husband, I’m lucky to have someone who is so conscious. My husband was like, ‘Why do I always say he?’ And I said, ‘That’s what we’re taught.’ So, he’ll pick up a caterpillar, and instead of saying, ‘What’s his name?’ he’ll say, ‘What’s her name?’ Or we’ve joked that my daughter is bossy. But my husband said, ‘I don’t ever want to use that word again. You’ve never heard a man called bossy,'” the former Gossip Girl star tells Glamour. “There would never be any negative connotation for a man being a boss, so to add a negative connotation on a woman being bossy? It’s belittling. And it doesn’t encourage them to be a boss. So, do I know how to be the best parent for a daughter? No, I have no idea. All I can do is share what I’m thinking—and learn from others.”