The Reason Penn Badgley Graduated High School 5 Years Early

You star Penn Badgley has worked steadily in Hollywood since childhood. From minor TV roles to the love interest in a high school comedy to his darker recent work, the actor has crafted an impressive resume for himself. In order to take on all these roles, Badgley wanted to free up his schedule as much as possible. He achieved this by graduating high school at just 13 years old. 

Penn Badgley in a blue shirt and green pants.
Penn Badgley | Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

Penn Badgley has worked as an actor since he was 12

Soon after moving to Los Angeles, Badgley landed a voice acting role on the Mario Golf video game. Just after that, when he was 12 years old, he guest starred in one episode of Will and Grace. From there, his career blossomed. Per IMDb, Badgley featured on a ten-episode run of The Young and the Restless. 

Following this soap opera stint, Badgley received a nomination for a Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a Daytime Series. The award brought him further success, including roles in several TV series and the film John Tucker Must Die. However, it wasn’t until his starring role as Dan Humphrey in Gossip Girl that his career really accelerated. The runaway success of the show lifted him to household name status.

Badgley graduated from high school at 13

As a young actor, Badgley wanted to completely avoid a necessary part of filming for all child stars: on-set school. Because he started his career at 12, however, this was a difficult feat. Ultimately, he decided to graduate early.

“I graduated early when I was 13, but it really was just to avoid the on-set tutor thing,” Badgley told the New York Daily News. “I was taking community college courses when I wasn’t working, so I’d spend six months working and six months going to school, on and off. I would take all the gen ed courses that you had to to transfer.” 

Penn Badgley in a white shirt in 2002.
Penn Badgley in 2002 | Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

By graduating at 13, Badgley avoided high school for all the traditional high school-age years. He’d finished with schooling just a year after beginning his career. When he reached college-age, he decided to continue pursuing his acting work instead of university.

“I was accepted to USC, but I never went. I was working as well, and I realized at that point I didn’t want to go to film school, I just really wanted to work and do what I was doing.”

Penn Badgley will star in ‘You’ Season 3

In August 2021, Netflix dropped a teaser trailer for the third season of the series You. In it, Badgley plays the murderous stalker Joe. The new series will see Joe navigating family life and a new suburban setting. 

After a delay caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the show will return for streaming on Netflix on Oct. 15, 2021.

RELATED: ‘You’ Season 3 Is Changing a Major Element of the Show