At 10, Lively plays the Tooth Fairy in her father Ernie's film Sandman, which never has a theatrical release. "My whole family's in the business," Lively says on Today in 2005 of her actor-director father and her acting coach mother, Elaine. "I never really went after it, just because it was already so much a part of my life."
While a student at Burbank High School in L.A., Lively gets her first professional acting gig when she is cast in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. The film, which costars Alexis Bledel, America Ferrera and Amber Tamblyn, is based on Ann Brashares' best-selling teen novels and centers around lifelong friends who spend their first summer apart, but connect by shipping a pair of jeans to each other.
Lively brings boyfriend Kelly Blatz (right), her costar in the 2006 thriller Simon Says, to the L.A. premiere of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. They are photographed kissing and hugging on the red carpet. "I've had a crush on him since second grade," she tells the Boston Herald in 2005. "He finally came around this year."
Lively plays Justin Long's (left) object of affection in the comedy Accepted about a high school senior who creates a fake university to avoid telling his parents he wasn't accepted to college. The following year, she stars opposite Max Minghella in the dark comedy Elvis & Anabelle.
After the first film took in nearly $40 million at the box office, Lively, Bledel, Ferrera and Tamblyn (right) reprise their roles in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants sequel. The film, slated for August 2008, will be based on the final book of the series, Forever in Blue.
Lively, 20, plays Serena van der Woodsen, an "it" girl trying to change her wild ways, in Gossip Girl, The CW's adaptation of the novels by Cecily von Ziegesar. The teen drama, developed by executive producer Josh Schwartz of The O.C., follows a group of rich New York City Upper East Siders and costars Leighton Meester and Chace Crawford.
Lively graces the November cover of teen magazine, CosmoGIRL!, where she discusses her newfound fame. "It is a crazy and completely insane business. I'll go to an event...and I'll walk around and meet people who I always thought were such a big deal," Lively, who reveals that as a kid she was "completely in love" with Justin Timberlake and Leonardo DiCaprio, tells the magazine.
The cast of Gossip Girl strips down for New York magazine, which calls the teen soap, "the most awesomely awesome show ever." Of Lively, the magazine, which also discusses her offscreen relationship with onscreen love Penn Badgley and rumored feud with costar Leighton Meester, says, "Blake does give off a 'star of the show' vibe that could inspire pedestal-knocking." That week, the entire cast also lands on PEOPLE's Most Beautiful List.
After months of swearing there's no romance with her Gossip Girl castmate Penn Badgley, Lively hits an afterparty following the Met's Costume Institute Gala with Badgley. "I think she's incredible," he tells PEOPLE. "She's an amazing person and she's beautiful – so there's not a lot to dislike." But the real confirmation comes the following week when the pair is photographed canoodling in Cancun.
With Kristen Stewart, Emma Roberts and Amanda Seyfried, Lively appears on the cover of Vanity Fair's August issue, which proclaims them part of "Hollywood's New Wave." "Boundaries dissolve everywhere they turn their pretty heads," observes the magazine.
BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): Warner Bros; Gregg DeGuire/WireImage; Everett Collection; Jamie McCarthy/WireImage; CBS; courtesy New York Magazine; NPG