Lively, Bledel, Ferrera and Tamblyn appear in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, which opens at No. 4, pulling in $10.8 million in its first week. "These [films] are [about] four girls loving each other and supporting each other and the friendship is really the most important thing," Lively tells CNN. "It's not the love interest or the cute, popular boy in school that you get."
Declaring her "Hollywood’s proverbial It Girl," Cosmopolitan puts Lively on its September cover. "I don’t drink. I don’t do drugs. But I do sleep around a lot," Lively jokes in the magazine. Comparing herself to her Gossip Girl character, Lively says of her days as a high schooler, "I was class president, on the cheerleading squad, in a competitive show choir, and in, like, six different clubs."
The cast of Gossip Girl stars in a series of provocative photos shot for Rolling Stone, with Lively and Meester scoring the cover. In her interview with the mag, Lively says she was initially skeptical about starring in GG, but was finally convinced when producer Stephenie Savage "told her what her wardrobe would be," says series creator Josh Schwartz. "Serena's a lot like me," Lively says. "[But] I make Serena a little more goofy, just because that's how I am."
In the drama, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, Lively sheds her GG ways for a heftier role as the younger version of costar Robin Wright's character. Her performance in the film, opposite Alan Arkin, garners the attention of Ben Affeck, who casts the actress in his upcoming film, The Town. "She came in, did one reading, and just crushed it," Affleck tells Esquire.
Lively leaves her New York party girl persona behind to play a drug-addicted single mom from Boston in The Town – which debuts at the top of the box office, earning $23.8 million. "I love this character because of the challenge," she tells USA Today. "I'm sure there are people who were much more qualified and talented, who could have or should have done this role. But I thought I had to play this role because it ignited such passion within me."
After dating for more than two years, Lively and Badgley call it quits, reps for both Gossip Girl stars confirm to PEOPLE. "I don't comment on my relationships. . . . My anonymity is something I treasure," Lively recently told Allure. "Wanting to be an actor and wanting to be famous are different."
With her romance with Badgley behind her, Lively is spotted at Disneyland with actor Ryan Gosling, sparking romance rumors that spread when the actress attends the New York premiere party of his film, Blue Valentine, in December. "She's an incredible actress; she's a good friend," Gosling tells PEOPLE. "You're not allowed to have friends in this business."
Lively sparks reports of a new romance when she's spotted hugging Leonardo DiCaprio on a yacht during the Cannes Film Festival in France. A week later, the pair continue their European jaunt in Italy, where paparazzi capture the smitten stars holding hands. In October, Lively's summer romance with DiCaprio comes to an end.
Jumping into the comic-book genre, Lively is a box office smash with Green Lantern, which rakes in $52.6 million its opening weekend. As pilot Carol Ferris, boss and love interest to Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds), Lively revels in playing a strong-willed woman. "To get to rival the hero is something so unique," she says of the role. "It was a really nice dynamic."
BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): Warner Bros.; Courtesy of Rolling Stone; Screen Media Films; Claire Folger/Warner Bros.; INF; Stephen Lovekin/Getty, Krista Kennell/Sipa; Fame; Courtesy Warner Bros.; AKM-GSI