It’s Blake Lively’s birthday, and her husband, Ryan Reynolds, wants to celebrate. Of course, the hilarious actor can’t just post a sentimental social media tribute to his wife, as many other halves would. Instead, Reynolds digs through his archives to put together a set of brutal, brand-new pictures of the gorgeous Lively.
Reynolds’ Instagram followers found his slideshow just as funny as he did. The images have garnered a whopping 7 million likes thus far, and comments from the likes of model Gigi Hadid and Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown. Although many countered that Lively still looked beautiful in every single photo, most couldn’t help but giggle at her husband’s birthday post.
Indeed, such playful posts have been a big part of Lively and Reynolds’s online presence. The couple, who married in 2012, remain fiercely private and protective of their family, which includes their two young daughters, James and Inez. However, on Instagram, they let loose and laugh at one another, and their followers revel in it. Case in point – the 2019 birthday tribute from Reynolds to Lively.
Ryan Reynolds got his start on a Canadian soap opera for teens, Hillside, but an American sitcom gave him his big break in 1998. After starring on Two Guys and a Girl for three years, Reynolds made his transition onto the silver screen. He has had roles in dramas, action flicks and comedies, including National Lampoon’s Van Wilder and Green Lantern.
One of Reynolds’s biggest roles would come in 2016, when he nabbed the title role in the R-rated comedy, Deadpool. For his work, he was shortlisted for both a Golden Globe and a Critics’ Choice Award. At the end of that year, he earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and beside him while he accepted the honor was his wife, Blake Lively.
Lively’s parents, Ernie and Elaine, taught acting classes and had brought their young daughter along instead of leaving her with a babysitter. Through those sessions, Lively learned the basics of the art, but she didn’t see herself becoming an actress – at least, not at first. Instead, she wanted to study at Stanford University.
But Lively’s brother, Eric, saw his sister’s potential; an actor himself, he had his agent send his sister on auditions, too. Through that connection, Lively got the part of Bridget in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. After starring in the 2005 flick, the actress nabbed the leading role of Serena van der Woodsen on Gossip Girl, a TV drama that ran for five years.
Lively has gone on to appear in a slew of successful films, including The Town, A Simple Favor, Savages and Green Lantern, in which she co-starred with Reynolds. But the pair’s romantic spark didn’t ignite while on set for that movie, as both actors had partners at the time.
Indeed, both Reynolds and Lively have some surprising names on their list of past loves. For instance, in 1996, the Canadian actor acted alongside Melissa Joan Hart in the movie version of Sabrina the Teenage Witch. As website PopSugar put it, they had a “super-passionate, however brief” relationship while filming in 1996.
On a more serious note, Reynolds had a five-year relationship with singer and fellow Canadian Alanis Morrissette. They first got together in 2002, and, by 2004, Reynolds had proposed marriage to the Jagged Little Pill songstress. But their wedding was never to be; regrettably, the pair split up in 2007.
The same year that he and Morrissette parted ways, Reynolds found himself in love again – this time, with actress Scarlett Johansson. After about a year of dating, the duo wed in Tofino, British Columbia, on September 27, 2008. But their union wouldn’t be a long-lasting one. The stars announced their separation in December, 2010 and finalized their divorce the next summer.
After his divorce, Reynolds spent a bit of time dating some of Hollywood’s most familiar faces. For starters, he had a fling with Sandra Bullock, his co-star from the 2009 romantic comedy, The Proposal. In 2011, Reynolds and actress Charlize Theron spent the summer in a relationship, too, but split because they had prioritized their lives differently, according to magazine Us Weekly.
Eventually, 2011 would bring Reynolds to his future wife, Lively. But she, too, had a string of serious – and fun – relationships prior to meeting her husband-to-be. Before her big break in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Lively had been dating boyfriend Kelly Blatz for a year. They remained a relatively low-profile couple until 2007.
At that point, Lively had started work on Gossip Girl, where she’d meet her next serious beau in co-star Penn Badgley. The on- and off-screen couple kept their relationship as private as possible, although fans loved seeing the pair together in real life. They eventually broke up in 2010, but continued working together on the teen drama series for two more years.
After that, eagle-eyed fans spotted Lively at Disneyland with actor Ryan Gosling in 2010, although nothing official ever came of their day trip. And, in the summer of 2011, the actress found herself in a summer fling with eternal playboy Leonardo DiCaprio. Photos showed the pair on a romantic trip across Europe, but the end of the season saw them break up, too.
But Lively’s break-up with DiCaprio in the fall of 2011 opened her up to finding the love of her life in Reynolds. The pair had remained friends after shooting Green Lantern – such good friends, in fact, that they decided to go on a double date with their significant others sometime in the latter half of 2011.
Reynolds described the unexpected chemistry that both he and Lively felt between them that night. He told Entertainment Weekly magazine in 2016, “We were buddies then. I remember it was funny because for about a year after Green Lantern had come and gone and all that stuff, we were both single.”
“We went on a double date,” Reynolds continued. “She was on a date with another guy, and I was on a date with another girl. That was the most awkward date [from their perspective] probably because we were just, like, fireworks coming across,” he described. From there, things took off – and quickly.
In an interview with GQ magazine, Reynolds divulged more about his night out with Lively – and the two finally had a moment alone to explore their chemistry. He described, “We were hanging out at this little restaurant in Tribeca that’s open really late, and this song came on and I was just like, ‘Want to dance?’”
The romantic evening didn’t end there, either. Reynolds said, “No one was in there, so it was just totally empty. And it was just one of those moments where halfway through the dance it was like, ‘Oh, I think I just crossed a line.’ And then I walked her home. And, uh, you know, I don’t really need to go into what happened after that.”
Reynolds wouldn’t have to go into detail, though – the public soon caught wind of the new Hollywood couple. For starters, in October 2011, someone saw Lively making her exit from Reynolds’s Boston apartment. A source then confirmed to People magazine that they were “very much a couple” and “really happy together.”
Next came pictures of Reynolds and Lively acting like a couple – photographers captured them holding hands in Vancouver, where they spent the winter holidays with his family. For the next year, they put on a loved-up display for the paparazzi who chased them. But in September 2012 the couple made a move that even the press couldn’t have predicted.
After just a year of dating, on September 9, 2012 Reynolds and Lively surprised the world by tying the knot. The actress donned a Marchesa gown and walked down the aisle to her husband-to-be at Boone Hall Plantation in Mount Pleasant. The picturesque South Carolina backdrop had even served as a filming location for the romantic movie, The Notebook.
After that, newlyweds Lively and Reynolds spent two years enjoying married life before adding to their family. In October 2014, though, Lively made an announcement on her then-website Preserve that she was pregnant with the couple’s first child. Indeed, two months later, they welcomed their daughter.
Reynolds announced his and Lively’s daughter’s name, which they chose in honor of his father, on TV’s Today show the following March. He said, “It’s James. Everyone knows. I didn’t want to be the first guy screaming it out to the media, because as we know, little girls turn into teenage girls and little teenage girls sometimes scan through the archives and go, ’Why did you do that?’”
Two years later, Us Weekly broke the news that Lively and Reynolds had a second bundle of joy on the way when they spotted the actress on the set of her movie The Shallows with a baby bump. Six months later, the couple welcomed their second child into the world, another daughter. She was named Inez.
Less than two months later, the notoriously private Lively and Reynolds made their public debut as a family-of-four for a very special occasion: the day that Reynolds received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In accepting the honor, he made a sweet speech to thank all of his family, and especially Lively.
According to Cosmopolitan magazine, Reynolds said, “I want to thank my wife, Blake, who is sitting right there, who is everything to me. You are the best thing that has ever happened to me. You make everything better. You make everything in my life better. You’ve given me two of the most incredible children I’ve ever hoped to have.”
No matter how sweet that statement was, though, not all of Reynolds and Lively’s romance revolves around, well, romance. The couple have made headlines for their hilarious Instagram tributes to one another, too. Let’s just say that they don’t normally gush about one another, but rather laugh about their less-than-perfect moments.
For instance, in 2017, to celebrate Reynolds’ October 23 birthday, Lively posted a photo of him alongside her rumored former flame, Gosling. But she cropped the photo so that her husband’s face was barely visible. Beneath the image, she cheekily wrote, “Happy Birthday, Baby” – and that’s just one example.
Reynolds fired back with a less-than-glamorous photo of Lively on the set of her yet-to-be-released movie, The Rhythm Section. He captioned the photo, “#nofilter.” Then, Lively shared a picture of mangled Christmas cookies to reveal Reynolds’ less-than-exemplary baking skills. “He’s very handsome, though,” she joked.
The online games continued in April 2018 when Lively shared a sweet photo of her and Reynolds on the red carpet. But, of course, the caption didn’t convey the same sentiment shown in the snap. She wrote, “If there’s one thing I’m infinitely proud of in this picture, it’s the incredible hair styling that I did on myself.”
Eventually, Reynolds got his chance to strike back when Lively’s birthday rolled around on August 25, 2019. To honor his wife in the couple’s own inimitable style, he shared an entire gallery of photos of her. He wrote, “Happy Birthday @blakelively,” but, as expected, the slideshow wasn’t as sweet as it initially seemed.
Indeed, the first image seemed innocuous. In it, Lively holds her growing baby bump as she looks up and laughs at Reynolds. But in the second photo, it starts to become clear that her husband’s up to something. The Deadpool star posted a selfie in which his wife’s eyes have failed to open in time for the picture.
The third image sees Reynolds and Lively in front of a gorgeous turquoise body of water, but the Gossip Girl star has her head facing away from the camera lens. By the fourth photo, a theme appears: Reynolds has chosen to present photographs of his wife with her eyes closed.
In the fifth photo in front of City Hall, Lively hugs Reynolds but can’t manage to open her eyes. The sixth photo shows much of the same. This time, the actress sits in her husband’s lap, clearly on the move as the picture was taken. Still, on her blurry face, it’s clear that her eyes have stayed shut for this shot, too.
A fuzzy Lively dressed as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz counts as the seventh photo in the set. In image number eight, she takes on a familiar pose. As she holds her baby bump, she looks up at Reynolds – well, not really. She’s once again squinting as the camera clicks.
Another cozy selfie of Reynolds and Lively comes with the latter’s eyes sealed shut. And, in the tenth and final picture in his birthday tribute, the Van Wilder actor shared another seafront photo. This time, Lively’s hat appears to be flying off, the surprise clear on her face. And, of course, her eyes are closed.
As expected, Reynolds’ post garnered plenty of attention. For starters, more than 7 million Instagram users liked the photo series. And commenters had plenty to say about them, too. Most retorted that it was impossible to find a bad photo of Lively. Others, including supermodel Gigi Hadid, shared their well-wishes and love on the actress’s birthday.
Of course, such a birthday greeting from Reynolds was par for the course – not to mention an example of what a great sense of fun he and Lively share. And speaking of sharing, the couple took to Instagram in May 2019 to tell the world some heartwarming news; Lively is pregnant with their third child.