Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively were married in 2012 at Boone Hall, a former slave plantation in South Carolina. It’s a choice that dogged the actor and entrepreneur for years, as when his public celebration of Black Panther attracted accusations of hypocrisy.
But now, with everything from copaganda to Confederate statues to Splash Mountain undergoing a reappraisal in the post-George Floyd era, Reynolds spoke publicly for the first time about his poor choice of wedding venue.
“It’s something we’ll always be deeply and unreservedly sorry for,” Reynolds said in an interview with Fast Company. “It’s impossible to reconcile. What we saw at the time was a wedding venue on Pinterest. What we saw after was a place built upon devastating tragedy. Years ago we got married again at home—but shame works in weird ways.”
Pinterest similarly saw the error of its ways last year when it acted to “limit the distribution of [plantation] content and accounts across our platform, and continue to not accept advertisements for them.” That change came after pressure from Color of Change, a non-profit civil rights organization, on it and popular wedding website The Knot.
Reynolds went on to call getting married at Boone Hill “a giant fucking mistake.”
“[It] can either cause you to shut down or it can reframe things and move you into action. It doesn’t mean you won’t fuck up again. But repatterning and challenging lifelong social conditioning is a job that doesn’t end.”
In June, Reynolds and Lively made a joint $200,000 donation to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, saying at the time that they were “ashamed that in the past we’ve allowed ourselves to be uninformed about how deeply rooted systemic racism is.”
Lively also said at the time that they “want to use our privilege and platform to be an ally. And play a part in easing pain for so many who feel as though this grand experiment is failing them.” Reynolds’s mea culpa is a sign that the couple is at least trying to stick to that commitment.