Penn Badgley, who played heartthrob Dan Humphrey on Gossip Girl, has revealed he was "molested" by obsessive fans.

The 31-year-old actor told the Daily Beast on Saturday that he had experienced the darker side of fame during his time on the teen drama, which ran from 2007 to 2012.

The actor explained that he had experienced "pretty full-on obsession" from fans of the show.

"I think as an actor you can become an object of desire, which is something women are already accustomed to more or less around the world - I've definitely been, I mean I don't want to sound sensationalist, but I've literally been molested - just in the literal sense of the word - by many people in the moment. Because that's what they do," he revealed.


During the interview Badgley was careful to acknowledge the privilege "that being a man, not to mention a white man, affords him".

On hearing his experience the interviewer said "I'm sorry," to which Badgley replied: "It's interesting to even hear you have that reaction, like 'I'm sorry,' because I didn't even think of it that way."

He continued, "You're led as a man, particularly, that when it happens you should feel great about it. Particularly when it comes from someone who's feasibly an object of your desire as well."

The star was discussing his latest role as Joe, the anti-hero of Lifetime's You where he plays a creepy bookstore manager who falls in love with a customer named Beck and quickly becomes obsessed with her.

"I think that's the interesting thing about this show, is that Joe looks like me, he acts and talks like me to a degree, so I think the audience is supposed to be like, 'Aw that might be nice if someone was that infatuated with me.'"

Badgley told the publication that while he's conflicted about forgiving or empathising with his controversial character, he's excited about the potential for meaningful debate and conversation.

"I think that a lot of the conversations that we're having around the show are elevated and have a depth that I really appreciate because, for all the faults and all of the perils of the times we live in, we are becoming more sensitive to some things", he told them.

Citing the #MeToo movement, he continued, "I think it's significant that a show like this is coming out now, because if it had come out any other time, we might not have been having these necessary conversations around it. And we might have been all too ready to consume something that I think actually has some really dangerous seeds in it."

"Of course he must be held accountable," Badgley explained, adding: "Because everybody needs to account for themselves, but at the same time, at some point, everyone is an innocent child. And at some point that innocent child receives a miseducation."

Penn is married to singer Domino Kirke and through this marriage, he has one stepson.