Celebrity weddings can be somewhat contentious due to their tendency to be extra extravagant and over-the-top — but for Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively, it wasn’t the cost that had people rightfully criticizing the celebrity couple. The couple got married at Boone Hall, a former plantation in South Carolina, and the decision is something that still weighs heavily on both of them.
“It’s something we’ll always be deeply and unreservedly sorry for,” Reynolds revealed 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,” the Deadpool actor explained.
In December 2019, Pinterest banned plantation-style wedding content, and photos of the couple’s wedding have since been wiped from the platform.
“Years ago we got married again at home—but shame works in weird ways. A giant f***ng mistake like that can either cause you to shut down or it can reframe things and move you into action,” Reynolds explained in his typical candid fashion.
“It doesn’t mean you won’t f*** up again. But repatterning and challenging lifelong social conditioning is a job that doesn’t end.”
Since then, and especially in light of the Black Lives Matter movement, he and Lively have dedicated themselves to continued learning, donating money to Black causes, and making sure that their three (soon to be four) children aren’t set up to repeat the mistakes of their parents.
“We’ve never had to worry about preparing our kids for different rules of law or what might happen if we’re pulled over in the car. We don’t know what it’s like to experience that life day in and day out. We can’t imagine feeling that kind of fear and anger. We’re ashamed that in the past, we’ve allowed ourselves to be uninformed about how deeply rooted systemic racism is,” the couple wrote on social media in May 2020.
“We’ve been teaching our children differently than the way our parents taught us. We want to educate ourselves about other people’s experiences and talk to our kids about everything, all of it…especially our own complicity. We talk about our bias, blindness, and our own mistakes. We look back and see so many mistakes which have led us to deeply examine who we are and who we want to become. They’ve led us to huge avenues of education.
“We’re committed to raising our kids so they never grow up feeding this insane pattern and so they’ll do their best to never inflict pain on another being consciously or unconsciously. It’s the least we can do to honor not just George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and Eric Garner, but all the [B]lack men and women who have been killed when a camera wasn’t rolling,” the couple wrote before sharing that they were donating $200,000 to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
Recognizing and acknowledging when you’ve made a mistake, especially one as egregious as Lively and Reynolds, can be a tough pill to swallow. But it seems like the two are working hard to not only make amends for their choice of wedding venue, but to make sure that they and their children do what they can to continue the fight of dismantling systemic racism in this country.