Taylor Momsen has opened up about being “relentlessly” bullied over her starring role in the live-action adaptation of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
Momsen was only seven when she was cast as the young Cindy Lou Who in the 2000 festive film. Based on Dr Seuss’s children’s book of the same name, the film starred Jim Carrey as the titular Christmas-hating green monster.
In a new interview with her former Gossip Girl co-star Penn Badgley for his podcast Podcrushed, however, Momsen said that she was “made fun of relentlessly” after The Grinch came out.
“The Grinch changed my life in a multitude of ways,” Momsen, 30, explained, adding that after she and her family moved around constantly for her career following her breakout role.
“So any time I would start school or go somewhere else, I don’t even think the kids knew my name. I was just Grinch girl. So it was, ‘Grinch girl, Grinch girl, Grinch girl.’ Not even character name. Just Grinch girl. I got used to it, but it was alienating.”
It wasn’t until middle school that Momsen was finally put “in a proper school system”, after she and her family finally settled down with her father in Maryland.
There, Momsen said she made friends and formed a band. However, a year into the school year, she landed her most notable role as Jenny Humprey in Gossip Girl. The seminal high school drama ran for six seasons from 2007 to 2012.
“As soon as I started to find my little groove and school as a normal kid, Gossip Girl came about and I got uprooted to New York and the band fell apart,” Momsen said.
“We were going to be huge. It was a real bummer and I had to restart it all in New York which didn’t take me that long.”
The actor admitted that she hadn’t wanted to move to New York, but “larger powers” persuaded her to take the great opportunity.
While Gossip Girl went on to become a huge success, it ended up being her final on-screen role when Momsen decided to leave the show ahead of its fifth and penultimate season in 2011.
She left acting behind altogether to pursue her musical interests with her 2009-formed band The Pretty Reckless. Alongside current members Ben Phillips, Mark Damon and Jamie Perkins, the rock group released their debut album, Light Me Up, in August 2010.