Blake Lively says images of her smiling and waving to photographers during a New York City outing with her three children on July 15 only tell a small part of a “f*cking scary” story. After Daily Mail Australia’s Instagram account shared the paparazzi photos, the mom to daughters James, 6, Inez, 4, and Betty, 21 months (with husband Ryan Reynolds), posted a lengthy comment about the website’s “deceitful” edit, sharing “the real story” of her tense interactions with the paparazzi that day.
“My children were being stalked by [men] all day. Jumping out. And then hiding,” she wrote beneath the tabloid’s since-deleted Instagram post, which the @CommentsByCelebs account later shared. The actor went on to describe a concerned stranger getting “into words” with the street photographers because the scene was “so upsetting for her to see.” Then, Lively says she “calmly” approached the photographer to speak to him, but he kept running away and hiding, though continuing to follow her and her girls.
“Do you do background checks on the [photographers] you pay to stalk children?” she asked the outlet. “Where is your morality here? I would like to know. Or do you simply not care about the safety of children?”
So why was she smiling and waving in the photos? According to Lively, the experience was so “frightening” that she struck a deal with the few photographers who would speak to her, offering the solo shots “if they would leave my kids alone.” Noting that it’s “dark and upsetting that you pay people to stalk children,” she asked the outlet to “get with the times” and “please delete” the photos. “Please stop paying grown ass men to hide and hunt children,” she wrote.
After @CommentsByCelebs shared the screenshot of Lively’s comment, the A Simple Favor star also replied to their post, thanking them for sharing her “f*cking scary” experience. She also encouraged fans who want to help to stop following and block “any publications or handles who publish kid’s pictures,” and to “feel free to report them” or “send a dm sharing why you don’t follow them.” The actor continued, “All are trying to service an audience. So if that audience makes it clear they don’t want something —like photos of children obtained by men frightening and stalking them— the publication or account will do what the audience wants.”
Lively’s comments quickly drew support from her close friend Gigi Hadid, who posted a screenshot of @CommentsByCeleb’s record of the interaction, writing, “Bravo” to her fellow mom. In recent weeks, Hadid has similarly tried to protect her and Zayn Malik’s 9-month-old daughter, Khai. The model posted an open Instagram letter to the paparazzi, press, and “beloved fan accounts,” asking them to blur Khai’s face in photos.
“Our wish is that she can choose how to share herself with the world when she comes of age, and that she can live as normal of a childhood as possible, without worrying about a public image that she has not chosen,” Hadid wrote of her daughter in an Instagram story. “It would mean the world to us, as we take our daughter to see and explore NYC and the world, if you would PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE blur her face out of the images, if and when she is caught on camera.”
Before Hadid and Malik welcomed Khai in September, the model revealed she’d sought advice from Lively and Reynolds about how to protect her child’s privacy as a public figure. “I have friends who are public figures and that’s how they’ve gone about it, and I see their kids really blossom in a different way,” she said in a February Vogue interview, specifically naming the couple as role models.
In the same Vogue interview, Lively shared that she simply told Hadid to do what works best for her own family. “Gigi has a really special relationship with her fans, and I love how open she is on social media,” she said. “I love seeing into her world... I’m grateful for what she shares but also understand whatever boundaries she chooses to set.”
And Lively’s most recent paparazzi incident only serves as further evidence of the boundaries she’s set for herself and why.