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Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively apologize for plantation wedding

"What we saw at the time was a wedding venue on Pinterest," Reynolds said. "What we saw after was a place built upon devastating tragedy."
Image: FILE: Blake Lively And Ryan Reynolds Welcome Their Third Child
Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds attend the annual costume gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2014.Mike Coppola / Getty Images file

"Deadpool" star Ryan Reynolds said he and his wife, actress Blake Lively, are "deeply and unreservedly sorry for" for holding their 2012 wedding ceremony at a South Carolina plantation.

"It’s impossible to reconcile," Reynolds told Fast Company, in a profile published Tuesday. "What we saw at the time was a wedding venue on Pinterest. What we saw after was a place built upon devastating tragedy."

Reynolds and Lively got married at Boone Hall Plantation in Mount Pleasant, which features nine slave cabins, referred to as "Slave Street." The move was criticized at the time, but came under renewed scrutiny in 2018 after Reynolds tweeted in support of "Black Panther," the first superhero movie to feature a majority Black cast, and was accused of hypocrisy.

The wedding industry has also been responding to plantation weddings' role in glamorizing sites of violence against Black people. Last year, Pinterest and The Knot banned pictures of all plantation weddings on its platform, including Reynolds' and Lively's.

"Weddings should be a symbol of love and unity. Plantations represent none of those things," a spokesperson for Pinterest said at the time, per The Washington Post. "We are working to limit the distribution of this content and accounts across our platform, and continue to not accept advertisements for them."

Reynolds and Lively appeared to express regret over their plantation wedding earlier this year, but this is the first time they've explicitly apologized for it.

"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 Instagram announcing a $200,000 donation to the NAACP legal defense fund in May, following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. "We want to educate ourselves about other people's experiences and talk to our kids about everything, all of it ... especially our own complicity."

Reynolds also revealed in the Fast Company interview that he and Lively, parents to three daughters, later exchanged vows in a separate ceremony.

"Years ago we got married again at home — but shame works in weird ways. A giant f------ mistake like that can either cause you to shut down or it can reframe things and move you into action," Reynolds said. "It doesn’t mean you won’t f--- up again. But repatterning and challenging lifelong social conditioning is a job that doesn’t end.”

Reynolds recently announced he's launching the Group Effort Initiative, a program focused on providing training to Black people and people from other underrepresented groups to support them as they pursue careers in the film industry.

Lively has also been criticized separately for creating a lifestyle website called Preserve in 2014 that celebrated the Antebellum South — the period before the Civil War when slavery was still allowed — that featured a photoshoot titled "The Allure of Antebellum" without acknowledging the atrocities that took place during the period.

"The term 'Southern Belle' came to fruition during the Antebellum period (prior to the Civil War), acknowledging women with an inherent social distinction who set the standards for style and appearance," read the website, according to Vox. "These women epitomized Southern hospitality with a cultivation of beauty and grace."

Lively has not commented specifically on the Antebellum spread, but acknowledged that the website fell short in a 2015 interview with Vogue about her decision to end Preserve.

“We have an incredible team of people who do beautiful work, but we launched the site before it was ready, and it never caught up to its original mission: It’s not making a difference in people’s lives, whether superficially or in a meaningful way,” Lively told Vogue.