It's been almost eight years since Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds tied the knot. In a new interview with Fast Company, the 43-year-old actor looked back at their 2012 wedding and opened up about his regrets over having it at Boone Hall, a former slave plantation in South Carolina.
"It's something we'll always be deeply and unreservedly sorry for," the Deadpool star said. "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."
Reynolds noted the couple "got married again" at home years ago. However, he said "shame works in weird ways."
"A giant f--king mistake like that can either cause you to shut down or it can reframe things and move you into action," he continued. "It doesn't mean you won't f--k up again. But repatterning and challenging lifelong social conditioning is a job that doesn't end."
Lively and Reynolds have since focused on fighting racial injustice. For instance, they made a $1 million donation to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and spoke out about their commitment to change in an Instagram post.
"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," the pair wrote in a statement posted to the social network in May. "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."
In the post, Lively and Reynolds explained they've been teaching their children differently than the way their parents taught them.
"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," they continued. "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."
They also wrote about how they're committed to raising their children "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."
The couple continued, "It's the least we can do to honor not just George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and Eric Garner, but all the Black men and women who have been killed when a camera wasn't rolling."
In addition, they contributed another $200,000 to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and shared how they "stand in awe of this organization and its leader Sherrilyn Ifill."
"And this is just the start," Lively and Reynolds continued. "We also pledge to stay educated and vote in every election. We want to know the positions of school board nominees, sheriffs, mayors, councilpersons. We want to know their positions on justice. But mainly we want to use our privilege and platform to be an ally. And to play a part in easing pain for so many who feel as though this grand experiment is failing them."
They then linked to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and encouraged their followers to take action.
"There are petitions to sign, representatives to call, money to be donated, calls to action, or simply information to better understand the issues and how each and every one of us can help," they concluded.
Reynolds also recently launched The Group Effort Initiative to help drive diversity and inclusion in the film industry.
"We'll be bringing on between 10 and 20 trainees who are Black, Indigenous, people of color or people from marginalized and excluded communities. Of all ages," Reynolds wrote on the program's website. "These new recruits will be paid and housed out of my salary and will spend their days on set learning from professionals and getting real-life experience that they can then parlay into another job and another job and hopefully a career in the film industry."
Several companies in the wedding industry have been promoting change, too. In 2019, sites like Pinterest and The Knot announced they're stopping the promotion of venues and content that romanticize weddings at former slave plantations.
To read Reynolds' full interview, check out Fast Company.