Why Author Colleen Hoover Calls It Ends With Us' Popularity "Bittersweet"

Colleen Hoover, whose It Ends With Us romance novel will be adapted into a movie with Blake Lively, shared the complicated feelings she has over its success.

By Alyssa Morin Jul 11, 2023 10:45 PMTags
Watch: It Ends With Us Author Reacts to Film Backlash

For Colleen Hoover, the mega-success of It Ends With Us comes with a plot twist.

The New York Times bestselling author, whose 2016 romance novel centers around a woman trapped in an abusive relationship, recently explained why she has complicated feelings about its popularity.

"It's a little bittersweet," Colleen told Today's Jenna Bush Hager, "because it's been on The New York Times for so long. But why? Because people resonate with it. And it's kind of a sad subject to resonate with."

In fact, no one understands that more than the 43-year-old, whose book hits too close to home. As Colleen pointed out, her book was loosely inspired by her parent's relationship.

"One of my earliest memories was him throwing a TV at her," Colleen recalled of her father's treatment towards her mother. "We grew up in an abusive household up to that point."

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Leaving those situations is never easy, Colleen noted.

"She was able to get out of that relationship," she shared. "And then from then on, I just remember growing up with a mother who was so strong and independent."

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While Colleen may find the success of It Ends With Us bittersweet, she said there's no better feeling than connecting with her readers.

"Seeing that these books that I write with no intentions have led people to make huge decisions in their life—books really are life-changing," she explained. "And the more I write, the more I realize that...it's not just a hobby. It's not just something you do as an escape."

As she put it, "You can read something and not realize that you're gonna connect to it on a level that inspires you to leave your abusive situation, you know? They're important."


Come next year, readers will get to see the characters from It Ends With Us come to life on the big screen. Keep reading for everything there is to know about the movie adaptation starring Blake Lively and Jane the Virgin alum Justin Baldoni.

What It Ends With Us Is About

Gird your loins as pop culture's next great love triangle is about to begin. Based on Colleen Hoover's bestselling 2016 novel of the same name, which dominated TikTok in 2022, It Ends With Us is bringing to life the romance drama centering on a beautiful florist. 

"Though coming from a complicated past, Lily Bloom has always known the life she wants," the film's synopsis read. "While living in Boston, she meets neurosurgeon Ryle Kincaid and believes she may very well have found her soul mate. Soon, however, questions arise about their relationship, and to complicate matters her high school love interest, Atlas Corrigan, comes back into the picture, putting her relationship with Ryle in jeopardy."

So, which actors are portraying Lily, Ryle and Atlas? 

Blake Lively Is Lily Bloom

"A flower that's still blooming."

That is how the film's official Instagram account described the Gossip Girl alum's character, who is the florist at the center of a love triangle. To portray the beloved character, Blake dyed her signature blonde tresses red. Fans got their first look at Blake's fiery new hue when she was spotted on the New York-area set.

Hello, Ryle Kincaid

Not only will Justin Baldoni portray Lily's complicated doctor love interest, but the Jane the Virgin star is also directing the movie. 

As for the rest of the behind-the-scenes team, both Justin and Blake as well as Colleen will have creative say as executive producers. Other producers include Alex Saks (The Florida Project) and Christy Hall (I Am Not Okay With This), who is writing the script, per a press release from Wayfarer Studios and Sony Pictures.

Getting In Character

Blake isn't the only cast member changing up her hairstyle for her character as Justin chopped off his long hair prior to filming to achieve Ryle's clean-cut look. Justin documented his haircut in an April 15 Instagram video, revealing he was donating his strands to Locks of Love.

In addition to cutting his hair, Justin also revealed he was hitting the gym. "A lot of change in one week," Justin captioned an April 17 gym selfie. "Cut my hair. Started eating carbs. And now I'm seeking validation from strangers on the internet by posting thirst traps. Wait …is this a thirst trap? Just Googled it. Don't google thirst trap."

Meet Atlas Corrigan

Brandon Sklenar—star of the Yellowstone spinoff 1923is set to play Atlas, Lily's childhood friend and former flame who becomes a romantic rival for Ryle. 

Justin confirmed Brandon's casting on Twitter April 20, writing, "Ladies and gentleman… meet your #Atlas."

After the news was announced, Brandon took to Instagram to share a heartfelt message about joining the movie.

"When this project came along I wasn't aware of this book or the tremendous impact it has had on women all over the world in helping them to have the strength to change their lives," he wrote on April 21. "This is something very personal to me. The amount of women I've known who have been victims of abuse is staggering. It is our intention that this film continues to spread the vital message of this book; for women to feel empowered and men to be better. I'm honored to be a part of it."

A Family Affair

It was announced May 1 that Jenny Slate had joined the film's roster as Allysa, Ryle's sister and Lily's best friend. "Pinch me," Justin wrote on Instagram of the Saturday Night Live alum's casting. "Hey sis!"

Describing Jenny as "one of the most talented humans," Colleen admitted on social media that she "can't even believe she'll be in this movie."

And Young Lily Is...

The actress picked to portray a younger version of Blake is Isabela Ferrer, according to IMDb.

Justin confirmed in April 2023 that they had found their star following an extensive search that included an open casting call on social media."Thank you for being a part of the process, it was inspiring and all of the messages we received was just validation for why we're making this movie and why this movie is so important," he shared on Instagram. "We found our young Lily, we'll be announcing her soon."

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