When she was born, her mother was serving time in federal prison for drug trafficking. (Leighton was not born in jail, but delivered in a hospital and then transferred to a halfway house for three months, and then sent to live with her grandmother until Constance's release.) Her father, Doug, also served time in prison. The couple would later divorce. Leighton Meester also has a younger brother who is 8 years younger.
Leighton grew up in Marco Island, Florida. She got the acting bug when she played a citizen of Emerald City in a local production of "The Wizard of Oz."
Leighton Meester began modeling when she was 10, signed with Wilhelmina Models and appeared in Ralph Lauren ads, and moved from Florida to New York. At 13, she made her TV acting debut in an episode of "Law & Order." At 14, she and her mother moved to Los Angeles, where she took acting classes and auditioned for pilots. While in Los Angeles, she went to Hollywood High School and Beverly Hills High School.
Other roles followed, including parts on "Tarzan," "Crossing Jordan," "8 Simple Rules," "7th Heaven," "Veronica Mars," "Entourage," and "24," among others. But it was her role as Blair Waldorf on "Gossip Girl" that made her a star.
Leighton Meester has since branched out into more feature roles, including "Date Night," "Country Strong," and "The Roommate."
In her spare time, Leighton Meester writes music and tours when she can. In 2009, she signed a recording contract with Universal Republic. She has released the singles "Somebody to Love," and "Your Love's a Drug."
Leighton Meester is also the face of the fragrance Lovestruck.
In an interview with Marie Claire, Leighton Meester said, "My family has a crazy history. Probably the craziest I've ever heard of. I look back now and I see it in a nice light. It wasn't uncomplicated, but I played outside, I went to the beach. There were happy, fun times." She added, "You can take what is handed to you and use it as an excuse to mess up. But I've always handled what was given to me by life. I consider myself lucky. I was never lied to. And I was loved."
She told Seventeen magazine, "I've only had one experience where it was really hard [to end a relationship] and I was really sad when it ended, but that's what taught me a lot about myself and love and life " and that's good."