On the hit Netflix show YOU, Penn Badgley plays a love-sick serial killer. Without giving away too much of the plot, his character, Joe Goldberg, is more than a little obsessive with each of his girlfriends. While his on-screen love life is off-putting and toxic (to say the least), Badgley’s real-life relationship status is much more sweet. The actor is married to Domino Kirke.
Channeling Joe a teensy bit — but in a 100% not creepy way — Badgley got poetic on Instagram and described his wife as such: “A truly radiant soul, you seem to spark alight almost everyone you meet, like a 99% success rate. It’s really impressive, and quite mysterious… Your great capacity for empathy is obvious, something anyone can get warm by like a glowing stove. Your desire to be of service to others is miraculous.”
Beyond her husband’s gushy prose, there’s plenty more to know about Kirke. In addition to having a famous spouse, Kirke’s two sisters are also actors. She’s got an admirable career herself — and an artistic side hustle. Don’t worry, you don’t have to do any internet stalking like Badgley’s YOU character; everything you need to know about her is right here in this article.
Penn Badgley and Domino Kirke tied the knot twice
Badgley and Kirke first started dating in 2014 and got married in a Brooklyn courthouse ceremony in February 2017, per People. They tied the knot again in June of that year. According to Vogue, the reception took place in Upstate New York on her mother’s property and included celebrity guests like Law & Order SVU‘s Mariska Hargitay and Will & Grace‘s Debra Messing. Kirke shared a pic of her groom on Instagram, writing, “‘You only get married twice, once’ I love you @pennbadgley.”
Speaking on the speed of their relationship, she later told I-D, “It all happened quite quickly. I got married and it was a bit of a whirlwind I wasn’t expecting for the next phase for Penn [Badgley] and I. To be honest, it came as a huge surprise.” According to a 2017 W Magazine profile, Badgley and Kirke live in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn together with her son Cassius. Kirke told Us Weekly in October 2019 that Badgley is a “really good stepdad,” explaining, “He doesn’t have to be ‘dad’ so he can have more fun with him… He takes care of him really well.” It’s actually because of her son that Kirke decided to pursue her current career path.
Domino Kirke works as a doula
According to her Instagram bio, Domino Kirke is the co-founder and director of Carriage House Birth. Per their website, CHB is a doula agency in New York and Los Angeles that “offers education, emotional, and non-clinical physical support to their clients during the perinatal period for parents to be and the Doulas who support them.” In early January 2020, Kirke wrote a column for the New York Times‘ Parenting section, explaining the inspiration behind her work. Prior to marrying Badgley, she had a child at age 25 and her own doula was not as supportive as she’d hoped. That experience made her want to change the cycle by becoming a doula herself.
As Kirke wrote, “It has helped heal me to become that presence for others. These days I train doulas, and we teach them not to bring their baggage to the most important moments of someone’s life —because it’s not about them. We are there to listen and watch, and to help our clients meet their goal, whether it is a hospital induction without fear or a loving home birth.” Kirke frequently posts on Instagram about the doula mentorship courses she teaches. And, according to Us Weekly, she even helped welcome Amy Schumer’s baby, Gene, in October 2019.
She's also a musician — and it runs in the family
In addition to working as a doula, Domino Kirke is also a musician. When she released new music back in 2017, Badgley was the ever-supportive partner, writing on Instagram, “@dominokirke has released an album of gorgeous music that will stand the test of time.” Music is also something that’s bonded the couple. Kirke told I-D in 2017 that they hoped to write a record together someday.
Considering the fact that her father, Simon Kirke, was a drummer in not one, but two bands — Free and Bad Company — it’s clear that music runs in the 36-year-old’s family. She told I-D, “We were always encouraged to make art… It influenced me heavily growing up with artistic parents.” In an interview with W magazine, Kirke recalled, “We moved so much, but in every house we ever had, there was always a piano. There was always music and always musicians in and out.”
By her early 20s, she was in a band called DOMINO and her accomplishments included touring with Lily Allen and recording with Mark Ronson. While she took a step back from music when she became a mom, Kirke dove back in with her 2017 album Beyond Waves, telling W, “It was just really therapeutic for me to write these songs, like a cathartic experience… I just needed to get these words out, you know?”
Her sister is Jemima Kirke from HBO's Girls
Not only does Domino Kirke have a musically talented dad, but she also has two sisters who act. The London-born family includes Lola Kirke from Mozart in the Jungle and Jemima Kirke from HBO’s Girls. Jemima told New York Family in February 2017 that she and Domino bond over parenthood. “If we ever fight, or don’t understand each other, or can’t relate, there’s always something we can appreciate in each other — that we’re both mothers.”
Of course, Kirke’s two sisters attended her and Penn Badgley’s courthouse wedding, along with her son. Lola celebrated the big day on Instagram and joked about their outfit choices, writing, “When someone gets married in a courthouse, it’s really an open invitation to everyone but the beautiful bride to explore all that fashion has to offer. Here, I try a look simply called ‘Pants,’ as Cassius goes for ‘That Dude from #incubus’ and Jemima experiments with ‘Off to Therapy!” No matter what they’re wearing, the sisters are by each other’s side for major moments and that’s what matters.
Domino Kirke is open about her sobriety
Back in August 2017, Domino Kirke opened up to I-D about her sobriety. At the time, she was three years sober, explaining, “I never really was a big partier, but it kind of caused me to be in these melancholy, depressive states that were more of the problem. It wasn’t the actual going out at night and being crazy, it was more the way I was feeling in-between.” She further explained that she grew up around “substance issues” and wanted to “stop a cycle.”
She expanded on the subject in an interview with The Fold Mag a few months later, saying, “I’d been working so hard to try and make peace with my childhood, that it didn’t feel right to be doing exactly what I grew up around. I was trying to heal from the affects of alcoholism, [so] I had to get it out of my life.” She’s made an active effort to find peace with herself, whether through music or other forms of healing like meditation.
From the sound of it, Kirke is a wise, talented, and bighearted woman — whether she’s making music or helping deliver babies. And husband Penn Badgley is right there to support her along the way.
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