The actor addressed their controversial wedding venue — Boone Hall Plantation & Gardens in Mount Pleasant, S.C. — in an interview with Fast Company, calling it a “giant f***ing mistake.” The venue has since released a statement, saying any conversation between them and Reynolds and Lively would be “private.”
“It’s something we’ll always be deeply and unreservedly sorry for,” said Reynolds, who the magazine described as “clearly pained by the hurt the wedding caused, as well as by his own lack of judgment.”
Reynolds says their decision is “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 also revealed that he and his wife, now parents to three, later exchanged their vows again at their own home. (They have a country home in Pound Ridge, N.Y. in addition to their NYC apartment.)
“Years ago we got married again at home — but shame works in weird ways,” he said. “A giant f***ing mistake like that can either cause you to shut down or it can reframe things and move you into action. It doesn’t mean you won’t f*** up again. But repatterning and challenging lifelong social conditioning is a job that doesn’t end.”
According to the article, Reynolds was forced to face his complicated personal history in the wake of George Floyd’s death and the resulting protests. During that time, Reynolds and Lively, who are among the most charitable stars, donated $200,000 to the NAACP. However, this is the first time either has addressed their problematic wedding venue.
Boone Hall Plantation has since released a statement to WCBD News 2 in Charleston, saying, “We treasure all our relationships with couples that have chosen to get married at Boone Hall, and, when needed, respond to them in private, honest, and personal discussions to address any concerns they may have. The discussions are heartfelt as we want to listen and put love and respect at the center of any issues that arise. We will always work to be a part of the solution for our couples, not a part of the problem.”
Reynolds and Lively made several trips to Charleston, S.C., prior to their secret wedding there in September 2012. Boone Hall Plantation & Gardens were already famous as a movie location — The Notebook filmed there. The couple shared exclusive photos from their event in Martha Stewart Weddings (then described as “romantic”). Florence Welch (of Florence and the Machine) performed for the 35 guests.
Of course, in the wake of Floyd’s death and demand for racial equality, we’ve seen the move to stop flying the Confederate flag, controversial monuments have been taken down and schools and some music groups renamed. And the film Gone With the Wind was temporally removed from streaming on HBO Max due to its glorification of plantations and slavery.
And plantation weddings have also fallen under scrutiny. It’s actually been a long time coming with bridal sites and publications including Pinterest and the Knot adopting new guidelines regarding wedding venues which operated as slave plantations, stemming from a campaign started by the civil rights advocacy group Color of Change. Singer Jill Scott recently expressed her bewilderment that plantations had been turned into cozy getaway spots, saying it’s like having a “bed-and-breakfast at Auschwitz.”
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