When you think about Leighton Meester, you most often associate the Hollywood starlet with her iconic performance as Blair Waldorf on the teen drama Gossip Girl.
For six seasons, Leighton portrayed a spoiled rich girl at the center stage of Manhattan's elite. Her character was born into privilege, as she wore the finest clothes, ate at the most expensive restaurants, and spent money like water.
However, Leighton’s real-life upbringing couldn’t be further away from her fictional alter ego’s lavish lifestyle.
Leighton was born on April 9, 1987 to a mother behind bars. Her mother Constance Meester had been sentenced to a Texas federal prison for drug trafficking. She had been involved in smuggling 1,200 pounds of marijuana into the U.S. from Jamaica.
29-year-old Constance gave birth to Leighton in a hospital before being transferred to a halfway house for three months. Leighton was then sent to live with her grandmother until her mother was released 16 months later.