updated 08/05/2009 AT 11:00 AM ET
•originally published 08/05/2009 AT 11:50 AM ET
Leighton Meester understands that being on a buzzed-about show automatically puts her in the spotlight – but she doesn’t have to like it.
“I don’t want most of what comes along with all of this,” says the Gossip Girl star in the September issue of Harper’s Bazaar, on newsstands Aug. 18.
One particular downside of fame is a rumored sex tape of the star with an ex-boyfriend that has allegedly been shopped around. “[The tape] is not real, so it makes me sort of sad,” says the actress. “It’s unfortunate that it got carried as far as it did.”
Meester says the rumor has taught her some lessons about life. “I definitely understand the nature of people better now and that the mere allegation of something like that could be headline news. People think it’s real because somebody says it is.”
But the star has friends who watch out for her. “I feel like my friends are in a cult because we’re like, ‘No outsiders!’ ” she says. “I ve never been crazy. I’m a very good girl, to be honest. I don’t do anything to hurt anybody. Honestly, all I ever do is work.”
At work, costar Ed Westwick is one person who can vouch for Meester’s sweetness – and her natural good looks. “The first thing I thought when I met Leighton was hell, this girl s gorgeous. And she was incredibly sweet.”