Gossip Girl star Leighton Meester’s mother was in prison when she was born.

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The brunette beauty – who plays ‘Park Lane princess’ Blair Waldorf in the hit US TV show – was welcomed into the world while her mother was serving a federal prison sentence in Texas, according to America’s Star magazine.

Leighton’s mother, who gave birth to the actress in April 1986, was permitted to stay in a halfway house for the labour and birth.

She was then forced to return to prison to complete her sentence for her role in a major drug-running ring on the same day Leighton turned three months old. Leighton was raised by a relative while her mother finished her sentence.

The 22-year-old actress’ father, grandfather and aunt have also reportedly spent time behind bars on charges of drug dealing.

Leighton shot to fame playing bad girl Blair on the TV show, which has been a worldwide hit, and loves starring as such a “conflicted” character.

She said recently: “The show needs to have conflict. If everyone was happy then it would suck. So we have a lot of conflict, believe me. And their conflict is very interesting, because it’s very internal. There are no real outward obstacles. It’s a lot of their own minds colliding with each other.”