Leighton Meester: 5 Things to Know

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The "Gossip Girl" star -- in a heated legal battle with her mother -- had a unique upbringing.

Leighton Meester filed a lawsuit last week, accusing her mother, Constance Meester of using Leighton’s money meant for her brother for plastic surgery. Constance fired back with her own lawsuit, accusing her daughter of breaching a contract in which Leighton was required to pay her mother $10,000 per month.

Here are five things to know about the CW star’s upbringing, television career and music and film ambitions.

1. Leighton Meester was born in a Texas federal prison, where her mother, Constance, was serving time for a drug conviction. Meesters’ grandmother raised her while Constance served 16 months in prison. "It makes me very nonjudgmental and open-minded. And I think it just makes me appreciate the things that I have now,” Meester told Us Weekly in 2008. “She's always there for me no matter what. I swear, that woman knows everything,” Meester said of her mother in the interview.

2. Meester made her television debut in 1999 on Law and Order. In the episode “Disciple,” Meester plays Alyssa Turner. When a teen is found dead in a hospital ER, the investigators find a bizarre religious ritual may be related to the crime. She also had roles on House M.D., Numb3rs, CSI: Miami and Shark.

3. Meester has starred in Gossip Girl as Blair Waldorf since 2007. She says she plans to leave the CW series in 2012 when her contract expires, according to E! Online. Meester says she "obviously enjoys working on the show and living in New York,” but hopes to pursue other interests outside of the show, such as developing her film career.

4. Meester has released two singles, “Somebody to Love” in 2009, and  “Your Love’s a Drug” in 2010. Signed under Universal Republic, Meester was supposed to release an album in early 2010, according to MTV.  It was then pushed back until late 2010, and has yet to be released. Meester brought her vocal chords to the big screen in the 2010 film Country Strong, singing a cover of Rascal Flatts’ “Words I Couldn’t Say.”

5. Meester has been working on two upcoming films: The Oranges with Hugh Laurie, and I Hate You Dad, opposite Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg. On Twitter, Meester called I Hate You Dad the “funnest set ever.”