Ian Somerhalder is a self-described cliché — model turned actor. But who can blame him? What was he supposed to do with that dramatic jawline, animated eyebrows and smoldering blue eyes? He grew up Southern and outdoorsy, but also developed an early love for local and school theater. His mom encouraged him to begin modeling at 10 years old and jobs took him to New York every summer. He made the transition to acting in the late ‘90s. His first lead role was in the much-hyped but short-lived “Young Americans,” which also introduced the world to Kate Bosworth, Charlie Hunnam and Matt Czuchry. Then it was back to small parts in films and shows like “CSI: Miami” and “The Rules Of Attraction” until he landed a recurring role in “Smallville” and “Lost” in 2004. After finally getting off the island in 2009, he sunk his teeth into playing Damon Salvatore on The CW’s “Vampire Diaries.” Just as his character eventually fell for Nina Dobrev, so did Somerhalder. The costars dated from September 2011 to May 2013. A little less than a year later, a longtime friendship with Nikki Reed turned romantic around the same time the Twilight actress announced her split and then divorce from American Idol alum Paul McDonald. The duo, known for their heavy bouts of PA, quickly adopted a horse together. Somerhalder plans to open up an animal sanctuary via his namesake animal and environmental foundation.
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