Ian Joseph Somerhalder (born December 8, 1978) is an American actor, model and director. He is known for playing Boone Carlyle in the TV drama Lost and Damon Salvatore in The CW’s supernatural drama The Vampire Diaries.
Somerhalder was born and raised in Covington, Louisiana, the son of Edna, a massage therapist, and Robert Somerhalder, an independent building contractor. He is the second of three children, with an older brother, Robert, and younger sister, Robyn. He attended St. Paul’s, a private Catholic school in Covington. He embarked on a modeling career from age 10 to 13, and by the age of 17 he decided to go into acting.
In the summer of 2000, Somerhalder starred in the short-lived WB series Young Americans, a spin-off of Dawson’s Creek. He played Hamilton Fleming, the son of the dean of a prestigious boarding school. In 2002, Somerhalder played bisexual character Paul Denton in Roger Avary’s adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ novel, The Rules of Attraction, alongside James Van Der Beek, Shannyn Sossamon, and Jessica Biel.
In 2004, Somerhalder scored his breakthrough role when he played Boone Carlyle in the hit TV show Lost. Despite his character’s death in the twentieth episode of the first season, Somerhalder returned to the role of Boone for seven more episodes between 2005 and 2010, including the series finale. Somerhalder was one of the first actors to be cast in a role for the series and the first major character to die.
In 2009, Somerhalder appeared in the movie The Tournament where he played the role of an assassin participating in a lethal competition with other assassins. He appears in the coffee table book About Face by celebrity photographer John Russo.
In June 2009, Somerhalder was cast in the role of Vampire Damon Salvatore as a series regular in The CW television drama series The Vampire Diaries. The series premiere attracted The CW’s highest premiere ratings of any season premiere since the network began in 2006. The series has continued to be the highest rated series on its channel with both Somerhalder’s performance and the show receiving a positive response from critics. Somerhalder has received several Teen Choice Award’s and a People’s Choice Award for his participation on the series.
In September 2011, Somerhalder confirmed that he and his The Vampire Diaries co-star Nina Dobrev were dating. In May 2013, it was reported that they had ended their relationship.
In mid-2014, Somerhalder began dating actress Nikki Reed. They confirmed their engagement in February 2015, and married on April 26, 2015, in Malibu, California.