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 October 2012 it was reported that Somerhalder had been cast in the film Time Framed, which had begun filming in Los Angeles
Somerhalder at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. Somerhalder was involved in the cleanup after the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling disaster on April 22, 2010. His efforts included cleaning of oiled wildlife and taping public service announcements to let the public know how they could help. Somerhalder also supports the St. Tammany Humane Society, an organization for animal shelter and welfare. On November 13, 2010, he hosted a Bash on the Bayou charity fundraiser for the Society. During the event, Somerhalder was presented with a donation of $11,100 by The Vampire Diaries fandom for his birthday project.
Together with his The Vampire Diaries co-stars Candice Accola and Michael Trevino, Somerhalder supports the It Gets Better Project, which makes it a goal to prevent suicide among LGBT youth associated with The Trevor Project. Somerhalder announced, via Twitter and in various interviews that he was setting up "Ian Somerhalder Foundation" (launched on December 8, 2010, Somerhalder's 32nd birthday), which he hopes will educate people on the importance of protecting the environment and animals: "Instead of gifts this year, my birthday wish is that we come together and raise funds to support projects that protect our habitat and nurture our furry friends. He opposes GMO foods and factory farming, and supports visionary ecologist Allan Savory in his crusade to let cows graze in sync with nature to enrich soil, enhance biodiversity, and reverse climate change. In 2011 Somerhalder visited Savory in Africa and announced he was making a documentary about him with the goal of winning him a Nobel Prize.
Somerhalder is also a celebrity campaigner for RYOT, a Los Angeles-based media company known for RYOT.org, its cause-based, take action online news source.
In mid-2010, Somerhalder began dating his co-star from The Vampire Diaries Nina Dobrev. The couple split in May 2013. 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