"Vampire Diaries" Couple "Despised Each Other" in Real Life

Nina Dobrev and Paul Wesley both admitted that their relationship got off to a rocky start.

The teen drama The Vampire Diaries is about a human who ends up in a love triangle with two vampire brothers. But, in real life, star Nina Dobrev's relationships to co-stars Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder made for a very different dynamic. Both Dobrev and Wesley have admitted that they did not get along when they were first filming the show, with Dobrev going as far as saying that she and Wesley "despised" one another. On the other hand, Dobrev ended up dating Somerhalder for a few years in real life, making them a couple both on- and off-screen. Read on to find out more about Dobrev and Wesley's strained working relationship and to see where they stand today.

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Dobrev said she and Wesley had chemistry because they disliked each other.

Paul Wesley and Nina Dobrev at the 2009 Summer Television Critics Association Press Tour
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

As reported by Us Weekly, while appearing on the podcast Directionally Challenged in June 2019, Dobrev said that she and Wesley hated each other when they started filming The Vampire Diaries, which premiered in 2009. The show ran for eight seasons until 2017; Dobrev left the show after Season 6, but returned for the end of the final season.

"Paul and I didn't get along at the beginning of the show," Dobrev said on the podcast. "I respected Paul Wesley, I didn't like Paul Wesley. I remember everyone would walk up to me after the show aired and they'd be like, 'Are you and Paul dating in real life?' Everyone thought that we had such good chemistry. I realize now that there's a fine line between love and hate and we despised each other so much that it read as love but … We really just didn't get along the first five months of shooting."

Wesley confirmed that they "clashed."

Paul Wesley and Nina Dobrev at the 2010 Winter TCA Tour
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

A couple of months later, in August 2019, Wesley corroborated Dobrev's version of events.

"I think the point that Nina was making, and I'll totally back her up on this, is that we totally clashed [the] first couple years in terms of just getting on each other's nerves," Wesley said at a Television Critics Association press tour, according to Us Weekly.

He continued, "I think sometimes when people work together nonstop, do press nonstop for years and years on end, you're just—you don't appreciate the person that's in front of you. You're like, 'Oh, you know, I'm exhausted and tired.'"

RELATED: Chris Kattan Says Will Ferrell Stopped Taking His Calls After A Night at the Roxbury.

Wesley's audition strategy got their relationship off to a rocky start.

Paul Wesley, Nina Dobrev, Ian Somerhalder, and Kat Graham at the 2012 Teen Choice Awards
s_bukley / Shutterstock

In a more recent interview with the podcast Inside of You in August 2023, Wesley said that he had a strategy when it came to his first audition with Dobrev, which might have started them off on the wrong foot.

"I had a real specific approach. Nina—who was already cast as the lead—was there and everybody in that audition room during that process was kissing her [expletive] because she was in the hallways," the 41-year-old actor said (via Us Weekly). "Everyone was going up to her and saying hi. And I was like, '[Expletive] that. I'm not going to look her in the eye and I'm also not going to introduce myself. I'm just gonna sit in the corner.'"

Wesley said he did this because their characters, Stefan and Elena, weren't supposed to know each other until the scene they were performing.

"Nina remembers this, and I just remember her looking over at me wanting to say hi to me and introduce herself. I just turned away. I think she thought initially, like, 'Who the [expletive] does this guy think he is?'" Wesley said. But, he said the plan was worth it. "It was just a very magical moment," he added of the audition. "And I felt it. She felt [it] and I know all those studio executives felt it. And I think that's what landed me the part."

They eventually became great friends.

Nina Dobrev and Paul Wesley at the 2020 InStyle and Warner Bros. Golden Globes Post-Party
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for InStyle

Dobrev and Wesley's relationship changed as filming went on, and they ended up becoming close friends. On Directionally Challenged, Dobrev said that they "had a moment where we actually connected," and Wesley told her, "Ten years from now, when we're not on this show, you're gonna really miss me. You're gonna miss these times; you're look back, and this is gonna be the good old days." She continued, "He was so [expletive] right. We ended up getting to a good place and it was fine. Of everyone, I think I probably see him the most and hang out with him the most. We're probably the closest … It's so funny how time changes everything because I never thought he would be one of my best friends."

As for Wesley, he said at the Television Critics Association event that he sees his and Dobrev's changing relationship as "a nice sort of story because we're such good friends now." The actor added, "I think it was a cool lesson to learn. It's like the people that kind of maybe you don't get along with in the beginning later surprise you, and I think a lot of my friendships are like that."

Dobrev stayed friends with Somerhalder after their breakup.

Dobrev and Somerhalder were a real-life couple from 2010 to 2013. After they broke up, the actors remained friends, and Dobrev is also close to his wife, Nikki Reed.

As reported by People, during a 2019 appearance on Watch What Happens Live, Dobrev was asked by a caller if it's "weird" to hang out with her ex and his wife together.

"I don't think that's weird at all. I think that's great," she responded. "Why can't everyone be friends? I think they have a beautiful baby, and they are happy and so am I. What's bad about that? I don't see any problem with that."

When it comes to Dobrev's love life, since 2020 she has been dating Olympic gold medalist snowboarder Shaun White.

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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