Paul Wesley began his acting career in 1999 when, while still a high school student, he was cast on the daytime soap Guiding Light. He graduated in 2000 and entered Rutgers University for a semester, but decided to drop out to pursue more acting opportunities.
Then using his actual last name, Wasilewski, Wesley was a regular in the short-lived show Wolf Lake, and later recurred in American Dreams, 8 Simple Rules and Everwood, where he became more well-known. This led to roles in films such as Cloud 9 and Peaceful Warrior.
In 2005 he decided to change his professional name to Paul Wesley, citing the fact that his last name is hard to pronounce. From there he recurred in shows such as Army Wives and 24, and also appeared in the ABC Family mini-series Fallen. In 2009, he was cast as Stefan Salvatore in the popular CW series The Vampire Diaries.
- He speaks Polish fluently.
- Minority Report (uncredited, 2002)
- The Last Run (2004)
- Roll Bounce (2005)
- Cloud 9 (2006)
- Lenexa, 1 Mile (2006)
- Peaceful Warrior (2006)
- Killer Movie (2008)
- Elsewhere (2009)
- Beneath the Blue (2010)
- Guiding Light (regular, 1999-2001)
- Wolf Lake (regular, 2001-2002)
- American Dreams (recurring, 2002-2005)
- 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter (recurring, 2003-2004)
- Everwood (recurring, 2003-2004)
- Fallen (recurring, 2007)
- Cane (recurring, 2007)
- Army Wives (recurring, 2008-2009)
- 24 (recurring, 2009-2010)
- The Vampire Diaries (regular, 2009-present)
"Every role presents a new opportunity for me to do something different and to explore something different."
"I'm a city boy, and I thrive off of culture. Something about being on the streets of Manhattan revives me, so walking around and not having anonymity and just being recognized, would really take away that experience of being in a city."
"The same thing that makes me nervous, which is never knowing what will happen next. That's what I love about it. I never know what character I'm going to play next, I never know what location I'll be in next. With each new character, I find something new about myself that I didn't know before."
On being compared to Twilight's Robert Pattinson: "It makes me so uncomfortable. Nine of ten girls in this room would throw me under a bus to get to Edward Cullen."
On his favorite memory while working in Guiding Light: "The whole thing was a giant favorite memory because I was in high school and all my buddies had all these crap jobs. I felt like I was in Big. I was going into the city all by myself. I had this cool, adult job, and I was getting paid. It was just so amazing being in New York. Also, I made a lot of really good friends."
On how Guiding Light helped his career: "I got so lucky because I had just gotten into acting and I wasn't comfortable yet in front of the camera. I was exploring new territory and soaps are such amazing training. GL allowed me to be comfortable in front of the camera and really learn my lines. It prepared me for the future."
On his high school years: "I had a lot of extracurricular activities and I had one girlfriend that I consistently dated throughout high school. So that was always good. I was acting. I started acting junior year so I was actually out of school a lot."
On his Smallville role: "I can't be biased toward my own character. As Paul the actor, Lucas is a good guy but I'd say that about any character I played that did something bad. There's always denial."
On his parents: "They've been phenomenal supporters since day one. I went to college for a semester. They consistently preached, 'You've gotta get good grades. You've gotta go to a good school.'"
"I don't know anything about comic books. I've never seen a Star Wars in my life."
"When I was courting my first girlfriend, I was about 14 years old, and I sent a five-foot teddy bear to her house. It was so huge. But I had the wrong address and it was this whole mix-up. I wanted it to be this big surprise and they ended up calling her and saying, 'We're trying to deliver this teddy bear and we don't know where it is.' It was so embarrassing but she thought it was the most romantic thing ever because I was only 14 and what 14 year old does that?"
"I went to this private, all boys Catholic school and I got kicked out of there because I didn't jive well with them. Then I went to a public high school and I didn't really jive there either. So then I went to another school and then I graduated. So I never really got to establish my clique."
On changing his professional name to Wesley: "Wasilewski was too hard to pronounce! I asked my family's permission to change it, and it's really helped my career."