A rundown of Paul Wesley’s personal life and professional career.
#24 Paul Thomas Wasilewski
Paul Wesley was actually born Paul Thomas Wasilewski on July 23, 1982 in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
#23 Paul’s Family
As his real last name would suggest, Paul is Polish, born to Agnieszka and Thomas Wasilewski. He has one older sister and two younger sisters.
#22 Paul and Poland
Growing up, he would spend one-third of his years in Poland, making him quite adept at his second language.
#21 Paul’s Education
After graduating from high school Paul went to Rutgers University, but dropped out after just one semester to pursue his acting career.
#20 The Name Change
Though he went by his original name for the first part of his career, Paul decided to change his professional name to Paul Wesley in 2005, simply because it was easier to pronounce.
#19 Guiding Light
While in high school, Wesley was cast as Max Nickerson, a juvenile delinquent, on the soap opera Guiding Light.
#18 Three Law and Order Roles
Wesley had two separate appearances on Law and Order: SVU, first as Paul Wasilewski in 2000 and later as Paul Wesley in 2005. In between he showed up on a different Law and Order spin-off, Criminal Intent.
#17 Wolf Lake
Before he was a vampire, Paul Wesley played a hot werewolf on this CBS drama.
#16 American Dreams
On this 1960s period drama, Wesley played Tommy, an all-American football player and friend of J.J.’s who was a little bit of a racist.
Wesley guest starred on an episode of this show as Lionel Luthor’s illegitimate son, Lex’s half-brother, who was wildly erratic and was willing to do anything to keep his wealth and power.
#14 The O.C.
In the first season of the show Wesley played Donnie, a guy much like Ryan who trained him at his restaurant job. Donnie resented the rich folks of Newport and when he was invited to a party, he brought a gun and accidentally shot Luke.
#13 8 Simple Rules
Paul Wesley showed up as a mysterious, hunky new kid at school who caught the eye of Kaley Cuoco’s character in the second season of this sitcom.
In season 2 Wesley played Tommy, a drug dealer who befriended and dated Amy following Colin’s death, leading her down a dangerous path that she came back from after going to a party and getting dosed with GHb.
Wesley had small roles in the two CSI spin-offs, Miami and NY, in back-to-back years in 2004 and 2005.
Wesley took the lead in this 2006 ABC Family miniseries about a high school student discovers that he’s actually half-human, half-angel.
Wesley had a recurring role on this CBS drama as a guy who seduced Katie Vega and filmed their sexual encounters. When she discovered this, her uncle went and beat Wesley’s character up. Coincidentally, the show also starred Wesley’s Vampire Diaries co-star, Michael Trevino.
#8 Army Wives
In season 2, Wesley played PFC Logan Atwater, Emmalin’s boyfriend, on this Lifetime series.
#7 Killer Movie
Wesley teamed up again with Kaley Cuoco in this 2008 comedy horror film about a documentary film crew that stumbles onto a series of murders while covering a small hockey team. The film also featured other CW stars, including One Tree Hill’s Robert Buckley and Gossip Girl’s Leighton Meester.
At the end of season 7 and again at the start of the final season, Wesley showed up as Stephen, Kim Bauer’s husband and the father of Jack Bauer’s granddaughter.
#5 The Vampire Diaries
In 2009 Paul Wesley landed the lead role in the CW series The Vampire Diaries, based on a popular series of books by L.J. Smith.
#4 Stefan Salvatore
On TVD Wesley plays Stefan Salvatore, who was turned into a vampire when he was 17 in the 1860s. Though he initially caused plenty of death and destruction, he befriended Lexi who taught him to control his sinister urges. Since then he was worked hard to be good, not feeding on humans and living his life quietly in the shadows.
#3 Stefan and Elena
In the present Stefan went against his desire to be isolated when he saw Elena Gilbert, who resembled his former vampire girlfriend Katherine Pierce. Stefan quickly fell in love and the two have maintained a passionate love affair, despite obvious problems since he’s a vampire.
#2 Stefan and Damon
Stefan has a complicated relationship with his brother Damon because Damon is much more cruel, but Stefan still loves him and struggles to balance protecting his brother and protecting those his brother might hurt. While the two are often at odds, there is a deep connection between the two that underlies everything they do and keeps them attached to one another.
In 2000, Wesley’s performance in Guiding Light earned him a YoungStar Award nomination for best Yong Actor on a Daytime Series. In 2010, Wesley won two Teen Choice Awards for favorite Male Breakout Star and Favorite Actor in a Sci-Fi/Fantasy Series, both for The Vampire Diaries.