Elena Gilbert might have a hard time choosing between the Salvatore brothers on The Vampire Diaries, but for a long time, Nina Dobrev was Team Ian Somerhalder.
Ever since becoming co-stars, Nina and Ian developed into a very cute power couple.
They were usually shy to speak openly about their relationship, but they often showed their affection. Unfortunately, on May 9, 2013, their breakup was announced by several news outlets. So how did their romance progress? Let’s start from the first signs of the budding relationship and work our way through the timeline, shall we?
November 2010: Testing the Waters Down Under
Eyebrows really started to raise about the potential hook-up alert between Nina and Ian back when they were spotted spending downtime Down Under together, bonding over the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. The romantic locale served as a perfect place for the duo to test the waters between them… literally. They were even photographed snorkeling together!
February 2011: Valentine’s Day Confusion
By Valentine’s Day, all eyes were on Nina and Ian to see whether the pair had stepped out of the friend zone. While they were reportedly seen “canoodling”and “focused on each other” at a restaurant near Atlanta for the special occasion, some mixed signals came by way of Ian’s tweet, which unromantically referred to the holiday as “corporate” and “a conspiracy of florists&chocolatiers.” To be fair, he also admitted the day serves as a good excuse to spread a little love.
March 2011: Nina Puts the Kibosh on the Romantic Buzz
A month later, Nina seemed to flat-out deny the romance rumors to Teen Vogue but admitted to understanding how people could suspect they were an item. “A lot of people who work together end up dating, so it wouldn’t be unusual,” she said, “but I’ve never dated anyone I’ve worked with.” To us, that sentence came with an unspoken caveat of “… yet.”
April 2011: Cozying Up at Coachella
Despite Nina’s recent denial of their involvement, she and Ian were spotted looking awfully cozy at the Coachella Music Festival that April.
April 2011: Whose Hat is That?
Couples who spend a lot of time together begin to look and dress alike. So, when Nina was seen sporting Ian’s cute newsboy cap just two days after he’d had it on, it seemed like it could be more than just a friendly gesture.
May 2012: Paris Is for Lovers and Moms
It’s serious stuff when the ‘rents get involved, so when Nina and Ian were pictured visiting Paris alongside both of their mothers, both wearing smiles for days and being adorably touchy-feely with each other while sightseeing in the City of Light, it became pretty clear that their relationship was poised to reach heights to rival the Eiffel Tower itself.
June 2011: Little Red Dress
When the 2011 MTV Movie Awards came along, and Nina was spotted wearing a dress similar to that of Twilight star Kristen Stewart, a lot of folks began to compare the two starlets. But for Ian, Nina was the clear winner. He took to Twitter to compliment the lady in red, writing, “Uhh,Nina gets my vote. That dress is like skin-tight wrapping paper around a beautiful gift! Wow.” Who else thinks it sounded like he wanted to be the one to unwrap her?
June 2011: Stepping Out Hand-in-Hand
The couple seemed to formally come out as a couple when they arrived for the 2011 MuchMusic Awards hand-in-hand, and both were positively glowing. Ian even name-dropped her as the person he was most excited to see. It was a coronation of sorts for what has become one of TV’s reigning hottest off-screen couples, especially since they were spotted sharing a smooch behind-the-scenes. Still, nothing was officially official just yet.
July 2011: Summer Lovin’ at Comic-Con
The trail of clues continued to be riddled with witnessed displays of affection between the two, as they were seen during July’s San Diego Comic-Con event together and “inseparable,” with Ian seeming “very protective” of his lady as he fetched them drinks. The party reportedly carried over to the Camp Playboy Bash, where they were sleuthed sharing kisses and stroking one another’s lovely locks.
September 2011: Emmys Arm Candy
With all of the couple-y behavior that had been going down between Nina and Ian all year, some expected the two to walk arm-in-arm down the red carpet of the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards. But Nina faced the media solo and remarked, "Ian is here somewhere, somewhere on the red carpet. He's definitely — if I was standing next to him I would be his arm candy, but um, yeah, I guess that's all I can say right now...” While they wound up posing for a few photo ops together later on in the night, they didn’t give a definitive answer to the question of their coupledom by their red carpet behavior. But aha! After the awards show, the duo hit the Governor’s Ball together, where they were seen both holding hands and locking lips. Forget being arm candy; Nina got to be the kissing partner that night!
September 2011: Fine Dining
Pretty soon, the rate of romantic date sightings of the pair began to increase, especially within the Atlanta scene. The way to a man’s heart is through his… well, you know.
January 2012: No Proposal
It didn’t take long for the story of Nina and Ian’s supposed off-screen relationship to get stretched by the tabloids. In Touch first reported a story that Ian had proposed to Nina over the holidays and that she refused him, but US Weekly dispelled that rumor altogether. With the denial of the proposal story came a seeming confirmation that the two were indeed a very happy couple in another US story entitled “Why We Love Each Other.” However, the two later backtracked on the couple talk. “We haven’t told anyone anything," Nina insisted to Nylon. (More on that later.)
January 2012: People’s Choice Not to Get Engaged
Following the big “no proposal” news, Nina and Ian attended the 2012 People's Choice Awards and commented on the situation. Contending that if there’d been a proposal, there would’ve been a ring on her finger, Nina then told Access Hollywood, “I’m a career woman and a young, very driven woman and I’ve got a lot I have to accomplish before I settle down and have kids and do any of that.” Ian added his own two cents, saying “If it were true, I would admit to it, ‘cause getting turned down builds character!”
January 2012: Not Kissing and Telling
In an interview for Nylon’s February 2012 issue, Nina put a few highly-cited quotes from the US Weekly article into perspective. Ian had been quoted by US praising Nina for her ability to “experience and appreciate everything around her, and chuckle and enjoy it,” while Nina lauded Ian for being “a glass-half-full kind of guy.” To Nylon, though, she said that she and her TVD co-stars who participated in the interview were asked several questions about each other and that those responses were cherry-picked from the innocuous “What do you love about your co-stars?” pool. She also added the telling statement, “We haven’t told anyone anything.”
February 2012: Academy Awards After-Party Action
During Hollywood’s biggest night, Nina and Ian ditched their previous efforts to stay below the radar during Elton John’s Oscar-viewing Party and shared some personal space — and dance moves — with each other for all to see.
April 2012: Fifty Shades of Ian
Ian Somerhalder has long been a favorite for the role of Christian Grey for the Fifty Shades of Grey book-to-film adaptation, but in an interview with On Air With Ryan Seacrest, Ian indicated he’d rather keep himself out of trouble and keep a proverbially “happy home” than to show any interest in who’d star opposite him for the female role of Anastasia Steele. Probably a good call, Ian!
April 2012: Coachella Kisses
Coachella Round Two! This year, the couple didn’t hold back and were photographed sharing sweet smooches during the show.
May 2012: Big Affection in the Big Apple
What a difference a year makes. Whereas the year before fans were still “are they or aren’t they”-ing themselves over Nina stepping out with Ian’s hat on her head, by May of this year they were seen prancing around New York City together, unabashedly holding hands and both wearing (matchy) hats!
September 2012: Nina Goes Public
As the Seventeen cover girl for October, Nina gave a lengthy interview to the magazine. She admitted, “The first time I was on the cover of Seventeen, the cover line said 'Nina: Why she wouldn’t date any of her co-stars.' And then cut to two years later,” Nina told the magazine. “It's funny that I said that, but you know what? It was honestly what I believed at the time. I didn’t want to be dating one of my co-stars — my goal on the show was to be professional. But sometimes you can’t help who you have a connection with, and you can only fight it for so long — which I did for a really, really long time.”
December 2012: China Bound
After spending their holidays together, Ian and Nina took a trip to China together. While it was mostly business, we’re sure they got in some cozy alone-time, too.
January 2013: Making Eyes at the Critics’ Choice
In January 2013, Ian and Nina were so in love that they only had eyes for each other at the Critics’ Choice Awards, according to onlookers. “Seriously, they spent most of the evening gazing into each other’s eyes. They’re utterly smitten,” said one.
February 2, 2013: Friendly Competition
During Super Bowl weekend, Ian and Nina competed against one another at the Celebrity Beach Bowl. They didn’t let the competition to go their heads and several photos of them hugging and laughing together were taken.
February 16, 2013: Ian Flies Solo
Though they often vacationed together, Ian decided to head for a silent retreat by his lonesome while Nina stayed put. No big deal, except it was the first of a few separate vacations.
February 22, 2013: Ian Cries Over Nina
Nina’s powerful performance in The Vampire Diaries Season 4, Episode 15, “Stand by Me” brings Ian to tears. He tweeted, “Wow,intense episode @ninadobrev /Elena made me cry-and I was there!”
February 24, 2013 — Ian and Nina Cuddle in Bed (With Kevin Williamson)
After a ton of Oscar activities, Ian and Nina snapped a cute pic of themselves in bed, along with Kevin Williamson. “#anythingcanhappen,” wrote Nina.
March 2013: Rumors Swirl
With Ian and Nina spending a lot of time apart, fans suspected the couple had secretly broken up. Then Ian confirmed he wasn’t single on Watch What Happens Live! Then the couple traveled together to visit a sick fan, and everyone decided there was no way Nian was over.
May 9, 2013: Nina and Ian break up
Sadly, Ian and Nina called it quits in early May. Their split was confirmed by People magazine on May 9. We wish them both the best!
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