It seems like ever since Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev met on the set of The Vampire Diaries in 2009, there have been rumors swirling about a possible relationship between them — even though Ian was dating an NYU grad named Megan Auld when he first signed on for TVD!
Those rumors were always understandable, though. After all, Ian and Nina frequently appeared together at events and during interviews, thanks to their tumultuous on-screen romance as Damon Salvatore and Elena Gilbert. They appeared alongside costar Paul Wesley at the 2010 Scream Awards, and the trio made the cover of TV Guide together that same week.
In early November, Ian and Nina compared notes on their favorite horror movies in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, and about a week later they took a mid-press tour vacation together to Australia, and some adorable pics of the pair snorkeling together got the media world buzzing about their possible relationship.
The later part of that year found Ian and Nina playing nice (and silly!) with their coworkers, sending out a slew of off-the-wall tweets covering everything from Nina's status as the "Pumpkin Pie Queen" to Ian's surprise that Jay Leno was letting him on his show. December was a great month for Ian and Nina, as it found them immortalized as trading cards AND making the New York Post's "30 Sexiest Stars of 2010" list. Ian also spent a good part of December hand-signing autographed photos in response to fan mail (because he's the nicest human, obv), and the two of them both enjoyed lovely Christmases with their families.
The two actors returned to work after the Holiday, treating us to a lovely pic of Damon and Elena hugging it out on set to fuel our Delena obsession and bring us out of our Christmas food comas. January was a hard month for Delena shippers though, as it saw Ian dishing on Damon's new girlfriend Andie Star, played by True Blood's Dawn Oliveri. But at the same time, Ian kept personally pushing for the development of a Damon/Elena relationship, expressing his interest in having the two characters hook up while dishing on what it was like to be naked all day for a shower scene. Which of course led us to frantically speculate on who Ian might decide to date next IRL, because sometimes we just can't help ourselves. Our wish seemed to be granted when the two were spotted on a Valentine's Day date, though Nina adamantly denied such claims shortly after. But although they still weren't united in love, they were united in their support for Japan following the tragic tsunami that devastated the country in March 2011... giving them one more common interest to bond over... in our lovestruck shipper minds, at least.
Spring of 2011 was a great season for our two favorite Vampires as actors, as it found them both nominated for the Shorty Awards. It also found them canoodling at Coachella, (possibly) sharing Ian's hat, attending the White House Correspondents' Dinner together (SO JELLZ!), and taking a slot on Zimbio's 100 Hottest TV Celeb Couples list, even though they weren't yet confirmed to be dating.
We let our Nian-shipping get the best of us in May 2011, creating a comic mashing up TVD and Gone With the Wind in honor of Season 2's finale (come on, you know you did it too!). And then the world spotted the two potentially partaking in some PDA again in NYC that month in anticipation of the 2011 CW Upfront. They followed up that event with a mother-accompanied trip to Paris — and let's be real, what kind of "friends" take a joint vacation with their mothers if they're NOT dating?
June and July saw the stars getting their names on the 2011 Primetime Emmy Awards nomination ballot and presenting at the MuchMusic Awards alongside co-star Kat Graham... where they finally (sort of) came out as a couple, arriving hand-in-hand at the event! Not really surprising, given that Ian insinuated his desire to unwrap the "present" that is Nina Dobrev just a week earlier. They also dished on some spoiler-y deets about Season 3 at the San Diego Comic-Con, but all we cared about was the fact that Ian and Nina apparently were all about the PDA at that event's after-parties that year!
August was a great month for the duo, along with the rest of the TVD cast, as Ian and Nina presented at the Teen Choice Awards and the TVD crew swept the awards show for the categories for which they were nominated.
Much to our Nian-shipping dismay, September was mostly all business for the couple, with Nina playing coy about her relationship status at the Emmys and the two of them mostly focusing on on-set antics and character motivations during interviews. Ian also predicted Delena was destined to fail, which would have broken our hearts were it not for the fact that the end of the month was full of lip-locking for Hollywood's hottest vampiric power couple!
Oh, and there was also that interview in Us Weekly that revealed (allegedly) that Ian and Nina were dating and in love. And we fainted and happy-cried and had a million other feels about it too.
Ian and Nina kept quiet for most of the rest of 2011, though they did talk a lot about their on-screen characters' romantic tension, and we speculated on the likelihood of a Delena baby to match their hints! Fans were also given the opportunity to vote for the two stars and their hit show for the 2012 People's Choice Awards, and we obvs gave all our votes to them!