The Vampire Diaries Nina Dobrev Reveals How Landing The Role Of Elena Doomed Her Romantic Relationship At The Time

Elena leaning against locker in The Vampire Diaries
(Image credit: Netflix)

Although Nina Dobrev is happily in love and currently dating Olympic snowboarder Shaun White, she's certainly had other high-profile relationships going back to her days as a co-lead in The Vampire Diaries. But we're not talking about Ian Somerhalder in this case, as the actress recently talked about the romantic relationship she was in at the time she landed the Elena Gilbert role, and how it clearly wasn't meant to be.

Nina Dobrev was the latest guest on the iHeart Radio podcast XOXO with Jessica Szohr, whose host is a fellow CW vet for her time on Gossip Girl. The actresses chatted about their time on the network, Dobrev’s upcoming projects, their lifelong friendship, and of course, The Vampire Diaries. When the topic of auditions came up, Szohr asked about Dobrev going through chemistry reads when it came to the difficult process of casting the supernatural drama's male leads. Dobrev discussed meeting with potential Damons and Stefans, and explained how her boyfriend at the time even auditioned for Damon, but he was no Ian Somerhalder:

So I was the choice, but then they were auditioning all these guys, and we thought we got close with a bunch of them. In fact, weirdly enough, I was dating one of them; one of the Damons was my boyfriend at the time. And then they were gonna choose him, but they ended up not choosing him, but I got cast. Then it got awkward, and we broke up.

Even though auditioning with one's significant other might seem pretty great in theory, it doesn't take much imagination to consider how things might get really awkward if one got the part and the other one didn’t. Nina Dobrev didn’t open up about whether she and the ex still got along after that break-up, but it’s safe to assume even that friendship could have been awkward city. Despite any heartache at the time, it all worked out for Dobrev in the end, as she went on to lead one of the most popular shows on The CW.

Despite the fact that Nina Dobrev’s boyfriend at the time didn’t get cast, fans probably aren't filled with regrets about it. Damon Salvatore didn’t have the greatest rep, though viewers still love and adore him to this day, and Ian Somerhalder admitted in 2021 that the fans’ love for the toxic vampire caused problems early on in the show, since he was supposed to be a key villain. Hard to tell if that would have been the case with another actor in the role, but there's no real need to wonder, considering how things played out.

One of the most beloved elements within The Vampire Diaries is the character relationships, whether it’d be Delena, Stelena, or even the “totally f-ed up” couple Klaroline. With the TVD Universe done for now following the end of Legacies, it may be a while until we’re reunited with our favorite couplings once again. 

Meanwhile, Nina Dobrev is plenty happy now with current beau Shaun White. The two have been dating since 2019, and although it started with a bit of ego-bruising for White when he belatedly realized how famous Dobrev was, it has seemingly been nothing but happy memories. She even shared some kind words to her boyfriend following his final Olympics run earlier this year, and it was enough to make anyone emotional.

Relive Elena’s whirlwind love triangle with the Salvatore brothers by rewatching the entirety of The Vampire Diaries with a Netflix subscription!

Megan Behnke
Freelance TV News Writer

Passionate writer. Obsessed with anything and everything entertainment, specifically movies and television. Can get easily attached to fictional characters.