Why Ian Somerhalder, Paul Wesley had ‘anxiety issues’ on ‘Vampire Diaries’

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Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley were so hyped up on caffeine while filming Season 1 of “Vampire Diaries” that it started to affect their health, Page Six has learned.

Somerhalder, who played Damon Salvatore on the CW series, exclusively told Page Six this week that the cast actually used “iced tea” when they were pretending to drink whiskey during a scene.

“We had the most insane anxiety issues because there was so much caffeine,” the actor, 44 said at a party for his and Wesley’s whiskey brand Brother’s Bond Bourbon and the Tennis Channel at the JW Marriott Marquis in Miami on Tuesday.

Wesley, who played Somerhalder’s brother, Stefan Salvatore, recalled doing “take after take” with copious amounts of tea.

“You’re drinking 20 to 30 cups of tea, so by the end of the day you’re, like, ‘Ahh!,” Somerhalder added, making a jittery hand gesture. “We didn’t [sleep].”

Fortunately, the cast and crew ultimately put two and two together after filming a full season and realized a solution to their problem since they couldn’t drink actual booze while shooting their show.


“We switched to decaf, so we felt a lot better,” Wesley, 40, said at the event with Somerhalder adding that they drank “herbal tea.”

Although the co-stars weren’t drinking actual booze on set, the actors did share a few fun hangouts in Atlanta, where the series was filmed and they shared apartments right next to each other.

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“The South is sort of a great place to drink bourbon, so that was part of the reason that we created Brother’s Bond, as well, because we were drinking a lot of it off set and on set,” Wesley told us. “It was kind of being like at sleep-away camp.”

Somerhalder added, “Our cast and our crew were so tight. We had local watering holes, but it wasn’t just the cast that would show up. It was cast, it was grips, it was electrics, it was assistant directors. It was everybody.”

“Vampire Diaries” was a supernatural teen drama about two vampire brothers in love with the same woman, played by Nina Dobrev.

The show was an instant success and aired for eight seasons from 2009 to 2017.

The show launched multiple spin-offs including “The Originals,” which ran from 2013 – 2018, and “Legacies,” which ended in 2022 after a four-season run.

Since leaving “Vampire Diaries,” Somerhalder and Wesley have continued their friendship and business partnership with Brother’s Bond Bourbon.

Although the pair are passionate about their new alcohol endeavors, they are not necessarily leaving acting in the past altogether.

Wesley, who currently plays Captain Kirk in “Star Trek: Strange New World,” said he believes both industries can “work together cohesively.”

“These days, the 22-episode model a year doesn’t exist anymore, luckily, which is what we were doing back in the day,” he said. “So I think now you do 8 to 10 episodes and you can focus on the brand and there’s a nice way to do both and they both help one another.”

Somerhalder shared that, for his part, he has “one show left” that he is going to do but is open to other projects if “something presents itself that is amazing.”

In the meantime, he says he has bought the rights back to a show, in which he is going to executive produce, produce, direct, and star in, but did not provide further details.

Somerhalder also has a second baby on the way with wife Nikki Reed.

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