Inside Shaun White and Nina Dobrev's relationship

Sound the paparazzi alarms! We've got another quarantine couple: Vampire Diaries alum Nina Dobrev and Olympic gold medalist Shaun White are officially an item. The pair were first spotted together in March 2020, before they put a title on their relationship — and just a few months later, things are looking as serious as ever. When the couple went Instagram official that May, a source cited by E! claimed, "Nina doesn't take sharing her personal life very lightly, but it shows how happy and secure she is with Shaun and their relationship that she is willing to take this step." 

We know what you're thinking: In what world do these two actually match? How could a pro snowboarder with a penchant for thrills and spinning around on a half pipe possibly have anything in common with a former CW star? Apparently, this celeb romance actually makes perfect sense once you dive deep. Here's a look inside Nina Dobrev and Shaun White's budding relationship.

Shaun White isn't exactly Nina Dobrev's type

Shaun White and Nina Dobrev are a wildly unlikely couple, and that fact is only emphasized by the actress' dating history. The former Vampire Diaries star hasn't dated anyone quite like White before — at least that we know of (she's super private). In fact, Dobrev's mostly stuck to actors, even dabbling in the dangerous art of dating her co-stars.

In the past, Dobrev has had a rumored romance with Degrassi co-star Evan Williams, a reported fling with Vampire Diaries co-star Chris Wood, and a full-fledged long-term relationship with Ian Somerhalder, who also starred on the Vampire Diaries. Beyond that, she's been linked to James Marsden, Liam Hemsworth, and Orlando Bloom, who supposedly shared a steamy kiss with Dobrev at Comic-Con in 2014. Needless to say, they're all actors. Dobrev hasn't dated a pro-athlete before, and those close to her have taken notice.

A so-called insider who spoke to E! claimed that "Shaun is a departure from previous guys Nina has been with" but her friends are "pleasantly surprised." They are pretty cute together, right?

Nina Dobrev is still tight with her ex

If Shaun White wants to be Nina Dobrev's lover, he probably has to get with her friends, and that definitely means her ex. The TV star is actually super tight with her ex-boyfriend, Ian Somerhalder, and his wife, Nikki Reed. According to Insider, the former couple, who both starred on the CW's Vampire Diaries, dated for three years before calling it quits in 2013. Of course, leave it to Andy Cohen to stir up the drama.

In a 2019 episode of Watch What Happens Live, a fan called in to ask Dobrev if it was weird that she was friends with both Somerhalder and Reed after the pair tied the knot, but she was quick to shut it down. "I don't think that's weird at all. I think that's great ... Why can't everyone be friends?" Dobrev rhetorically asked. "I think that they have a beautiful baby, and they are happy, and so am I, and what's bad about that?"

Apparently, they've always been friends, and Dobrev has always loved her ex. In 2015, she told E!, "We didn't break up because anything bad happened or because there wasn't love or friendship. I love him, and the friendship is still strong, and I think he's great, and I care about him. And that didn't change. Yes, we're professional and that's fine. We were friends long before we dated and we still are now."

Shaun White and Nina Dobrev both got their start as kids

Shaun White may be nothing like anyone Nina Dobrev has dated in the past, but they do connect on one thing — work ethic. Both stars got their start as minors and have been aggressively working ever since.

For White, that meant being discovered by Tony Hawk and landing a Burton sponsorship at the age of seven. At 13, he became a pro snowboarder. Three years later, he became the youngest snowboarder in history to win at the US Open. At 19, he won his first Olympic gold medal. Now, he's the only athlete to win gold medals at the Winter and Summer X Games, and currently holds "a record-breaking 15 gold medals" at the sporting event, according to his website. Basically, he's been grinding since most of us were in second grade.

Meanwhile, Dobrev got her professional start a little bit later. In 2006, the actress was 17 years old when she debuted as Mia Jones on Degrassi: The Next Generation. This was her breakthrough, which she'd hold onto for three years until jumping over to The Vampire Diaries. Really, though, Dobrev has done it all. She's been in major blockbusters like xXx: Return of Xander Cage and indie flicks like The Perks of Being a Wallflower; she's appeared in a Drake music video (never forget his Degrassi roots); and, according to W magazine, Dobrev's even jumped behind the camera to write and produce. 

Basically, this couple deserves a vacation.

Nina Dobrev and Shaun White found love in the age of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has done two things in the world of Hollywood relationships. First, it's driven apart couples who've realized that spending 24/7 with their spouse is actually really, really hard. See: Kristin Cavallari and Jay Cutler, who called it quits after a decade — and a reality show — together. See also: Colton Underwood and Cassie Randolph, Kacey Musgraves and Ruston Kelly, and Nina Dobrev's BFF Julianne Hough and Brooks Laich

It's also allowed new romances to flourish, arguably a lot quicker than they might have under normal circumstances. See: Demi Lovato's whirlwind engagement to her quarantine beau. For their part, Dobrev and Shaun White appear to be in this happy, loved-up camp.

According to People, these two were first romantically linked in March 2020 as shutdowns swept the nation in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic. They were spotted riding bikes together in Malibu, where White miraculously held Dobrev's dog like a purse as he steered with one hand. That's some balance, but then again, he's an Olympian. The blossoming couple were, apparently, keeping a safe distance from each other. Safety first! At the time, nothing was reportedly official between this celeb pairing.

Is Nina Dobrev rebounding?

Nina Dobrev and Shaun White appear to be moving quickly, but could it be a case of the rebounds? According to E!, the Fam actress had been dating screenwriter Grant Mellon for less than a year when they pulled the plug in November 2019 — four months before she was publicly spotted on a date with White. 

Now, Dobrev is extremely private about her relationships, so there's no real way to know exactly when things fizzled out, but at the time, a source told the tabloid that Mellon hadn't come to one of her events in about a month, and she hadn't mentioned him. That sounds like splitsville to us, but Dobrev reportedly didn't even bother telling anyone about a breakup. Sometimes things are better left unsaid.

White, on the other hand, hasn't been seriously romantically linked to anyone since April 2019, according to Hollywood Life. That's when he was last photographed with his long-term girlfriend, Sarah Barthel, who fronts the band Phantogram. The pair had been together for five years.

Shaun White has some nasty allegations

When Nina Dobrev fell for Shaun White, she had to look past the headlines. Despite all of his wins, the last few years have been marred with bad press for the Olympian. In 2016, White's former bandmate, Lena Zawaideh, sued the star over graphic sexual harassment allegations stemming from the nearly seven years she played drums in his band, Bad Things. Apparently, some bad things really did go down.

According to TMZ, Zawaideh claimed the pro snowboarder sent her images of "erect" male genitalia (to be clear, it wasn't his genitalia, but it sounded like a smorgasbord of explicit, unsolicited images, nonetheless). He also allegedly made her watch "disturbing" adult videos, including one called "Church of Fudge," a pornographic flick "involving a priest, a nun, and fecal matter." She also claimed that White once attempted to kiss her at a party, and also allegedly put his hands down his pants, then tried "to make her smell them."

Beyond that, Zawaideh alleged that White ruled his band's image with an iron fist, reportedly "ordering her to cut her hair and wear sexually provocative outfits" even though she refused. The drummer was suing for "non-payment of her contract plus other damages" relating to the alleged harassment. White owned up to sending the texts, but claimed the lawsuit was — in the words of TMZ — "bogus." According to CNN, they eventually "reached an undisclosed settlement."

Nina Dobrev dropped some mega hints about her secret boyfriend

Both Nina Dobrev and Shaun White are very private about their relationships, but this is something that the Vampire Diaries actress just couldn't contain. The star was dropping hints about her quarantine beau before Us Weekly broke their relationship news and before the pair became Instagram official. Dare we say they were finstagram official?

In April 2020, a month after the pair were spotted riding their bikes together on their first public, socially distant date, Dobrev posted a cheeky IGTV video to promote the practice of safely washing groceries amidst the pandemic. "You can never be too cautious. Don't just wash your hands, wash the groceries when you come back from the store," she wrote. "Some reports say that COVID can live on plastic, cardboard and produce for multiple days. I take extra measures to make sure I'm staying safe at home. Hope you are too!"

In the silly video, the actress had a mysterious helper acting as her hands. According to People, this was Shaun White — and fans noticed the hints Dobrev was dropping about his identity. First, she claimed the video was inspired by Dakota Johnson, who made a similar post with her boyfriend, Chris Martin, a month prior. Next, the arm had a tattoo that was clearly White's tattoo. Sorry, dude. The secret is out!

Nina Dobrev and Shaun White moved in together really fast

Nina Dobrev and Shaun White's relationship seemingly moved at warp speed. Clearly, the Olympian is going for the gold yet again. They went from having careful, socially distant dates at the end of the March 2020 to being literal roommates just two months later. You know White's always got to win — but this isn't the X Games. Actually, the one snowboarding record he doesn't hold is for speed. Nonetheless, their whirlwind relationship appears to be going well.

According to Us Weekly, the swift ascent of Dobrev and White's relationship can be attributed to COVID-19. They decided to shack up and weather the storm together, though it's not clear whose house they're holed up in. A source cited by the magazine claimed, "Shaun and Nina have really been enjoying quarantining and living together. They're super compatible and both free-spirited people. They're very comfortable around each other and both supportive of one another in their fields."

Apparently, their quarantine life has been like everyone else's. According to the Daily Mail, Dobrev put "on a leggy display" at the grocery store, while White rode a bike shirtless. In human terms, she wore shorts because she lives in California and it's hot, and White rode a bike shirtless because he lives in California and it's hot. Other than that, it seems like they like to horse around by the pool — a dream quarantine, if you ask us!

They went Instagram official with a quarantine haircut

Nina Dobrev and Shaun White seem to share a deep, deep trust. It's the kind of trust that allows you to remain calm when your untrained lover waves kitchen sheers around your famous locks. Let's be real, White is famous for his mane. Okay, he's also famous for being an Olympian, but he's just about the most well-known redhead beyond Lindsay Lohan, the Weasley brothers, and Carrot Top. His hair is so infamous that when the star wore it long, he'd regularly get mistaken for the flame-haired comedian. In retrospect, that may be the reason he was in a rush to get Dobrev to chop it off in the first place. Either way, White's quarantine haircut ushered in a new era for the stars' relationship — they were Instagram official.

In a May 2020 Instagram post captioned, "adding to resume: hairdresser," Dobrev held up sheers, while White looked massively concerned. This was an act, because White actually seemed relaxed in his own posts. He shared glowing before-and-after pictures in a separate post with the caption, "My hairstylist said he wouldn't, so she did."

Honestly, Dobrev kind of nailed it, but that doesn't matter, because it seems like White went to the professionals a couple weeks later — unless she somehow pulled off a salon-caliber dye job. That June, White posted a photo of his new icy white locks. According to People, it was Dobrev-approved: She commented with a white heart emoji.

Why Nina Dobrev is a big deal for Shaun White

Nina Dobrev is a big deal to Shaun White. We know this, because the star has rarely admitted he's seeing someone. Really, one of the only times he's actually publicly acknowledged a relationship was when he was dating Sarah Barthel, and they were together for five years. He didn't even speak about their split, either. According to Hollywood Life, it was as though they just sort of stopped being seen together in April 2019.

Though White generally keeps his mouth shut, it's not because he's perma-single. There have been other women, but we just didn't know it. In an 2019 interview with The Sydney Morning Herald, he revealed that he dated fellow snowboarder Torah Bright when he was 16 years old, but kept it very quiet. The relationship, by his account, seemed lovely. So, what's this mean? The star has a proven track record of only publicly revealing relationships when they're serious. It looks like Dobrev fits the bill.

Friends say this unlikely relationship 'actually makes a lot of sense'

Nina Dobrev and Shaun White are one of the more unlikely Hollywood couples. It's not clear how they even met, but apparently, Los Angeles is very small despite its overwhelming population density. So, how does a former teen soap star (because, let's be honest, Degrassi is totally a soap) and an Olympic gold medalist fit together? As it turns out, really, really well.

According to People, Dobrev and White are two peas in a pod. A source told the magazine that the unique pairing was a "surprise" those closest to them, but "now that they've seen them together it actually makes a lot of sense." It looks like they're also at the phase of meeting each other's friends! The insider continued, "They're both goofy and have a similar sense of humor and are super adventurous. They have plenty in common."

Since Dobrev and White's relationship is still very new, at the time of this writing, only time will tell exactly where it's going, but things are definitely looking up.