HBO’s True Blood was set in a world where vampires exist, and it was never short of grisly drama and steamy romance.
And it turns out the actors’ real lives weren’t too far off that either, with some of them hooking up off-screen and others meeting a tragic early end.
The addictive horror fantasy show, based on The Southern Vampire Mysteries novel series by Charlaine Harris, made its debut on HBO all the way back on September 7, 2008.
The supernatural series followed telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), who lives in the fictional remote town of Bon Temps, Louisiana.
In this universe, a synthetic blood product called “Tru Blood” had been invented, which allows vampires to “come out of the coffin” and walk amongst humans.
It leads to a clash between humans and vampires, who struggle for equal rights as they battle it out against anti-vampire organisations, and Sookie’s life changes forever when she ends up falling in love with one of the vampires – Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer).
Unfortunately though, there’s a slight age gap between the two, because Bill is a whopping 173 years old.
The series ran from 2008 until 2014 and spanned seven seasons and 80 episodes, bagging multiple award wins and nominations – including a Golden Globe and an Emmy .
To mark 13 years since True Blood first hit our screens, the Daily Star has decided to bite the bullet and track down where the original cast of the show went next.
Anna Paquin -Sookie Stackhouse
Anna played protagonist Sookie Stackhouse, the waitress with telepathic powers.
Before starring in True Blood, Anna Paquin had already made history as the second-youngest Oscar winner ever.
When she was just 11 years old, she played Flora McGrath in the romantic drama film The Piano (1993) – and she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
After her time on True Blood which followed a successful career as a child star, Anna has starred in a string of hit films and major television shows.
Her Hollywood hits include X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), The Good Dinosaur (2015), and The Irishman (2019) which was directed by legendary film-maker Martin Scorsese and starred icons like Robert De Nero and Al Pacino.
Her love-life is fit for a movie too, because she actually met her husband Stephen Moyer on the set of True Blood, where the two began dating as co-stars.
The pair hit it off on set during the series pilot in 2007 – and they tied the knot on August 21, 2010 at a private home in Malibu, California.
The pair, who live in Los Angeles, welcomed their twins – Charlie and Poppy – in September 2012.
Anna also came out as bisexual in 2010 – as part of an awareness campaign called Give a Damn for Cyndi Lauper’s LGBT equality group called the True Colors Fund.
In a video, she said: “I’m Anna Paquin. I’m bisexual, and I give a damn.”
When asked about her role in the campaign, she said: “It wasn’t like it was a big secret, it was just a cause I cared about and privately supported, but not one that I had ever had an opportunity to speak out about in a way that would be useful.
“Obviously I know that one person’s voice doesn’t necessarily do that much, but I just wanted to do my bit.”
Stephen Moyer – Bill Compton
Stephen played Sookie’s vampire boyfriend Bill Compton.
Anna’s husband Stephen is best known for his True Blood role, but he’s done plenty after the series finished.
From 2017 to 2019, Essex-born Stephen starred in the lead role of Reed Strucker in Fox series, The Gifted.
He also bagged the front-man role in a string of television shows such as The Bastard Executioner (2015), Shots Fired (2017) and Safe House (2017).
However, he also turned his talents to directing and producing when he directed the 2018 drama film The Parting Glass.
To the delight of True Blood fans, Stephen worked alongside his wife Anna who played the role of Colleen.
Moyer has admitted to dealing with alcoholism in the past, and in 2015 he said that he had been sober for an impressive 14 years.
He explained that his addiction had stemmed from his roots in British theatre, following his personal heroes like Peter O’Toole.
However, the star now works with the CLARE Foundation, which helps others suffering with alcoholism to rehabilitate and sober up.
At one of CLARE’s charity dinners, he once said: “There’s this rush that happens from doing our job, this whirring buzz, and you want to continue that buzz.”
Sam Trammell – Sam Merlotte
Sam plays the shape-shifting former bar owner of Merlotte’s, Sam, who is friends with Sookie.
Hunky star Sam Trammell got his breakout role in True Blood, and the talented actor has achieved success on Broadway, film and television.
After True Blood, he bagged a role in a major Hollywood picture when he starred as Hazel’s father in The Fault in Our Stars (2014) by John Green – alongside Divergent star Shailene Woodley.
He joined forces with Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe when he starred in Imperium (2016) – a British crime thriller film.
He also partnered up with Grease legend John Travolta when he acted in I Am Wrath (2015), and in 2019 he appeared in The Order – a Netflix horror-drama series.
Like his True Blood co-stars Stephen and Anna, he found his beau (and fellow actor) Missy Yager in a showbiz setting when they met whilst performing theatre in New York City in 2003.
They couple gave birth to twins – both sons – in August 2011.
Ryan Kwanten – Jason Stackhouse
Before mixing with the likes of vampires in True Blood, Ryan played Vinnie Patterson on the Australian soap Home and Away from 1997 to 2002.
After his sparkling True Blood success, Ryan went on to produce and act in the crime drama series The Oath as Steve Hammond – starring alongside Game of Thrones’ Ned Stark star Sean Bean.
In 2019, he also linked up with prolific actor Nicholas Cage in the Columbia-set action thriller, Kill Chain.
Most recently, he acted in series one of Them, a horror drama anthology series available to stream on Amazon Prime.
Rutina Wesley – Tara Thornton
Rutina played Sookie’s best friend Tara, who lives with her alcoholic-turned-fundamentalist mother Lettie Mae.
She secured the role in 2007 because show creator Alan Ball thought: “[She] was the first person who showed [Tara’s] vulnerable side.”
When True Blood wrapped, she went on to join the cast of NBC drama Hannibal – where she starred alongside The Hobbit star Richard Armitage – playing his blind girlfriend Reba McClane.
She then starred as the lead character in Oprah Winfrey’s drama series Queen Sugar in 2016 – which premiered on the Oprah Winfrey Network.
You’ll also find her in the DC Marvel series Arrow (2015-2017), and popular zombie show The Walking Dead on an episode titled Scars.
She married her former classmate Jacob Fishel, who is also an actor, in 2005 but sadly the pair got divorced on August 16, 2013 – citing irreconcilable differences.
She then broke up with her chef partner called Shonda, in 2016.
Chris Bauer – Andy Bellefleur
Chris played the somewhat incompetent police detective, who regularly gets grief from Bon Temps’ citizens.
When he left the set of True Blood, the star took on the role of Pa in Disney film Tomorrowland (2015) alongside classy actors George Clooney and Hugh Laurie.
In 2016, he worked with Tom Hanks and Clint Eastwood on Sully – which follows the 2009 emergency landing of the US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River.
In the television world, he enjoyed a recurring role on the US sitcom Survivor’s Remorse (2014 – 2017) where he rubbed shoulders with NBA legend LeBron James.
He also worked on American Crime Story, Law & Orrder true Crime, and the fifth season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Nelsan Ellis – Lafayette Reynolds
The late Nelsan Ellis won a number of awards for his role as drug dealer Lafayette Reynolds in True Blood – including a Satellite Award from the International Press Academy.
After True Blood, he starred as Shinwell Johnson in Sherlock series Elementary from 2016 to 2017 alongside Trainspotting star Johnny Lee Miller.
He also took on guest roles in Veronica Mars – which stars Kristen Bell – and Without a Trace.
The actor also earned his stripes in a number of films, such as The Butler (2013) where he played the one and only Martin Luther King Jr.
He also appeared in the James Brown biopic called Get on Up in 2014 – where he worked alongside the late modern great, Chadwick Boseman.
Tragically, Ellis passed away at the young age of 39 on July 8, 2017 in Brooklyn, New York.
A statement released by his family revealed that Ellis had suffered an ongoing battle with alcohol and drug abuse, and had been too ashamed to speak to anyone about his addiction.
In his final days, Ellis had tried to sober up all by himself but was hospitalised after his body was hit by alcohol withdrawal syndrome – which caused his heart-breaking death.
He left behind his son, Breon Ellis, and his final film, true to the Game, was released posthumously.
Jim Parrack – Hoyt Fortenberry
Jim is best known for his role as the kind-hearted road worker, Hoyt.
He dazzled on the Broadway stage when he starred as Slim alongside the critically-acclaimed James Franco, whom he is good friends with, and Chris O’Dowd.
Jim joined the cast of Suicide Squad in 2016 which meant he was working with A-listers Will Smith and Margot Robbie.
Last year, he began acting in 9-1-1: Lone Star as Judd Ryder – a main role – and he’s kicked off this year in a big way by starring in Fast and Furious sequel F9.
His personal life has been more turbulent, though, and in 2014 it was reported that he divorced from his former actress wife Ciera Danielle.
That year, it also came out that he was in a relationship with stunning Hunger Games actress Leven Rambin – and the pair married in Texas on October 10, 2015.
However, in 2017 the couple split and Rambin was granted an annulment – later claiming that he had cheated on her.
Jim has since found happiness with ballet dancer Hayley Walters and the pair have dated since at least 2018.
Carrie Preston – Arlene Fowler Bellefleur
Carrie played bar worker Arlene, and when True Blood ended she went on to earn a second Emmy Award nomination for her work on the final season of The Good Wife.
For her recurring role as Elsbeth Tascioni, she was given the nod for the Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series.
In 2015, she landed a leading role on the NBC comedy series Crowded, before news came in August 2016 that she was to play Rashilda Jones in the comedy-drama show Claws.
She then decided to reprise her famous role as Elsbeth on the series spin-off the Good Fight, with the announcement made in December 2016.
However, Carrie has also worked as a producer and director, producing Recorded Lives in 2014.
She also directed and produced the rather uniquely titled work, Happy Lucky Golden Tofu Panda Dragon Good Time Fun Fun Show.
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