‘The Vampire Diaries’: Stefan and Damon’s Age Difference Was Hardly Addressed on the Show

Stefan and Damon Salvatore were the two brothers fans loved and hated throughout the eight-season run of The Vampire Diaries. Sure, they did some despicable things to each other during the eight seasons of the show, but what would you expect from brothers approaching their 170s?

Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder smiling
Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder | Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

The difference in their ages, however, probably explained a lot of things in the series in terms of their maturity and how they handled life. 

When were Stefan and Damon turned into vampires?

Katherine Pierce turned both of the brothers in 1864 amid the waning years of the U.S. Civil War on the CW show. Strife everywhere would make it easy for both Stefan and Damon to let their bloodlust consume them (even though they tamed their cravings eventually). Damon told his father he was ready to quit fighting for the Confederacy because he didn’t believe in its ideals anymore.

Of course, Katherine wasn’t dumb. She wanted minions under her control and to expand her power. She knew both men loved her, and the Salvatores hated each other for it. That same lesson had a different ending 145 years later when the brothers both fell for Elena.

What ages were the Salvatore brothers when they were turned into vampires?

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It depends on the source. 

In the books, Damon was in his early 20s and Stefan was just short of 18, so less than three years apart, when they were turned, according to Fandom. The small age difference explains their closeness as they grew up but also their jealousy because they would be attracted to women of the same age and stature. 

The books have the brothers at 523 and 520 years old in the present day as both of them were born in the late 1400s in Italy. The era and setting changed for the show, but so did the age difference between the brothers.

Damon was 24 when Katherine turned him, and Stefan was almost 18 in the CW staple. The reason the producers chose this age difference was that Ian Somerhalder (playing Damon) looked more like someone in his mid-20s versus someone in his early 20s. And Paul Wesley could pull off 17. For the show, Damon was born on June 18, 1839, while his brother came into the world on Nov. 1, 1846. 

Ironically, Somerhalder and Wesley are closer to the same age difference IRL compared to their fictional counterparts in the novels (not the show). Somerhalder was born Dec. 8, 1978, and Wesley’s birthdate was July 23, 1982, a difference of three years, seven months, and 15 days.

In the novels, Stefan was born on July 5, 1490, and Damon was born on Oct. 30, 1487, a difference of two years, eight months, and five days. 

What were the ages of the Salvatore brothers in 2017?

By the time The Vampire Diaries ended its eight-year run, the Brothers Salvatore matured to the ripe young ages of 173 and 170.

And they still had a love-hate relationship with each other. Some things just never change. But at least they simmered down as they approached their 200s!

Why wasn’t the brothers’ age difference talked about much on the show?

There are a couple of reasons why the age difference wasn’t discussed much in the show.

Somerhalder, who was 30 when production started in 2009, didn’t look like he could convincingly play someone who is supposed to be 10 years younger. Mid-20s, yes. Just turning 20? No. Wesley could convincingly play an almost 18-year-old in his mid-20s.

The solution would be to find a different actor to play Damon or just change the ages of the characters. The producers chose the latter. Plus, if the producers and writers kept bringing up the age of the characters, it would lessen the believability of the actors in their roles.

Besides, do vampires care about age differences anyway?

Did the age difference of the Salvatores matter?

Perhaps. If Damon is seven years older than Stefan, he would have different reasons to be jealous of his younger brother. Damon was more mature when he was turned. Stefan probably attracted the attention of younger romantic partners, which Damon would also want in his sick and twisted blood lust.

It also makes Stefan hate Damon even more, and Damon comes across as more immature.

When Katherine turned Stefan, Damon couldn’t do anything to stop it, even though Stefan would rightly think his older brother could protect him. The elder brother also killed Lexi, Stefan’s one true friend, to make sure the Founders didn’t discover the true nature of the Salvatores.

In the end, the brothers have very different personalities. Damon is cold, calculating, and remorseless. Stefan harbors compassion, loyalty, and nobility with a few sides of self-righteousness and self-destructiveness. 

No wonder Stefan made the sacrifice in the finale.

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