ian somerhalder vampire diaries cw upfront 'The Vampire Diaries' star Ian Somerhalder admits he was 'devastated' by Elena's choice    and he accepts the challengeWhen it comes to “The Vampire Diaries,” we here at Zap2it tend to remain pretty neutral in terms of the Damon vs. Stefan debate. However, when Elena chose Stefan in the Season 3 finale, we we have to admit, we were very surprised — and we empathized with the Damon/Elena fans who had been waiting years for a little victory.

If you were bummed about Elena’s decision, you are not alone, Delena ‘shippers. Your fearless leader, a certain Ian Somerhalder, shared your heartbreak. We caught up with him last week in NYC, and when we asked him if he was shocked by the finale script, he said that wasn’t exactly the right word.

“Is shock and devastation the same?” he teased. “I think it was a mix of shock and devastation. Actually, you know what it is? It’s just a good challenge.” Uh-oh. If Ian is taking Elena’s rejection as a cue to increase the tension and heat between these two characters, we may be in for a very steamy season.

Though Ian is still Team Delena all the way, Damon will do his best to accept Elena’s choice and move on. “Here’s the good thing: he’s not pining for her, he’s not pining for Katherine, so maybe we’ll get some of that Season 1 Damon back,” he says. We always love a little return to that Season 1 swagger.

Off-screen, Ian is spending his summer touring the world and visiting fans on various continents — he’s in the Philippines right now — but he’s also tapped in to his Ian Somerhalder Foundation team as they take steps toward opening the ISF Animal Sanctuary, a safe place for animals in Louisiana. What makes Ian’s vision unique, though, is that it wouldn’t only be a home for animals, but a retreat for kids and teens who could use some guidance and new direction in their lives.

“At the end of June I’m acquiring a couple hundred acres in Louisiana on the Bayou where I grew up,” he tells us. “We’re going to literally build this incredible animal sanctuary for all these ostracized and abandoned animals with behavioral issues. Now that this whole bullying thing has become so prevalent in our society, we’re going to start taking the bully aspect of the youth. We can bring them down to this sanctuary; we can teach them compassion with these other animals that also have behavioral issues, that have also been abandoned and have all these issues with life.”

Bullies and angry youths will be asked to help care for the mistreated animals, and through with connection and a little counseling, Ian and his ISF team hope to send these troubled kids home with a new perspective on the power of love and tolerance. Meanwhile, the animals who have never known a gentle touch will finally experience some mercy.

“We’ll literally watch them learn compassion together,” Ian explains. “I think it will be really, truly an amazing sight to see, building this really incredible youth education camp. It’s also going to double on the other side of the property as a completely green sustainable agriculture farm. It is going to be this utopia of progression, education, and sustainability, and if anything, just a little taste of what our world could be like.”

Even if you aren’t Team Damon, who wouldn’t root for that? Swoon!

Posted by:Carina MacKenzie