Born to a psychologist mother and university lecturer father, Westwick begins acting at age 6 when his mother enrolls him in a drama program. At 18, he joins the National Youth Theatre in London and eventually lands small roles in 2006's Children of Men and Breaking and Entering.
Westwick wins his big break as womanizing and manipulative Upper East Sider Chuck Bass on The CW's Gossip Girl. The actor quickly garners praise for his charismatic performance and fearlessly flamboyant wardrobe. "The man will rock a headband and a crazy basketball jersey, or like a bowtie and a seersucker suit, without one ounce of self-awareness," series creator Josh Schwartz tells W. GG also stars Leighton Meester, Blake Lively, Chace Crawford, Penn Badgley and Taylor Momsen.
With costars Chace Crawford and Penn Badgley, Westwick appears on gay and lesbian lifestyle magazine Out. The magazine calls the show a "cultural phenomenon whose early adopters weren't actually teenage girls but rather gay men trapped in arrested development or seeking to vicariously prolong their youth." The mag also praises Westwick's portrayal of Bass, adding, "He channels James Spader circa Pretty in Pink to delicious results."
The cast of Gossip Girl strips down for a tantalizing cover of New York, which calls the teen soap, "the most awesomely awesome show ever." Westwick, for his part, plays up his Chuck-like qualities, seeming "intoxicated, not only with the idea that a member of the Strokes knew who he was but also with actual booze, having downed approximately four Jack-and-Cokes." The publication's bloggers later catch the actor making out with Drew Barrymore that September.
The boys of Gossip Girl put their smoldering good looks to use on the November cover of Details. On the infamous exploits of his character, Westwick explains, "Chuck's just this vain kind of metrosexual Manhattan eccentric living in a flash world," but promises that GG fans will see more of his good side in the show's second season, which earns a series-high 3.7 million viewers.
Gossip Girl's reigning king and queen, Westwick and Meester become the heart of GG with their love-hate relationship in the drama's second season. EW dubs their performances two of 2008's 15 greatest. "You can't put a finger on what makes two characters connect," Westwick says. "It's just chemistry. We have it. We feel it." Meester agrees, telling Teen Vogue, "He's my favorite actor to work with."
Westwick is photographed kissing Gossip Girl costar Jessica Szohr at Dallas/Ft. Worth airport by W magazine writers. In true GG fashion, the writers upload candid camera phone images of the canoodling costars to the magazine's website – and the pair eventually goes public with their relationship.
After six seasons, the hit CW series comes to an end in a finale that sees Penn Badgley's Dan Humphrey revealed to be the anonymous writer of the Gossip Girl blog. Westwick's character, Chuck Bass, escapes arrest for his father's death, and marries longtime on-and-off love Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester) and eventually welcomes a son with her.
BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): CW; courtesy New York Magazine; Splash News Online; Giovanni Rufino/The CW