Reynolds makes his Canadian TV debut in the Nickelodeon series Hillside, known as Fifteen in the U.S. He earns a Young Artist Award nomination in 1993. The actor, who later calls the series "absolutely abominable," says, "I think stoned college kids kept it on the air for three years…People watched it because it was so bad."
After a slew of appearances and guest stints, including Sabrina the Teenage Witch and The X-Files, Reynolds stars as fun-loving med student Berg in Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place. During its tumultuous run, Reynolds defends the show, saying, "If you can get big numbers, that's great, but ultimately the only goal is to be proud of each week's show. And I think we are here." It's cancelled in 2001.
Playing seventh-year college student-turned-party planner Van Wilder, Reynolds makes his comedic breakthrough. Though Van Wilder only grosses $21.3 million, it becomes a cult classic. The film's popularity even leads Waiting costar Justin Long to later refer to Reynolds as "the frat guys' Jesus Christ."
After two years of dating, Reynolds and musician girlfriend Alanis Morissette get engaged. The two began dating after meeting at Drew Barrymore's 2002 birthday party. "We have the perfect combination of compatibility and incompatibility that makes the relationship very passionate," Morrissette tells PEOPLE. "It's perfect."
For his role as a vampire hunter in Blade: Trinity, opposite Jessica Biel and Wesley Snipes, Reynolds sheds his frat boy persona and debuts a super-buff bod. To prepare for the role, Reynolds reduces his body fat to just 3 percent and takes martial arts classes. Of the classes, Reynolds tells PEOPLE, "I don't think that it worked very well because I got the crap kicked out of me repeatedly."
The Amityville Horror opens at No. 1, pulling in $23.5 million at the box office. In the remake of the 1979 film, Reynolds stars as the possessed George Lutz, a father and husband who mentally unravels during his family's 28 days in a haunted home. "It was exciting for me," Reynolds tells PEOPLE. "I liked the thought of this guy being a bear, a big intimidating presence." That November, the actor returns to comedy with Just Friends, in which he sports a 60 lb. fat suit.
Reynolds stars in his first adult romantic comedy, Definitely, Maybe, as a divorced dad explaining to daughter Abigail Breslin how he met her mother. "I was looking for a Tom Hanks, Jimmy Stewart kind of quality," says Definitely writer-director Adam Brooks, "and I felt that Ryan just wasn't this Van Wilder guy, that there was this natural, relaxed actor in him."
Johansson, 23, takes one of PEOPLE's 'sexiest men' off the market, when Reynolds, 31, marries Johansson in an intimate ceremony on Vancouver Island. "Scarlett wanted a ceremony with just family and a few select friends," a source close to the bride tells PEOPLE. Less than 40 people attend the wedding, which found the groom fishing while other guests went horseback riding and mountain biking.
After X-Men Origins: Wolverine rakes in $87 million opening weekend, 20th Century Fox and Marvel Comic green light a spin-off featuring Reynolds' character Deadpool. A fan of the wise-cracking mercenary formerly known as Wade Wilson, Reynolds tells MTV, "To stay as true to the source material as possible is the only way to do it, and I say that because there's nothing more interesting than the source material for Deadpool."
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