Chad Michael Murray (born August 24, 1981) is an American actor, spokesperson and former fashion model. He is well known for portraying Lucas Scott in The CW young adult drama series One Tree Hill, in addition to the films A Cinderella Story, Freaky Friday and House of Wax. Popular among teenagers and young adults, he has posed on the cover of numerous mainstream magazines, including Rolling Stone, People, Vanity Fair and Entertainment Weekly.
Murray was born in Buffalo, New York. He is the son of Rex Murray, an air traffic controller, and was abandoned by his mother at a young age. His abandonment issues were the main reasons he took the part of Lucas Scott. He has three brothers, one half-brother and one half-sister.
Murray attended Clarence High School, in Clarence, New York. He became a fan of literature, and was heavily involved in playing football. In his late teens, he broke his nose. This led to reports during his career that he had received a nose job. Murray clarified in a 2004 interview, “I got jumped in a Burger King when I was 18 and had my nose put on the other side of my face. It was three guys — what the hell was I supposed to do? The doctors didn’t even bother running X-rays. They just reset it. But it wasn’t a nose job — I hate the fact that people say it was a nose job!”
In 1999, Murray headed for Hollywood where he supported himself modeling for such clients as Skechers, Tommy Hilfiger and Gucci.
Murray appeared in several guest-starring television roles, including an episode of Diagnosis: Murder and an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. In 1999, Murray was cast as Tristan DuGrey on Gilmore Girls; the role was one of the main characters in the first season of the series and then became a recurring character thereafter. Murray then appeared in several television films, such as Aftermath and Murphy’s Dozen. Later that year, he portrayed the role Charlie Todd on the successful television series Dawson’s Creek. In 2003, Murray appeared in the Walt Disney Pictures feature film, Freaky Friday alongside Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis. The film was a major box office success, garnering a total of $110,222,438 in the United States alone. Critics were mostly positive in their reviews of the film, and the film garnered a “B” grade on Yahoo! Movies and an 88% “Certified Fresh” approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Murray also appeared in the television film The Lone Ranger where he portrayed the role of Luke Hartman.
Later that year, Murray won the main role of Lucas Scott in the successful WB television series One Tree Hill. The series quickly became the channel’s biggest hit with over 4.50 million viewers on the first season’s finale. The series was The WB’s most successful and top rated television program when it first aired in 2003 and continued receiving top ratings for The CW. The series also earned Murray numerous awards, including two Teen Choice Awards, and spawned a book series which was successful among critics who praised the cast’s performances and the original story lines. After Murray gained mainstream fame and media exposure, he also became a spokesperson for several high-profile deals. He and his One Tree Hill co-stars were the official endorsers for MasterCard and K-Mart. In addition, they endorsed the Cingular Wireless and Chevy Cobalt.
Following Murray’s starring role on One Tree Hill in 2003, he appeared on the cover of several mainstream magazines such as Rolling Stone and People. That same year, he was voted as one of “TV’s Sexiest Guys” in People magazine.
In 2004, Murray starred in the romantic comedy A Cinderella Story with Hilary Duff. Though the reviews were mostly negative, the film went on to become a moderate box office success, and critics were impressed by Duff’s performance. A Cinderella Story earned $70.1 million worldwide. The film led to many 2006 Teen Choice Awards wins for many categories. Later that year, Murray was named one of the “Sexiest Men Alive” by People magazine and appeared on the cover of the magazine.
In 2005, Murray starred in House of Wax. The film grossed $12 million in its first day. Though most film critics gave the film negative reviews, House of Wax earned over $68,766,121 worldwide. The film led to Murray receiving the 2006 Teen Choice Awards win category for “Choice Movie Actor: Action/Adventure/Thriller”. In May 2009, The CW announced Murray would not be returning to One Tree Hill for its seventh season. A video of Murray was recorded in which he was telling fans that they did not want him back because they wanted to save money. However, Mark Schwann said in an interview that he had been offered “great things” to return to the show.
In 2010, Murray played Alicia Keys’s love interest in her music video for “Un-Thinkable (I’m Ready)”. Murray also co-starred in Christmas Cupid with Ashley Benson and Christina Milian. The film is an ABC Family Original Movie and is “more or about a comatose girl who visits her Christmas past, present, and future”. Murray released a novel in September 2011, titled Everlast. In August 2011, it was announced by The CW that he will make a guest appearance as Lucas Scott in the upcoming and last season of One Tree Hill. The episode aired on February 22, 2012.
In March 2012, it was announced that he had been cast as the male lead in ABC’s pilot Scruples. In 2013, Murray appeared in Fruitvale Station, a film chronicling the last day of Oscar Grant, who was killed by a police officer at a BART station. The film won two major awards at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.
Murray got engaged to his One Tree Hill co-star Sophia Bush in May 2004, and they married on April 16, 2005 in Santa Monica, California. They announced their separation in September 2005, after five months of marriage. In February 2006, Bush filed papers seeking an annulment on the grounds of fraud. Bush’s petition was denied, and she and Murray were instead granted a divorce in December 2006.
Following his separation from Bush, Murray began dating Kenzie Dalton, whom he met in 2005 when Dalton, a first runner-up in the 2005 Miss North Carolina Teen USA pageant, was an extra on One Tree Hill. They became engaged in April 2006, but ended their relationship in August 2013 after a seven-year engagement. Murray is currently dating his Left Behind co-star Nicky Whelan.