Paris Hilton’s fiance is Howland High grad


Staff report

Chris Zylka, a 2003 Howland High School graduate who stars in HBO’s “The Leftovers,” got engaged to socialite Paris Hilton this week, the latest chapter in his storybook Hollywood career.

The actor, whose original name is Chris Settlemire, proposed to Hilton on Tuesday during a trip to Aspen, Colo.

Zylka attended the University of Toledo, but dropped out after his grandfather had a heart attack so that he could help take care of him, he said in an interview with thedailybeast.com. He studied art and played football at Toledo.

The 32-year-old did not do any acting while growing up, but only became interested in it while spending time with his grandfather after leaving college, according to the article.

He changed his name to Zylka – the surname of his Ukrainian grandfather and his mother – and moved to California to pursue acting. “I changed it for my grandfather,” he said. “I wanted to make him proud.”

His foray to Hollywood was a disaster at first. Zylka slept on friends’ couches and was even homeless for a while, while working restaurant jobs.

In true Hollywood style, he met Jon Simmons, who would become his first manager, when he stopped at a restaurant one day to pick up his paycheck. Simmons had just released a client and began talking to Zylka because he looked similar to his former client.

“He asked me if I was an actor and I said ‘no, I want to be, but I’ve never worked before,” said Zylka, as quoted in US magazine.

Zylka made his television debut in 2008 on the series “90210,” and would go on to land guest spots on “Hannah Montana” and “Secret Circle.” He also appeared on “Cougar Town” and “Everybody Hates Chris,” and even appeared in a scene in the 2012 film “The Amazing Spider-Man,” according to his imdb.com page.

Zylka and Hilton, 36, revealed their romantic involvement last February.

After the engagement, Hilton posted the following message Tuesday on Instagram: “So happy & excited to be engaged to the love of my life. My best friend & soulmate. Perfect for me in every way. So dedicated, loyal, loving & kindhearted. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world! You are my dream come true! Thank you for showing me that fairytales do exist.”

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