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Ryan was born in the coal mining valley town of Chesapeake, just outside the state capitol of Charleston, West Virginia During his senior year of high school, a football injury prevented him from playing basketball. As fate would have it, Ron Reedy, an industry professional from Hollywood came back to his home state to take care of his ailing mother and happened to take over the theatre program at Riverside High School. Ryan was talked into auditioning for Ayn Rand's NIGHT OF JANUARY 16th. The acting bug was caught. Enrolling at Western Carolina University his freshman year, he had plans to walk-onto the football program and major in Theatre. That lasted only a semester and he moved back home and started making films with his home town friends. With confidence instilled by Mr. Reedy, he was persuaded he could have a shot at making acting a career. This was the beginning of the road of dropping out of college at West Virginia University and moving to New York City where he was accepted into an acting conservatory at The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts.
- He is married to Glee actress Naya Rivera. They got married on July 19, 2014, and have one child. Rivera filed for divorce in November 2016.