Of English and Irish ancestry, Aaron John O’Connell was born in Dayton, Ohio, where he grew up with his sisters Amy, Abby and Anna. Their parents, Mark Alan O’Connell, a former player for the Cincinnati Bengals and current President of ChemStation of Indiana, and Kathryn (Deeble) O’Connell, met during college in Ohio. His grandfather Wayne Deeble was a pianist who taught O’Connell at a very young age to play the piano and he has used that ability, as well as his guitar skills, in his roles as an actor. In addition to his musical talent, O’Connell was an athlete and grew up playing football, basketball and baseball.
After graduating Cathedral High School in Indianapolis, Indiana in 2004, O’Connell attended Purdue University where he studied Health, Fitness, and Nutrition. While there, he signed with Ford Models in Chicago, Illinois. His quick success moved him to New York City where he worked with magazines such as GQ, Vanity Fair, French Vogue, German Vogue and brands including Carolina Herrera, Hanes, Lucky Brand Jeans, Abercrombie & Fitch and Jockey.
After booking a few successful national commercials, O’Connell caught the eye of writer, producer and director Tyler Perry, who cast him as Wyatt Cryer in “The Haves and The Have Nots,” the first television drama he created. O’Connell co-starred in the show for four seasons, during which time it became a big hit for OWN. In 2014, he was offered his first supporting role in the film “Prince for Christmas” alongside actress Viva Bianca, which led to last year’s starring role in the Hallmark Channel original movie “12 Gifts of Christmas.”
When O’Connell gets a break from the entertainment business, he loves to fly. In 2013, he earned his private pilot’s license and later became an instrument-rated pilot in 2014. While he enjoys flying his Cirrus SR22 recreationally, he also flies for the charity Pilots ’N Paws, ferrying dogs from kill shelters to their new families.
He currently resides in Los Angeles, where he continues to work on his craft.