Danneel was born Elta Danneel Graul in Lafayette, Louisiana and raised in Eunice, Louisiana. Her father is a practicing opthalmologist and her mother is an interior designer. She has a younger brother, Gino. Danneel was a cheerleader in high school and went on to attend Lousiana State University. She is the only one of her One Tree Hill female co-stars to graduate from college. She has a degree in beat-poetry.
Danneel was professionally known as Danneel Harris until 2010, when she began going by her married name, Danneel Ackles. Before becoming an actress, Danneel was a model with companies such as Big Sexy Hair and Juicy Jeans. She has done photoshoots for Maxim, Men's Health, InStyle, Limbo Jewelry, and Women and Their Work, along with many others.
The independent film The Plight of Clownana marks her first notable acting role. The film also starred Jensen Ackles, Christian Kane, and Riley Smith. Danneel met Ackles, her future husband, on the set of this film. Danneel filmed Ten Inch Hero in 2006 alongside Jensen Ackles and One Tree Hill alum Elisabeth Harnois. It was during the filming of Ten Inch Hero that Danneel and Jensen fell in love with each other. Danneel also starred in the Harold & Kumar movies, Fired Up!, and The Backup Plan.
Her first television role was in the soap opera One Life to Live, where she starred as Shannon McBain. She guest-starred on What I Like About You, Joey, JAG, and Charmed before being cast on One Tree Hill. Danneel joined the WB/CW drama One Tree Hill in 2005 as Rachel Gatina, a bad-girl who brought trouble to the Tree Hill students. Rachel eventually befriended Brooke Davis, and the two went on to have a lasting friendship. Ackles departed One Tree Hill in season 4 but returned for recurring guest episodes in later seasons. After One Tree Hill, Ackles went on to guest star in How I Met Your Mother, NCIS, and many other shows. She starred in the short-lived comedy Friends with Benefits as Sara Maxwell, an emotionally and sexually confused doctor. The show was never given a series order, but the first season was released. In 2018, Danneel joined the cast of Supernatural alongside her husband, Jensen Ackles, as Anael, an angel possessing Sister Jo, a well-known faith-healer. She has appeared in 5 episodes.
Danneel also appeared in multiple television movies, including Baby Boot Camp, Naughty or Nice, and The Christmas Contract. Danneel starred alongside One Tree Hill co-star Hilarie Burton in Naughty or Nice. Danneel, Hilarie Burton, Antwon Tanner, Robert Buckley, and Tyler Hilton reunited for the Lifetime Christmas movie The Christmas Contract, which aired in 2018.
Following Hurricane Florence in Wilmington, NC, Danneel partnered with Random Acts and her fellow One Tree Hill female co-stars to raise money for relief efforts.
Following sexual harassment and assault allegations against Mark Schwan, Danneel revealed that Schwan had a negative impact on her career. After leaving One Tree Hill due to Schwan's behavior, she only came back during season 7 because she knew Schwan would not be inappropriate in front of her co-star Paul Johansson, who portrayed Dan Scott.
Danneel married actor Jensen Ackles on May 15, 2010, following a six-month engagement. They were married in Dallas, Texas, with One Tree Hill co-stars Hilarie Burton, Bevin Prince, and Elisabeth Harnois serving as Danneel's bridesmaids. The Ackles have three children together, Justice Jay "JJ" (May 30th, 2013) and twins, Zeppelin Bram and Arrow Rhodes (December 2nd, 2016).
Danneel now resides in Austin, Texas with her family. Danneel, Jensen, and her brother Gino opened "Family Business Beer Company," a craft brewery in Dripping Springs, Texas in 2018. Danneel now spends her time partnering with organizations in Austin for philanthropic projects, and also pursues creative projects in Austin. Recently, Danneel collaborated with Limbo Jewelry to create a unique jewelry collection. The collection benefits Creative Action, an Austin-based charity aimed at foster youth-development projects that encourage creativity and arts education. To date, the collection has raised over $30,000 for Creative Action. Danneel also sits on the board of Random Acts and Creative Action and donates her time to Out Youth and The Birthday Party Project.
- Her first name, Elta, comes from her great-grandmother. She goes by her middle name, Danneel, which comes from a street in New Orleans.
- Danneel has 4 tattoos: One of them is a matching tattoo with Hilarie, which says "mischief," that she got at Hilarie's wedding. She also has a shark tattooed on her butt, an arrow on her left arm in honor of her children, and a "robe-woman," who resembles a muse, on her right arm.
- She's a skilled gymnast, and her musical talents include playing the piano and singing.
- Ranked #62 in Maxim's "Hot 100" list for 2007.
- Danneel and her husband, Jensen, were featured in an Architectural Digest article, showcasing their custom home in Austin, Texas. Their video is one of the top-15 most popular on the Architectural Digest YouTube channel.
- Worked as a model for such companies as Big Sexy Hair and Juicy Jeans before she landed her first acting role.
- She is nicknamed Elmo by the cast and crew of "One Tree Hill" (2003).
- Danneel is still close with her "One Tree Hill" co-stars Hilarie Burton, Elizabeth Harnois, and Bevin Prince. Danneel was a witness at Hilarie Burton's wedding, and the two consider each other sisters.
- Danneel, along with husband Jensen, introduced Hilarie and her now-husband, Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
- Was in Ten Inch Hero (2007) with her "One Tree Hill" (2003) co-star Elisabeth Harnois and her now-husband Jensen Ackles.
- Ranked #45 on the Maxim magazine Hot 100 of 2008 list.
- Has a dog together with her husband Jensen Ackles. It's a so-called cockapoo named Icarus.
- "One Tree Hill" costars Hilarie Burton and Bevin Prince were bridesmaids and costar Elisabeth Harnois was the maid of honor at her wedding.
- Harris and husband Jensen Ackles welcomed their first child 2 weeks after their 3rd wedding anniversary.