Carlisle Cullen (pronounced Car-lyle) was born in 1640 in London, England and is the founder and leader of the Olympic coven. He is the second husband of Esme Cullen and the adoptive father of Emmett, Alice, Edward Cullen, and Jasper and Rosalie Hale. He is also the adoptive father-in-law of Bella Swan and adoptive grandfather of Renesmee Cullen.
In his human life, Carlisle was very compassionate, when he was turned this manifested into unparalleled compassion that allowed him to perfect his lifestyle as a "vegetarian" among vampires, to the point that he is able to completely resist the temptation of human blood even if it is in large amounts and pass this restraint to his family. His Life and Death counterpart is Carine Cullen.
- "Carlisle was born in London, in the sixteen-forties, he believes. Time wasn't marked as accurately then, for the common people anyway."
- ―Edward on Carlisle[src]
Carlisle Cullen was the son of an Anglican pastor. He was born sometime in 1640 in London, during a time of religious and political upheaval. His mother died giving birth to him. Carlisle's father and other pastors led hunts for werewolves, witches, and vampires, claiming that they were attempting to rid the world of evil and sin. Many a time, however, these groups would end up killing innocent citizens. As his father aged, Carlisle took over the raids. He was less at ease about killing as his father was, but he was intelligent enough to find a real coven of vampires inhabiting the sewers of London. Carlisle led the hunt after them, and in the chaos that ensued, he was attacked and left bleeding in the street by a vampire. Knowing what his father would do, Carlisle hid himself in a potato cellar for his painful transformation, emerging three days later as a vampire. Carlisle was repelled and horrified by what he had become, and tried various ways of killing himself, including starvation, drowning, and jumping off cliffs. Eventually he was so desperate for blood that while he was hiding in a cave in a forest he attacked and fed on a herd of passing deer. He found that he could survive off animal blood and he considered this much more humane than drinking the blood of a human, thereby killing them.
Carlisle found new life in this fact and over the course of about two centuries was able to perfect his ability to resist the bloodlust caused by the scent of human blood. During these two centuries, Carlisle studied at night, becoming a "nighttime patron of the arts." As a result of his meticulous studying, Carlisle was able to become a brilliant doctor. One of the first vampires he met after his transformation was Alistair, who completely shunned company, but because Carlisle had been lonely for centuries, he'd managed to make Alistair respond a little bit before they parted ways on odd terms. Carlisle was studying in Italy when he stumbled across the Volturi, the dominant vampire coven that was led by three vampires named Aro, Marcus, and Caius. They were much more educated and refined than those living in the sewers of London, but still lived on human blood. While they attempted to convert Carlisle to his natural food source, their attempts were unsuccessful. After living with the Volturi for two decades, Carlisle moved on to the New World, where he became a doctor and used his skills to help people.
In 1911, Carlisle worked as a doctor in Columbus. Because the local doctor was away, he was assigned to treat Esme Anne Platt, a young teenager at the time, after she broke her leg falling out of a tree. They felt a strong mutual attraction, even though their encounter was brief. Though he had found ways to use his skills for good, he did not find what he was searching for: a companion who shared his philosophy and value for human life. His loneliness increased over the years, and eventually he began considering creating a companion of his own; however, the idea of cursing someone else with the same life as he repulsed him.
In 1918, Carlisle worked night shifts in a Chicago hospital during the Spanish influenza epidemic. During the epidemic, Carlisle encountered a dying woman named Elizabeth Masen. Her son, Edward, was dying of influenza as well. Elizabeth Masen begged Carlisle to do anything within his power to save her son as she lay dying. Out of loneliness, and armed with the knowledge that Edward was alone in the world, he changed him, making him his companion. The two started traveling together, using the cover story that Edward was the younger brother of Carlisle's late wife.
Not long after, in 1921, Carlisle and Edward moved to Ashland, Wisconsin, where Carlisle was called to the bedside of a dying woman. He was surprised when he found out the woman was Esme, who suffered injuries from a failed suicide attempt spurred by the loss of her child. Remembering her as the ever-so-happy young girl he met before and unable to believe that someone as vivacious and beautiful as she would meet such cruel fate, he changed her into a vampire to save her life. He then explained to Esme about what he had done to save her. To his surprise, she was not upset by his decision; she, too, remembered their first meeting, and had always considered Carlisle her ideal of a gentleman. They soon fell in love and married.
Carlisle then turned Rosalie Hale, a young woman who was raped and almost killed by her drunken fiancé and his friends before leaving her in the street to die. Carlisle hoped for Rosalie to become Edward's mate, but they were never more than siblings to each other. 2 years later, while hunting, Rosalie found a young man named Emmett McCarty who had been mauled by a bear. She carried him over 100 miles back to Carlisle to be changed. Around 1950, Mary Alice Brandon and Jasper Whitlock joined his coven. Alice and Jasper met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1948, and sought out the Cullens based on Alice's visions. Rosalie and Jasper pose as twins, taking the surname "Hale" for their time in Forks, while Alice changed her name to Cullen. (The whole of the coven is referred to as "the Cullens", despite Rosalie and Jasper using the name "Hale".)
Much later, Carlisle and his family moved to Forks, Washington where they had lived before (shortly after Emmett and before Alice and Jasper joined) and had made a treaty with the Quileute tribe, led by a shape-shifter named Ephraim Black. The treaty stated that the Quileutes would leave the Cullens alone and not reveal them to humans if the Cullens would refrain from biting humans - whether to kill or change them―or trespassing on Quileute land. Because of the treaty, the Cullens were able to live in relative peace.
- "He was young, he was blond… and he was handsomer than any movie star I'd ever seen. He was pale, though, and tired-looking with circles under his eyes. From Charlie's description, this had to be Edward's father."
At the start of Twilight the Cullens have lived in Forks, Washington for two years. Carlisle currently works at Forks Hospital, becoming their chief doctor. With his riches that he had accumulated as a successful doctor over two centuries, he bought his black Mercedes S55 AMG.
After his adoptive son Edward saved Bella Swan from being crushed by Tyler Crowley's van that spun out of control, Carlisle treats her. Edward later begins to fall in love with Bella, despite his attempts to stay away from her because of his lust for her blood. Bella eventually reciprocates Edward's feelings. Carlisle is happy to see that Edward, who is the only member of his family who hasn't found love, has finally found someone.
During this time, another coven of vampires sweeps into Forks. When one of them, James, decides to hunt Bella, Carlisle joins his family in hunting James before he could hurt Bella. Bella and the Cullens split up: Alice and Jasper take Bella to Phoenix, Arizona, Esme and Rosalie remain in Forks to protect Charlie (Bella's father), and Emmett, Edward, and Carlisle hunt James. James eventually goes to Phoenix and lures Bella out of hiding but is killed by Emmett and Jasper. James still manages to hurt Bella; she suffers a broken leg, broken ribs, many cuts, and a bite on her hand. After Edward sucked the venom from her, she is able to recover with the help of Carlisle.
Carlisle treats Bella in New Moon after she cut her arm when Edward shoved her into a wall filled with glass to protect her from a blood-thirsty Jasper. Bella questions Carlisle on how he can withstand the smell of her blood when the others have a hard time being around her. Carlisle responds by saying that it is possible because he enjoys what he does, and is pleased when his enhanced abilities help save someone who otherwise would have been gone.
Some time after this, Edward leaves Bella, claiming he no longer wanted her, and their family relocates to Ithaca, New York. In reality, Edward, deeply conflicted, does so to ensure her safety, and still loving her completely. During this time, Carlisle works night shifts and teaches part time at Cornell, where Jasper studies philosophy. Six months later, Edward came to believe Bella was dead, and went to Italy to ask the Volturi to kill him. Alice and Bella were able to find him in time; however, the Volturi said that Bella either had to become a vampire or be silenced permanently, for she knew too much about the vampire world.
Carlisle and his family meet Edward, Alice, and Bella at the airport after Bella stops Edward from his suicide mission. He offers his joy and gratitude to Bella for saving Edward. Later, when Bella asks the Cullens if she should join them, he gives his vote in favor of turning her into a vampire, even saying he will do it himself after Bella's graduation, though Edward, who was originally against the idea, agrees to do it himself if Bella would marry him first.
His family moves back to Forks and Carlisle is quickly accepted by his old staff.
At the start of Eclipse, a string of unsolved murders are happening in Seattle, not far from Forks. But Carlisle and the rest of the Cullens, after hearing the news about them, know that vampires are behind it. Eventually, they realize that someone is creating an army of newborn vampires. When the Cullens' closest allies, the Denali coven, abandon them, Carlisle and his family form an unlikely alliance with the Quileute werewolves. The vampire behind the newborns turns out to be Victoria, James' mate. Her army is destroyed by the combined forces of the Cullens and the pack of Quileute werewolves while Victoria herself is beheaded by Edward when she makes an attempt on Bella's life during the battle.
While this goes on, Jacob is hurt at the clearing when he tries to protect Leah Clearwater from a newborn. Carlisle treats Jacob's wounds, as they would not be able to take him to a normal doctor. After getting Jacob to phase back into human form, they take him back to his house, and Carlisle is forced to re-break Jacob's injuries, as his bones had healed crooked and out of line. Jacob is hostile towards Carlisle as he treats him, but Bella tells Jacob to just accept Carlisle's advice. It is while Carlisle is treating Jacob that he takes a blood sample and does tests with it, on the claim that he is fascinated by werewolves. It is then that he finds out that werewolves have 24 pairs of chromosomes, 1 more pair than a human and 1 less than a vampire.
The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner
- "The blond vampire from the clearing was staring intently at me, his body ready to spring. He looked very capable, much more experienced than Riley. But he wasn't lunging at me. He wasn't crazed like Raoul or Kristie. He was totally in control."
- ―Bree Tanner
In the novella of The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, Carlisle catches a running Bree Tanner at the end of the battle. But when he tries to kill, she says "Please", which makes him hesitate. He then offers to spare her life in exchange for her surrender: and she agrees. He also convinces the others to let her live; Jasper is the most reluctant, but he and Esme persuade him in the end.
When the Volturi arrive, Carlisle and some of his family members attempt to convince them to spare Bree's life, going as far as to take responsibility for her, but their attempts end in failure and Bree is executed by the Volturi. Bree, however, is content to die with the Cullen's kindness.
- "Is there no hope, then?"
In Breaking Dawn, Carlisle attends Edward and Bella's wedding. After the wedding, Bella and Edward go to their honeymoon place, Isle Esme, which Carlisle gave to Esme as a wedding gift. During the honeymoon, Alice calls Edward but Bella answers the phone instead. Bella then asks to speak to Carlisle, hoping that he could help her understand what was happening.
Bella tells Carlisle that she might be pregnant, and, after being informed of her symptoms, Carlisle agrees. Edward brings Bella back to Forks so Carlisle can perform an abortion, but Bella already feels a bond with her unborn child and insists on giving birth. When Edward is talking to Jacob, he tells him that Carlisle would have gone along with him in aborting the hybrid, but Esme was against it, and Carlisle would not go against her.
After Bella gives birth to Renesmee and becomes a vampire, Carlisle and the entire family immediately become attached to the newborn baby. Renesmee also leads to the treaty with the werewolves to a stronger bond when Jacob Black imprints on her. Carlisle is very impressed with Bella's ability to restrain control over her thirst and emotions, which is something that most newborns are unable to do.
When the Volturi hear of Renesmee from Irina, they believe she is an immortal child, and gather the entire guard and wives and witnesses to destroy Carlisle and his entire family. Carlisle is saddened that Alice and Jasper have left them, but respects their decision. Over the month it takes for the Volturi to arrive, Carlisle and the other Cullens gather a number of witnesses of their own to testify that Renesmee is not an immortal child. He also persuades his Irish friend, Siobhan, to visualize a peaceful situation with the Volturi because he suspects she has an undiscovered talent of manipulating reality.
In Alice's vision, he is killed by Aro (whom rips off his head) while trying to save Alice from being captured. His body is then lit on fire while Aro stands smiling and holding his head. This spurs the Cullens and witnesses into action and they charge, and the battle begins. In the end, the battle is avoided and Carlisle's doom is prevented.
With help from Nahuel's witness, the wolves, and Bella's mental shield, their efforts are successful, and the Volturi retreat in fear. Carlisle and his family's allies suspect that the Volturi may attempt to avenge their humiliation in the future, and Carlisle says they will stand against them again if that time comes.
- "Then a doctor walked around the corner, and my mouth fell open. He was young, he was blond… and he was handsomer than any other movie star I'd seen. He was pale, though, and tired-looking, with circles under his eyes. From Charlie's description, this had to be Edward's father."
- ―Bella upon seeing Carlisle for the first time[src]
Carlisle is described as looking like a model. He has collar-length blond hair, is 6'2", with a well-toned medium frame, gentle eyes and was 23 when he was changed. He is described as looking like a movie star and Charlie (Bella's father) said that many nurses cannot concentrate on their work while he is around. But as soon as Carlisle was settled and married to Esme, Charlie said that the admiration was quickly hushed in the hospital. Carlisle is slight but muscular and has a slight English accent from his youth, but can speak with a flawless American accent. It is also stated in Breaking Dawn that he looks like Zeus's "younger better-looking brother" . His original eye color was blue before becoming a vampire.
Carlisle's most prominent personality trait is his compassion, which is what prompted him to practice his diet on animal blood and use his capabilities to help people in need instead of killing them. Stephenie Meyer has said that his "compassion-motivated self-control is really so incredible that it almost crosses the line into 'superpower'."
His loneliness in the years before he changed Edward and his love for his "children" also indicate that, like Esme, he is very family-motivated. Carlisle is also very patient and non-judgmental. He has a passion for art collecting, reading, and medicine. He is also very curious about the unknown, such as the genetic makeup of the Quileute tribe.
His peaceful and accepting nature has allowed him to make many friends, ranging from fellow vampires to humans and even werewolves, over the centuries. For a time, he was even willing to tolerate life amongst the Volturi, despite the marked contrast between his great compassion and Aro's callous disregard for human life - as shown, for example, when Aro dumped a profusely-bleeding human body outside the library where Carlisle was studying for no other reason than to test Carlisle's self-control.
In the book The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, Bree explained that she trusted him to accept her surrender, knowing, for some reason, that when he claimed that he did not want to fight but only wanted to protect his family, he was telling the truth.
Powers and abilities
- "How can you do this? Even Alice and Esme…"
"Years and years of practice. I barely notice the scent anymore… What I enjoy the very most is when my… enhanced abilities let me save someone who would otherwise have been lost. It's pleasant knowing that, thanks to what I can do, some people's lives are better because I exist. Even the sense of smell is a useful diagnostic tool at times."
- ―Carlisle and Bella[src]
Carlisle came up with his own theory as to why certain vampires have enhanced abilities; they bring something from their previous human life into their new vampire existence. Carlisle is also immortal, and had spent centuries perfecting his medical talents, becoming an excellent doctor. Unlike most vampires, after 300 years of practice he is no longer tempted by the scent of human blood, and is able to use it to help him in the workplace, therefore turning his "curse" to his advantage. He also believes that every vampire's strongest ability is enhanced during their transformation. What he brought into his next life was his incomparable compassion for humans and vampires, which was what prompted him to redirect his diet to animal blood in the first place. He also uses his sense of smell to locate injured people who might have a chance to be saved.
Despite his naturally gentle personality and superior control over his instincts, he is also quite adapted in combat much like his adopted children and wife, as he easily conquers newborns in Eclipse.
Carlisle is the second husband of Esme Cullen and the adoptive father of Emmett, Alice and Edward Cullen, as well as Jasper and Rosalie Hale. He is the adoptive father-in-law of Bella Swan and the adoptive grandfather of Renesmee Cullen, Edward and Bella's daughter.
- Main article: Carlisle Cullen and Esme Cullen
- "More than eighty years had passed since Carlisle had found Esme, and yet he still looked at her with those incredulous eyes of first love. It would always be that way for them."
- ―Edward, on Carlisle's feelings for Esme[src]
Esme Cullen is Carlisle's wife, and the second vampire that Carlisle turned.
Carlisle and Esme first met when she was 16 and he treated her broken leg; she fell out of a tree and Carlisle was the only doctor present at that time. Both made an impression on the other—Esme never met another man that measured up to him. Her affection on Carlisle was strong enough for him to turn Esme into a vampire 10 years later, when he found her dying after she tried to commit suicide because she had lost her son. Proven as well is how much he truly loves her and was willing to change her into a vampire because he didn't want her to die or suffer any longer. To his surprise, Esme accepted her transformation very easily. They fell in love and married "quickly and easily". Her ability to love others with passion helped her to devote herself to her husband's lifestyle.
Edward says in Midnight Sun that even though eighty years have passed since Carlisle found Esme, their love has never faded because he still looks at her with the same eyes of first love.
- "I look at my… son. His strength, his goodness, the brightness that shines out of him—and it only fuels that hope, that faith, more than ever. How could there not be more for one such as Edward?"
- ―Carlisle on Edward[src]
Edward Cullen is Carlisle's first adoptive son, and the first vampire that Carlisle turned.
He was created by Carlisle in 1918, where he was dying of Spanish influenza. Carlisle was working at the hospital overnight, where he met Elizabeth Masen who pleaded for him to do anything in his power to help Edward. Elizabeth died after an hour, and since there were not enough hands, and eyes, Carlisle brought Edward to his home where he changed him to fulfill Elizabeth's wishes, and also because he wanted a companion after those centuries of loneliness. Edward at first left Carlisle, for his unusual way of life, however, he came back eventually and has since traveled with him around the U.S., to keep their existence a secret without attracting notice of the non-aging factor of their new lives.
He provides Edward with the kind of love and bond that his real father did not, and Edward thinks of him as the best parent anyone could have. While Carlisle loves his son unconditionally and thinks very well of him, Edward does his best to live up to his father's expectations. Carlisle was very worried about his lack of happiness, and therefore was grateful when Bella came into his life.
Rosalie Hale is Carlisle's second adoptive child, and the third vampire that Carlisle turned.
He found her dying in the streets of Rochester, New York in 1933, after he smelled the blood, and could tell that she had been brutally raped by her drunk fiancé and his friends. He decided to change her into a vampire to save her life. Also, part of the reason he changed her was because he had hoped to make her Edward's mate, but they never showed any other affection than as siblings. He did not try to stop her when she went after her attackers, because he believed she deserved justice. Rosalie was resentful of his action, thinking he had taken away everything human about her, but decided to stay with his family so she wouldn't be alone.
Carlisle felt guilty for turning Rosalie against her will, which was why he complied to her wishes when she asked him to change Emmett into a vampire. He considered it a way to make amends with her by letting her choose a companion of her own. After this, she came to respect Carlisle as a father and healer.
She has studied medicine to help keep Carlisle updated on the most recent developments of the world's techniques.
Emmett Cullen is Carlisle's youngest adoptive son and the last vampire created by him.
Rosalie found him being mauled to death by a bear in 1935, and carried him over 100 miles back to Carlisle and asked him to turn him into a vampire. During his transformation, he believed that Rosalie was an angel and Carlisle was God. After his transformation was complete, they expected him to be upset by his change, but instead, he found comfort in it and became Rosalie's mate.
The exact details of Emmett and Carlisle's relationship is unknown, but they are quite close, and Emmett is always willing to help him out in tight spots. It has been mentioned by Edward that Carlisle and Esme kicked Rosalie and Emmett out a few times for ruining the houses that they had bought for them.
Alice Cullen is Carlisle's adoptive daughter. She had known about Carlisle and the family since 1920, thanks to her ability to foresee the future, which helped her find the Cullens and later joined them with her mate Jasper in 1950.
Alice respects Carlisle as a father, and Carlisle has absolute trust in her, even when she doubts herself.
When she and Jasper left in the middle of a crisis in Breaking Dawn, everyone is led to believe that they had deserted the rest of them. However, Carlisle still respected her decision and defended her when Sam accused her of betrayal. He is delighted when Alice and Jasper return with a prominent ally to save them all.
Jasper Hale is Carlisle's adoptive son. He and Alice joined Carlisle's family in 1950 after leaving his previous lifestyle as a human-feeding vampire. Throughout the decades, they had formed a strong family bond. In Eclipse, Carlisle shows faith in Jasper's leadership and necessary knowledge about newborns.
The exact details between Jasper and Carlisle's relationship is unknown, but it is known that Jasper has grown fond of Carlisle as much as he grew fond of the others over the years, though his emotional ties are not quite as deeply as Alice's to them.
- "Bella is a daughter to me now. A beloved daughter."
Bella Swan is Carlisle's adoptive daughter-in-law, married to Edward. She finds out about the Cullens' true identities after Edward became romantically involved with her, but finds their family interesting rather than frightening. Carlisle and Bella first meet at the hospital when the latter almost got crushed by a van and Edward saved her with his strength and speed. Carlisle is grateful to her existence, since he was constantly worried that Edward would not find a mate. She once comforts Carlisle that he is not cursed as a vampire, because of his kindness, unparalleled self-control, healing skills and immortality, all of which allow him to help people.
In New Moon, Bella gathers Edward's family to vote whether they let her become a vampire and join their family or stay human. Despite Edward and Rosalie's protests, Carlisle agrees to let Bella join them to keep his son from committing suicide if she dies. Bella recognizes Carlisle's authority as head of the family, noting that his vote mattered more than any majority.
She officially joins their family after marrying Edward, giving birth to Renesmee Cullen, and ultimately transforming into a vampire.
Renesmee Cullen is the biological daughter of Edward Cullen and Bella Swan (who carried her while she was still human), making her a hybrid between humans and vampires, as well as Carlisle's adopted granddaughter. While Bella was still pregnant, Carlisle and Edward wanted to remove the fetus, but with Bella's insistence, Rosalie's protection, and most importantly Esme's agreement, Carlisle finds himself put in a difficult situation. After her birth, Carlisle comes to love Renesmee as much as the rest of his family.
Although they mostly try to make her adjust to animal blood, she prefers human blood (not that she would bite humans) and Carlisle would sometimes bring donated human blood from the hospital.
- "No, I promise you that I did not mean you any harm. It's just that… I find your species fascinating. I suppose that the elements of vampiric nature have come to seem commonplace to me over centuries. Your family's divergence from humanity is much more interesting. Magical, almost."
- ―Carlisle to Jacob[src]
Jacob Black is a member of the Quileute tribe, and a shape-shifter who can phase into a giant wolf. His ancestor made a treaty with Carlisle's family long ago to protect his tribe and prohibit the Cullens from hunting on their lands and biting humans.
Jacob is initially very hostile towards the Cullens, especially Edward, because they are both in love with Bella and fighting for her. In Eclipse, when Victoria creates an army of newborn vampires to destroy the Cullens, they join forces with the Quileute wolves and gain victory on their side. Carlisle also tends to Jacob's injuries after being crushed by a newborn. Seeing Carlisle's gentle nature and kindness, he comes to respect him.
After Jacob imprints on his granddaughter, Renesmee, he begins to spend more time at the Cullens' house, and his relationship to all the vampires improves, including Carlisle. His imprinting on Renesmee also brings permanent peace between the Cullens and the Quileute wolves, as they have laws against harming a wolf's "imprinted one".
Peter Facinelli portrays Carlisle Cullen throughout the movie franchise.
Though he recognized that Carlisle might have had an English accent, he did not use one when filming Twilight because he thought Carlisle would have adapted to his surroundings and dropped the accent to avoid attention.
Peter also joked that he had realized that he did not like being "blonde" after doing this project.
- New Moon
- Breaking Dawn
| Bella Swan • Edward Cullen • Jacob Black • Renesmee Cullen • Carlisle Cullen • Esme Cullen • Rosalie Hale • Emmett Cullen • Alice Cullen • Jasper Hale • Charlie Swan • Victoria • Bree Tanner|
Beau Swan • Edythe Cullen • Carine Cullen • Earnest Cullen • Royal Hale • Eleanor Cullen • Archie Cullen • Jessamine Hale