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February 25, 2011  | by: Jaclyn Hendricks

Alex Pettyfer

Action star-in-training? Check. High profile break-up with an on/off screen leading lady? Check. One bad-ass reputation? Double check. It seems that there’s a new Hollywood bad boy in town, and he’s close to being the next reigning champ at the box office. 20-year-old model-turned-actor (and gorgeous British import) Alex Pettyfer may be breaking the hearts of female admirers across the country, but he’s also well on his way to stealing the career of tween star-turned-A-lister Shia LaBeouf.

After first hitting the big screen in 2006 in the title role of the book-to-film adaptation of Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker, Pettfyer put his name on the map, as well as on the personal radar of Scream 4 starlet Emma Roberts.  The twosome not only starred in Wild Child but began dating soon after in 2008. Though the romance eventually fizzled, it wasn’t long before Pettyfer’s career started to sizzle (and soar) . In 2009, the Brit beauty was cast as the spoiled rotten “prince” in yet another Hollywood retelling of a popular teen novel, Beastly, which will hit theaters on March 4.

While Pettyfer’s previous credentials helped land him the coveted role of John Smith in I am Number Four, the pretty-boy actor managed to make his way into the press for other reasons as well, similar to another D.J. Caruso protege, Shia LaBeouf.

Pettyfer in I Am Number Four

Like LaBeouf’s Transformers franchise, the Four series does have sequel potential, but that is if Pettyfer manages to not only win over audiences and critics, but the studio execs.  While LaBeouf has already had his taste of the big leagues, appearing on-screen with Oscar winner Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford and Will Smith, Pettyfer may need to tone down his “cocky attitude” if he wants to continue working in this town.

Rumors recently surfaced that Pettyfer was a bit of a demanding diva both on set and off, while LaBeouf stirred a bit of negative press for himself after a string of drunken incidents ranging from a DUI to bar brawls.

Despite bad boy raps for both leading gents, their naughty ways managed to wrangle them some of Tinseltown’s hottest stars on the rise. In 2009, LaBeouf began romancing British actress Carey Mulligan, who turned into his girlfriend off-screen after appearing in Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps. The two dated for about a year before splitting in late 2010.

In similar fashion, Pettyfer stole the heart of Glee siren Dianna Agron, who is actually four years his senior. Though age didn’t seem to matter to the blonde bombshell of a couple, the two enjoyed a romantic bliss for less than a year.  The couple reportedly ended things after Four’s US release.

The Pretty (Recently Split) Couple

While both Pettyfer and LaBeouf may be singing the single blues for now, one question remains: these good-looking box office champs have the talent to stay in the limelight, but will their bad boy essence get in the way?

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