Reed met Paul McDonald, a singer-songwriter and season 10 American Idol contestant, on the red carpet at the premiere of Red Riding Hood in March 2011. This moment was broadcast on an American Idol episode as part of a segment that showed the contestants attending the premiere. The pair began dating, and moved in together not long after. At the MTV Movie Awards on June 5, 2011, Reed was photographed with an engagement ring. Later that month, McDonald confirmed their engagement in an interview. The couple married on October 16, 2011, in Malibu.
On March 29, 2014 it was announced that they were separated. "After much consideration, Nikki Reed and Paul McDonald are ending their marriage. They have been living separately for the past six months due to work obligations," says a rep for the actress.
On May 16, 2014 Nikki filed for divorce.