The former couple, who dated for two years while working on the CBS hit comedy, spoke openly about how they couldn’t resist one another’s gravitational pulls to journalist Jessica Radloff for her upcoming book, “The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series.” Excerpts from Radloff’s history of the show was published Monday in Vanity Fair.
Although Galecki appears to be publicly single and Cuoco is currently dating “Ozark” actor Tom Pelphrey, the two remain close friends and gushed to Radloff about their on-set romance.
Cuoco and Galecki — who also played the show’s central love interests, Penny and Leonard — confirmed to Radloff that their chemistry from the beginning wasn’t that much different from that of their characters.
“I think a lot of what made Leonard and Penny work so well was my relationship with Johnny off camera, which turned into such sarcastic banter that bled into Penny and Leonard,” Cuoco told Radloff. “Johnny and I’s relationship, in a way, was mimicking Penny and Leonard. They were always giving each other shit, and Johnny and I have a similar relationship — which you do after years of being together. We’ve always had each other’s backs, and you can’t lose that. And I do think it happened on-screen. It made our relationship funny and endearing.”
The two confirmed that they immediately had crushes but were unaware of the other’s feelings — especially since both were in other relationships when they started on the show.
But a scene in the Season 1 episode titled “The Nerdvana Annihilation” — in which Leonard has a daydream in which he saves Penny — shifted everything for the pair.
In Leonard’s fantasy he assists Penny down an elevator shaft, and in the scene the two are intertwined in one another’s arms and share a kiss.
Galecki told Radloff that because the scene involved a stunt, they had to be in one another’s arms for “quite some time,” but he noticed that Cuoco seened pretty comfortable the entire time.
“Kaley didn’t look freaked out at all. In fact, she looked extremely happy in those arms,” Galecki said, according to the excerpt in VF. “That was certainly one of the moments that I think — ”
“I think we fell a little in love in that elevator shaft,” Cuoco interjected.
“We felt something, yeah. I think that was a massive turning point [in our relationship],” Galecki continued. “At that point, both she and I knew that something mutual was felt, and that it was going to be more of a distraction from the work to try and continue to ignore it than to actually recognize it and surrender to it.”
“I was like, ‘Uh-oh.’ I was crushing so hard on him,” Cuoco admitted. “So much so that I was like, ‘Get me out of here,’ because he had to hold me up and we had to do this really close thing. Even my cheeks were really red. I was super nervous and kept thinking, ‘Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God.’ I was just a nervous wreck being that close to him in the moment.”
The two went on to detail their courtship, which included Galecki inviting Cuoco on a cast getaway, both of them breaking up with their respective partners and Galecki eventually asking Cuoco out for drink.
“I was so excited when he texted me. I was like, ‘Oh my God.’ And I knew that was going to be trouble — getting a glass of wine with him,” Cuoco said. “I knew. And we kissed at the bar! It’s so dark in there that you almost feel like you can do anything, but then it was like, ‘Uh-oh, I think this is really going to be bad.’ [Laughs] We started kissing in the bar area, and then we were kissing in the parking lot. Johnny can get really in his head and want to hide, whereas I’m the direct opposite. I would have told everybody the next day at the table read. I would have announced it and said, ‘We’re together!’ But he was like, ‘We can’t tell anyone!’ So we kept it quiet.”
The two agreed to keep their romance under wraps. Cuoco noted to the author that it was easy to not make it public because “social media was nowhere what it is now” — but keeping it from the cast and crew was a bit trickier.
Galecki remembered a time when the show’s creator, Chuck Lorre, caught them smooching.
“There was one time Chuck busted us hiding behind a car in the parking lot,” Galecki said. “It was after a show when we went outside, and we saw Chuck walk solo out of the stage. We were by some cars, and we ducked down, like kids hiding from their parents!”
To read Lorre’s recollection — and more about Galecki and Cuoco’s relationship, head over to Vanity Fair.