The Big Bang Theory stars Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco didn’t just play a couple on the small screen for over a decade, they also secretly dated for two years in the real world between 2007 and 2009. The pair never spoke about their personal relationship until after their split and the secrecy may actually have been a catalyst for their breakup.
As Cuoco admitted to CBS Watch! Magazine in 2010, the constant need to be sneaking around eventually took its toll. “That’s not the kind of relationship I want. I don’t want to be hiding,” she told the outlet. “We couldn’t do anything. It wasn’t as fun as we wanted it to be.”
Despite making the difficult decision to no longer be a couple while still having to portray a strong romantic attraction on the show, the duo managed to keep their professional relationship and friendship intact. In fact, they handled their separation so well that their bond became stronger, proving that true friendship can overcome even the worst heartbreak.
They handled their split the right way
While their characters’ romance on The Big Bang Theory blossomed in 2009, Galecki and Cuoco’s real-life coupling sadly came to an end, but they came out of the experience stronger than ever. Playing a loving couple on-screen while splitting off-screen may have made their breakup more complicated, but the duo handled it like pros.
As Cuoco told CBS Watch! magazine in 2010, “Moments were really hard, but we have such a love for each other — and we knew we weren’t destined to be together — that we accepted it and said, ‘Look, if we ever break up, we will be professional.” And they were.
Calling their time together a “wonderful relationship” in a 2019 cover story for Haute Living, the actress revealed just how they managed to go their separate ways romantically without letting the split compromise their friendship nor their careers. “We weren’t weird, which is what was weird,” she explained. “It was a mutual breakup, and you can rarely say that.”
“Johnny and I were friends first, then obviously we dated,” she continued. “When we broke up, it was funny because that was when our relationship on the show was hot and heavy. There were a lot of bed scenes. We were a little like, ‘We were trying to end the relationship and it kept falling back in.’ We got over it really fast, and we’re closer than ever now. It could have gone either way, and I was really proud of us.”
They share each other’s milestones
From coworkers to friends to lovers and back again, Galecki and Cuoco’s relationship has been quite the roller coaster, but one thing has always remained the same: their unshakeable friendship.
A prime example of this special bond is the fact that they have continued to actively celebrate each other’s special milestones, including birthdays and weddings, even after their split. That’s because, as Galecki told Watch! magazine in 2013, “We’re dear friends, still. Kaley’s not just an ex, she’s a part of my life.”
When Galecki turned 43 in 2018, Cuoco celebrated by posting a sweet throwback snap to Instagram, writing, “Happy happy birthday to the best TV husband a girl could ask for! This pic was taken during our first press tour in Rome. I don’t think we had any idea the ride we would be on! Love u Mooks!”
Meanwhile, when Cuoco tied the knot with equestrian Karl Cook in July 2018, not only did Galecki attend the wedding, but he had a great time, even raving about the big day about on social media. Sharing a photo of himself holding the bride’s hands and smiling from ear to ear, he wrote, “Couldn’t be happier for my fake wife @normancook and @mrtankcook whose words brought us all to tears last night. So much love for you both.”
In another shot, the trio posed for the camera with Galecki writing, “Deepest congrats to the newlyweds. Love you both so much @normancook & @mrtankcook So moved by tonight.”
A few months later, during an appearance on The Late Late Show, host James Corden asked the actor if going to Cuoco’s nuptials felt weird in any way and Galecki quickly set the record straight, saying, “Not at all. It was a beautiful wedding.”
They’re so close, it sparks rumors
After Cuoco split from her tennis player husband Ryan Sweeting in 2015, rumors began circling that she and Galecki had rekindled their romance. The headlines were no big surprise, given the fact that they spend so much time together and aren’t afraid to show their love for one another.
They even dress alike and as Cuoco gushed to The Talk, “He’s one of my best friends and one of the closest people I’ve ever worked with. I don’t even know how to describe it,” she elaborated. “Into an 11-year relationship, he’s one of the closest people I’ve ever worked with, for sure. We know each other really well. We call each other a tag team so we’re always doing stuff together and going in on stuff together. He’s been a great support for a long time.”
Despite headlines repeatedly linking them together romantically, Cuoco set the record straight about their relationship back in 2015.
Taking to Instagram, she wrote, “So sorry to disappoint, but no home wreckers or secret flings going on here. Me and @sanctionedjohnnygalecki are just the best of buds. Leonard and Penny will just have to suffice!!!” she joked. Galecki added his own post, joking, “No scandals / homewreckers / pregnancies here, y’all. Just profound friendship.”