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While watching The Big Bang Theory, it's so obvious that Penny (Kaley Cuoco) and Leonard (Johnny Galecki) have amazing chemistry, even when they're going through a rough patch. Part of that is because of the way the show is written — but part of that is also because Kaley, 35, and Johnny, 46, are dear friends and a former couple in real life.
If you have a moment, take a break from watching Big Bang reruns and read about the relationship between the two costars. As both Kaley and Johnny went through various life phases — getting married, becoming a parent, enduring breakups — the two have been by each other's side every step of the way.
September 2007: Kaley and Johnny start working on The Big Bang Theory together
While appearing on the Armchair Expert podcast last year, Kaley revealed that despite Johnny having a girlfriend when the show first started, she had a huge crush on her costar.
"The first few episodes we would talk and hang out and as things went on finally we got drinks one night," she explained. "I had such a crush on him, and I didn't think he felt that way about me."
As Kaley put it, the two eventually "fell mad" for each other, just as their Big Bang Theory characters eventually did.
The Big Bang Theory would go on to run for 12 years and wrapped up on May 16, 2019.
2007-2009: Kaley and Johnny date and break up
Despite being crazy for each other early on, Kaley revealed on the Armchair Expert podcast that their relationship ran its course and ended after two years. She also reportedly told CBS! Watch magazine in 2010 that hiding their relationship began to take a toll on the two of them.
"It was a wonderful relationship but we never spoke a word about it and never went anywhere together.," Kaley revealed. "We knew how to keep it deep inside and never bring it on that set, ever."
But when the two broke up, Kaley thinks Big Bang Theory creator Chuck Lorre wound up writing more hookup scenes between the two stars' characters.
"When we broke up, obviously it was a little sensitive for a minute," Kaley explained on Armchair Podcast. "But I remember those weeks that Chuck had written these episodes where all of a sudden our characters were like sleeping together every other second. And Johnny and I would talk, I’m like, ‘No but I think he did that on purpose.’ I still believe he might’ve ... just to f--k with us. ... Which makes me love him even more."
Luckily, their breakup turned into a strong friendship.
December 2013: Kaley marries Ryan Sweeting
Kaley even told Cosmopolitan that Johnny sat at the front row of her New Year's Eve wedding "with a huge smile on his face."
"By the grace of God, we became best buddies and moved on in such an elegant way," Kaley gushed to the publication. "[He's] one of my closest friends."
October 2015: Kaley announces her divorce from Ryan Sweeting
One month prior, Kaley appeared on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen and gushed about how Ryan and Johnny get along great.
"Johnny is actually one of my best friends. It’s a situation that ended well. I understand sometimes it doesn’t. It could have gone horrible," Kaley said. "He’s one of my dearest friends and Ryan loves him. Johnny loves [Ryan]. I got lucky."
After the divorce, Kaley got ahead of any speculation that her split from Ryan had anything to do with her friendship with Johnny.
"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 wrote at the time.
January 2016: Johnny and Kaley attend the People's Choice Awards together
Alas, even though they went as each other's "dates" and were seen being utterly adorable together, Kaley clarified on Instagram that the two were "#notdating" and simply attended the event together as good friends.
June 2018: Kaley marries Karl Cook
After the event, Johnny dedicated a few Instagram posts to the bride and groom. Most notably, he shared the above photo of himself and Kaley at the event. "Couldn’t be happier for my fake wife @normancook and @mrtankcook whose words brought us all to tears last night," Johnny wrote. "So much love for you both."
November 2019: Johnny welcomes first child with girlfriend Alaina Meyer
When speaking to US Weekly in March of 2020, Kaley spilled that she hadn't met Johnny and Alaina's son, Avery, yet, but couldn't wait to do so.
“[Johnny] sends me pictures constantly. He’s very proud," Kaley gushed. "It’s really, really sweet."
She later added: "He’s always wanted to have a baby so I think this was really exciting for him."
November 2020: Johnny splits with Alaina
The same day that news broke about Johnny and Alaina splitting up, Johnny took to Instagram to wish Kaley a happy birthday. Alongside his birthday message, Johnny shared several photos of the two together from over the years.
"The happiest 74th birthday to my fake wife @kaleycuoco You know how much I adore you and respect you. I’m so proud of all you are doing and so happy with your happiness," he wrote. "But most of all, our friendship and partnership over the years. XO, dear. Congratulations on 82 years of age."
Loving Johnny's joke about her age, Kaley wrote back: "THIS IS EVERYTHING! I LOVE U MOOKS! Even at my old age of 82!"
September 2021: Kaley divorces Karl Cook
This fall, Kaley filed for divorce from Karl and issued the following statement to Page Six: "We have made this decision together through an immense amount of respect and consideration for one another and request that you do the same in understanding that we will not be sharing any additional details or commenting further."
Earlier in the year when Kaley posted a Valentine's Day post dedicated to Karl, she wrote in the caption, "I don’t remember a moment before you entered my life.. what a boring life that must have been!"
Johnny wasted no time poking fun at their past relationship and cleverly replied, "Um." In return, Kaley simply wrote back, "LOL."
It's clear through thick and thin these two will always be best friends.
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