It was the meeting wanted 'round the world.
On the beam, Simone Biles is a four-time Olympic medalist who has captivated international attention for her gymnastic prowess. Behind the scenes, she caught the eye of one major celebrity fan—Zac Efron.
Months before the start of the 2016 Olympic Games, she appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres Show to confirm her secret crush on the Hollywood hunk. "Is it just 'cause he's gorgeous, is that why you like him?" Ellen DeGeneres asked. Her one-word answer? "Yes!"
Her crush drew national attention as even NBC's Nightly News could not avoid the subject, airing footage of her personal life-size Efron cutout safely kept behind her childhood bed. "Sometimes I used to kiss him on the cheek," Simone told NBC's Stephanie Gosk. Soon, the two were exchanging tweets, but from thousands of miles away.
Finally, after weeks of mounting public anticipation, NBC secretly arranged for the two to meet face to face for the first time Tuesday night.
"I totally have butterflies right now," Efron admitted to Hoda Kotb backstage while watching Biles perform her gold-winning routine in the floor exercises. In fact, the actor got teary-eyed as Simone was honored with her fourth Olympic medal and the National Anthem played out. "That's so good," he said under his breath.