During the May 11 episode of The Kelly Clarkson Show, the singer confronted the actor over the line and got to the bottom of how it all came to be.
In the 2005 comedy, there's a scene where Steve Carell's character Andy, the titular 40-year-old virgin, is getting his chest waxed and he yells out Clarkson's name mid-rip. Judd Apatow, the writer and director of the film, told the Grammy winner Rogen was the one to write her moniker into the script and the Pineapple Express alum admitted this was true.
In addition to playing Andy's co-worker in the movie, Rogen co-produced it. At the time, Rogen explained, he was focused on writing and had been hired to pen a few jokes. For this particular scene, Apatow asked Rogen to write a list of "dirty jokes" and a list of "clean jokes" for Carell to yell out.
"We knew Carell was going to be waxed and he wouldn't be able to think clearly probably," the Neighbors star told Clarkson, "so we wanted to just be able to feed him things to say."
But Rogen said coming up with the clean jokes wasn't easy. As he recalled, "I honestly think I was sitting on my couch writing the jokes and you came on television, and I saw you and it was Kelly Clarkson."
Rogen also noted the sound of the letter k is "known for being funny in the comedy world." So, he added Clarkson's name to his list—which he actually showed a picture of during the episode—and the rest, as they say, is history.
Clarkson still remembers the first time she heard the name-drop in the film. She was walking into a theater to see a different movie and had missed some of the previews, including one for The 40-Year-Old Virgin. However, someone in the audience clued her in.
"They were like, 'They yelled your name in that trailer,'" she remembered. "And I was like, 'Why?'"
Today, Clarkson said fans still scream her name like Carell everywhere she goes. "'Since U Been Gone'? Never heard of it. But Kelly Clarkson's name being yelled during a waxing? That's what they know," she told Rogen. "It's amazing."
Carell and Clarkson actually met for the first time at the 2018 Golden Globes. "I thought she'd be mad at me about that," he said on The Tonight Show about the scene. "I wasn't sure 'cause I'd never met her over those years…Like, 'Is he making fun of me? Like, why would he say that in anguish?' Incidentally, I love Kelly Clarkson. I'm a big fan to begin with, and that's part of the reason I said it."
However, Carell said "she could not have been nicer." And it looks like the American Idol alum was happy to meet him, too. "He was so nice!" she told E! that year. "I love when you meet people that you love and they're lovely. That doesn't always happen. He was so cool."
(E!, NBC and Universal Pictures are all part of the NBCUniversal family).