Despite keeping their off-screen romance under wraps at the time, Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki's bond did start off with a bang.
As the Big Bang Theory actors—who starred as destined-to-be couple Penny and Leonard on the hit show for 12 years until its 2019 end—recalled, their IRL love story was written in the stars from almost the very beginning. (The two quietly dated from 2008 to 2010).
"All the scenes up until we actually got together in real life, it was obvious there was always something there," Kaley said in a Vanity Fair excerpt published Oct. 3 from The Big Bang Theory book by Jessica Radloff. "There was chemistry, and we were crushing on each other. That was the whole first season until we actually got together for real."
As for when that moment happened? Well, the turning point came when the two filmed a dream sequence for an episode later in the first season. For that particular scene, it involved the pair holding each other, nose-to-nose, in an elevator—which proved to be fruitful.
Kaley shared, "I think we fell a little in love in that elevator shaft." To which, Johnny added, "We felt something, yeah. I think that was a massive turning point [in our relationship]."
He 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."
And after the two co-stars surrendered, the couple would enjoy a "loving" relationship until they called it quits two years later. And although Johnny explained that there were multiple reasons for the split, he did note one important factor that came into play.
"I think one of the things that created a chasm between us was my strict policies of privacy, and Kaley being very, very open about her life," Johnny noted. "I was very uncomfortable with being public about it, and I think that hurt Kaley's feelings a little bit, and I can understand that. It certainly wasn't because I was embarrassed of her or our relationship, but I wanted to be protective of the audience's acceptance of Penny and Leonard, and without distraction from the tabloids."
Although Kaley and Johnny broke up in real life, their on-screen characters remained steadfast as a couple, with the two tying the knot by the series' end. And even though that may sound like an awkward time for some—as the pair explained, their development proved to be therapeutic.
"A wonderful thing about walking onto the stage, much of the time, was that I got to leave all my personal drama behind," Johnny shared. "I had to. But you would think it might have been weird given there was a time Kaley and I did consider marrying, so those scenes would have been complicated at the very least. But she and I are seasoned professionals, and we've been doing this since we were kids, so we used it as a bit of therapy."
And as Kaley, who is currently dating Tom Pelphrey noted, not only were she and Johnny able to work through their breakup—the two have remained the closest of friends.
"There was such a comfort level, and he always was so supportive of me," she said. "We would almost finish each other's sentences. We knew each other's characters so well, but he was just constantly a steadfast person in my life, on that show, on that set."