Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki played Penny and Leonard in “The Big Bang Theory,” the show’s primary couple over the course of 12 seasons. The two also dated in real life, from the year 2008 to 2010. Cuoco now shares that she had a crush on Galecki from the series’ start.
“I had a very big crush on Johnny early on,” said Cuoco in an excerpt of “The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series,” published in Vanity Fair. ”I was so not even hiding it,“ she said. ”He has such swagger. We were both dating people at the time, but I only had eyes for Johnny. Then, when I found out he had eyes for me too, I was like, Uh‑oh, this is going to be trouble.“ Cuoco shares that their real-life chemistry contributed to their TV relationship, resulting in chemistry that was apparent.
”All the scenes up until we actually got together in real life, it was obvious there was always something there. There was chemistry and we were crushing on each other. That was the whole first season until we actually got together for real,” she said. She shared that their characters‘ first kiss was also the couple’s first. “I knew I looked real cute in that outfit, so I was feeling really good about myself,” she said. “And I knew he thought I looked cute because he commented on how cute I looked in that outfit earlier. But I was definitely nervous before that kiss.”
The two started dating while they were shooting the first season of the show, at first hiding their relationship from their co-workers. While Cuoco said that she would have been happy to share their relationship with the world, Galecki pushed them to take things slow. “Johnny can get really in his head and want to hide, whereas I’m the direct opposite. I would have told everybody the next day at the table read. I would have announced it and said, We’re together! But he was like, ‘We can’t tell anyone!’ So we kept it quiet,” she said.
“The Big Bang Theory” was an incredible success, running from the year 2007 until 2019. While the series was more than Penny and Leonard’s relationship, it was a contributing factor to its success. “We’ve always had each other’s backs, and you can’t lose that. And I do think it happened on-screen. It made our relationship funny and endearing,” said Cuoco.