There is the biggest CBS sitcom starring Kaley Christine Cuoco, 36, Penny, a Cheesecake Factory employee and aspiring actress on The Big Bang Theory (2007-2019), and Johnny Galecki, 47, as physicist Dr. Leonard Hofstadter.
Kaley Cuoco began dating Johnny Galecki around the time their fictional characters were getting together but kept their relationship under wraps in case it “ruined” the show.
In an oral history of The Big Bang Theory, Cuoco describes her crush on her oblivious co-star and their first on-camera kiss as one of the show’s most “uncomfortable” moments.
Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki: Real-Life Chemistry
In real life, Kaley Cuoco and Galecki dated from 2008 to 2010, when they had a beautiful relationship. In an interview with a journalist, they discussed how they couldn’t resist one another’s attraction.
Despite playing opposite each other, Cuoco and Johnny Galecki had the same chemistry as their characters, Penny and Leonard, the journalist explained.
As well as this, Cuoco told a journalist, “I think a lot of what made Leonard and Penny work so well was my relationship with Johnny off camera, which turned into such sarcastic banter that bled into Penny and Leonard.”
She confessed, “I had a very big crush on Johnny early on,” in an excerpt from an upcoming oral history of the show.
In late 2016, Cuoco began dating Karl Cook, with whom she later got married in 2018. It wasn’t until a few months ago that Cuoco moved on from her ex-husband, despite announcing their divorce in 2021.
Johnny Galecki’s Impact on Kaley Cuoco
Kaley Cuoco revealed in an exclusive excerpt of The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series, “I was so not even hiding it,”
“He has such swagger. We were dating people then, but I only had eyes for Johnny. So then, when I found out he had eyes for me too, I was like, Uh‑oh, this is going to be trouble.”
The actress also referred to Penny’s sexy kitten costume that she wore to Leonard’s Halloween party during Penny’s first kiss with Leonard.
While both were in other relationships when they started the show, they immediately had crushes but were unaware of each other’s feelings.
An Elevator Shaft Dream Sequence in Season 1: Johnny Galecki’s Feelings for Kaley Cuoco
Penny and Leonard embrace in the dream sequence of episode 14 after Leonard saves her in the elevator shaft. However, they were nose-to-nose for hours while filming the sequence. At that moment, Galecki felt what Cuoco was already feeling.
“I think we fell a little in love in that elevator shaft,” Cuoco added in an interview.
“We felt something, yeah,” Johnny Galecki continued.
It was clear to both that there was something mutually felt and that trying to ignore it would distract from the work more than actually accepting it.