Michael Weatherly Talks Flirtatious Behavior on Set of ‘NCIS’ and the Origin of the Gibbs Slap

Though currently leading the CBS procedural Bull, Michael Weatherly is most-known for his career-catalyzing turn as Agent DiNozzo in NCIS. Weatherly, adulated for his on-screen chemistry with actress Cote de Pablo (Ziva), played the wise-cracking agent boasting a slow-boiling romance with Ziva for nine scintillating seasons.

Former 'NCIS' star Michael Weatherly
Former ‘NCIS’ star Michael Weatherly | Photo by David Giesbrecht/CBS via Getty Images

Though there was great chemistry between Weatherly and de Pablo, the two never engaged in any off-screen romance; however, Cote de Pablo’s unavailability didn’t hinder Weatherly from turning his flirt on when he first began filming NCIS. 

When Weatherly first began NCIS in 2003, he was a 31-year-old single man, with a leading role on a primetime show, and a chiseled jawline to boot; in other words, he had pretty good odds of snagging a hot date. During an interview with the Associated Press (AP), Michael Weatherly discussed his flirtatious ways and how his behavior led to the iconic Gibbs slap.

Michael Weatherly on his flirtatious ways and the origin of the Gibbs slap in ‘NCIS’

Michael Weatherly explained to the AP that he could have never foreseen the success NCIS would come to know, before going onto recount his flirtatious behavior akin to his bachelor years. When discussing the early years on NCIS, Michael Weatherly stated:

“…Very early on, in season one, when I was not being a very good co-star, and Mark Harmon had a big scene with this admiral or something. And, I was off in a corner, trying to probably talk to some female extra or something…and get, you know, whatever I was trying to do – get some traction…I was a very footloose, fancy-free, newly single guy at the beginning of the show. And so, he just walked over to me, in the middle of the scene, and just whacked me in the back of the head, and I didn’t hear him coming. The crew cracked up, but we kept shooting, and they put it in the show.”

According to Michael Weatherly, he was quite the flirt when NCIS started, as he was newly single. He’s likely referencing the end of his relationship with former Dark Angel co-star Jessica Alba, whom he began dating after they met on-set.

Michael Weatherly explains that the Gibbs slap “all started” back in season one (when he was off “in a corner” trying to pick up a girl). What remains so funny about this factoid is that the behavior couldn’t be more characteristic of Dinozzo. Those behind NCIS should have known, from that moment, Weatherly was destined to slay the role! 

Is Michael Weatherly in a relationship with anyone today? 

Michael Weatherly has since slowed down. Today, Weatherly is married to screenwriter Bojanva Jankovic. The two have been together since 2009, and they have three children (two boys and one girl).

Prior to dating Alba and marrying Jankovic, Weatherly was married to American actress Amelie Heinle from 1995-1997. Heinle is most recognized for starring in The Young and the Restless, The Limey, Loving, Earth vs. The Spider, and more. 

Though Weatherly has been married twice and dated Jessica Alba, he has not been tied to many women in Hollywood; he has reported in the past that he tends to enter relationships as opposed to dating around.