‘The Big Bang Theory’: How Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco Began Dating with a Text

The Big Bang Theory is still dropping bombshells years after the series finale. While it was known that stars Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco dated during the series, they’re now sharing exactly how they first got together, in a new book commemorating the show’s 15th anniversary. 

'Big Bang Theory': Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco kiss on the show
Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco| Michael Yarish/CBS via Getty Images

The anniversary book’s author, Jessica Radloff, shared excerpts of the forthcoming book on Vanity Fair. The book hits shelves on Oct. 11 but here’s a preview of how the magic happened for Galecki and Cuoco.

Kaley Cuoco had a crush on Johnny Galecki from the beginning of ‘The Big Bang Theory’

On The Big Bang Theory, Cuoco played Penny, the new neighbor to scientists and nerds Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Leonard (Galecki). The characters had no game, but Cuoco said she was already vibing with Galecki.

“I had a very big crush on Johnny early on,” Cuoco told Radloff. “I was so not even hiding it. 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.”

For his part, Galecki said he didn’t notice at first. 

“I have a healthy ego, but you really have to kind of club me over the head to let me know you’re flirting with me,” Galecki said. “I had zero idea of any sort of crush before Kaley and I began dating.”

When Kaley Cuoco was single, they both made a move

Galecki and Cuoco shared stories of overtures made once The Big Bang Theory was in production, including Cuoco meeting her male co-stars for a weekend trip in Montecito, California. But, once Cuoco was single, Galecki made his move. After work at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, Galecki had dinner at the Smoke House restaurant across the street.

“I was there for a bit when I texted Kaley because I knew she lived in the valley,” Galecki said. “I said, ‘Hey, I’m just having a glass of white wine. Are you nearby?’ And she texted back yes and was there in like twenty minutes or something. She later told me she was like forty-five minutes away when she got that text.”

They kissed at the bar and made it official. Cuoco invited Galecki back to her place. 

She came back having showered, wearing nothing but a towel, and sat on my lap,” Galecki said. “I was like, ‘Okay, I guess we’re dating!’”

Cuoco claims she was wearing a robe and fully dressed underneath, but either way they started dating. 

‘The Big Bang Theory’ outlasted their relationship

Galecki and Cuoco drifted apart long before The Big Bang Theory ended. While Leonard and Penny stayed together, Galecki was honest about their real life differences. 

“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,” Galecki said. “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. I’m private in general, but it made me especially uneasy because we were working together, and the show was kind of snowballing at the time as far as viewer- ship.”

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Cuoco also acknowledged that their lives became too similar. 

“Johnny and I also ran out of things to talk about, because we’d be at work all day,” Cuoco said. “Then we’d go back to one of our places together, and say, ‘So how was your day? Simon was funny today, right?’ And we’d laugh because we had no mystery. But we were together for a long time. We really adored each other, and we were lucky because as our breakup was happening, there was no foul play, there was nothing bad about our relationship . . . it just ended. Yes, there was some hurt there for a bit, but it didn’t take us that long to go back to what we were before we were dating and be friends.”

How’s that for a will they or won’t they? Most celebrity romances are quite public but it took 15 years for this to come out.