‘The King of Queens’: Leah Remini and Kevin James Argued On Set Leading to Awkward Kissing Scenes

King of Queens, as a sitcom, had a lot going for it. The TV show had well-written jokes and hilarious premises. But the heart of the show was the relationship between the two stars: Leah Remini and Kevin James. While the two seemingly have a great relationship offscreen, the truth is that according to Remini, they didn’t always get along on set. Let’s take a closer look at how Remini recounted some of the pair’s awkward kissing scenes, and why their occasional disagreements actually helped them as a team. 

What was the premise of ‘King of Queens?’ 

A spinoff of Everybody Loves Raymond, King of Queens followed the lives of a Queens couple. The couple also had the wife’s father, Arthur, living in the basement of their house.

The sitcom was a classically styled sitcom, in which a husband and wife took on a somewhat adversarial relationship through there was clearly love between them. The husband was a hefty delivery truck driver with a wisecracking wife. 

The sitcom aired on CBS and had multiple guest stars throughout its run. Along with James and Remini, it also featured the legendary Jerry Stiller as the father-in-law and comedian Patton Oswalt as one of the husband’s friends. 

Who did Kevin James and Leah Remini play on ‘King of Queens?’

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Remini and James played the husband and wife team starring at the center of the show, Carrie and Doug Heffernan. Remini was an actor by trade and James was a stand-up comedian before the series began. According to an interview with The Philly Voice, James saw himself as the novice compared to his costars when it came to acting: 

“I was definitely the weak link for sure as far as acting was concerned on the show. Leah (Remini) and Jerry (Stiller) had done a crazy amount of things. Leah had done so much stuff. It was my first gig. I learned a lot through it.”

James settled into the role and became a strong performer in his own right. What made the show work was Remini and James’ chemistry together. Both had great comedic timing, and they played well off of each other during the many arguments they had in front of the camera. But what some may not realize is that the at-times frosty relationship onscreen sometimes carried over offscreen. 

The onset arguments between Kevin James and Leah Remini that led to awkward kissing scenes

According to Oprah.com, Remini told Oprah Winfrey that despite the closeness between the pair, there were some uncomfortable exchanges during the filming of the show. They fought at several points throughout the show’s run. Sometimes, these fights were followed by scenes in which they needed to kiss. Remini said that they went through with those scenes, but not under optimal circumstances. 

“There were times Kevin and I would argue about something stupid, and we had to kiss but we’d make no eye contact.”

Leah Remini smiling in front of a white background with logos
Leah Remini | JC Olivera/Getty Images

Remini added that the duo’s strong bond is what led to their disagreements, making their relationship even stronger: 

“But that’s because we loved each other. If you don’t care about somebody, you don’t even bother to fight with them. When you tell somebody to go f’ themselves, and they don’t turn around and fight with you, then you know there’s a problem.”

The fact that Remini and James fought isn’t a sign that they were dysfunctional as an on-screen team. Quite the opposite. They felt comfortable enough around each other to not let their disagreements overtake their chemistry as characters. It’s clear that the end result was better for this, and it’s one of the reasons why the show was so good.