‘The Office:’ What Rashida Jones Said About Dating John Krasinski Before Playing His On-Screen Girlfriend

Fans of The Office tuned in each week to watch the blossoming romance of Jim Halpert (played by John Krasinski) and Pam Beesly (portrayed by Jenna Fischer). Though the characters end up tying the knot, the first few seasons on the show were spent keeping viewers guessing ‘will they or won’t they?’

While the Jim-Pam relationship was finding its footing, actress Rashida Jones was brought in to play Karen Filippelli – aka ‘the other woman’ – in 2006, fleshing out a love triangle storyline. Few may know that Krasinski and Jones dated in real life before the Parks and Rec actress landed the role on The Office.

Rashida Jones and John Krasinski of 'The Office'
Rashida Jones and John Krasinski of ‘The Office’ | Justin Lubin/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Rashida Jones thought fans would hate her

Playing the woman who gets in the middle of the beloved Jim-and-Pam coupling, Jones was thrilled to land the role of Karen yet concerned about how viewers would receive her.

The Office was definitely what they refer to as ‘my big break,’ ” she told the Hollywood Reporter in 2013. “I had anxiety and insomnia for the three weeks before my season aired because I was sure people would come and egg my house for getting in between Pam and Jim.”

In her early days of playing the part, Jones defended her character’s perspective in embarking on a relationship with Jim. “I mean, Karen really is smitten by Jim — she has no other design, she’s not trying to break them up,” Jones said in 2007, according to Entertainment Weekly. “She didn’t even know about Pam!”

The actress shared some other challenges of being a part of The Office cast, including trying to keep a straight face.

“My first day on the Scranton set, I was sure I was going to get fired because we were doing a conference room scene and Steve Carell was being so thoroughly and relentlessly funny that I couldn’t stop laughing,” Jones recalled. “He did something different, weird and incredible with every take. I seriously thought I was going to be excused, I was guffawing while they were rolling.”

‘Parks and Rec’ star and John Krasinski were an item

Apparently, Jones and Krasinski had some prior practice at portraying a couple before she took on the role of Jim’s paramour. Though neither have said much on the topic, the two dated for awhile before Jones was cast in The Office. While their romantic relationship ended before Jones auditioned for the part of Karen, the Parks and Rec star revealed that Krasinski was still one of her biggest cheerleaders.

He’s one of my closest friends,” Jones said in 2006, according to Screenrant. “He was incredibly supportive of me getting this job, and for the most part, if you go out with somebody and it doesn’t work out, there’s always a reason why you liked the person to begin with.

'The Office's' Rashida Jones and John Krasinski attend the after party for the premiere of New Line's 'The Last Mimzy'
Rashida Jones and John Krasinski | Alberto Rodriguez/ Getty Images

Despite their offscreen and onscreen romances ending in breakups, Jones clearly remained a fan of her Office co-star. “It’s not very often you can work with an ex-boyfriend so easily,” she told OK! in 2008 of Krasinski.”He’s fantastic; really skillful, honest and direct.”

Jenna Fischer helped to pick her rival

Fischer has often stated that she instantly knew Krasinski would be the perfect Jim when they auditioned together.

“I’ve been in situations of what you’d call the chemistry read with another actor,” she told the Hollywood Reporter in 2017. “When I met John and I was reading with John, everything was easy. It was effortless.”

The actress apparently felt a similar connection when actresses were trying out for the role of Karen and she had a scene with Jones.

“I had the same reaction when I did my chemistry read with Rashida Jones. I was like, ‘That’s Karen. This is her,’ ” The Office alum recalled. “And the producers asked me my opinion after the chemistry read… once I was on the show and they had me read with the Karens, I just said, ‘It’s Rashida! I don’t know, what did you guys feel?’ And they were like, ‘Well, that’s what we think, but it’s confirmed.’ ”

Though Karen was eventually written out of The Office, Jones keeps a packed professional schedule and has undoubtedly remained close pals with Krasinski.