Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki Reveal 'Big Bang Theory' Episode That Sparked Their Real-Life Romance

Big Bang Theory co-stars Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki dated for a brief time while starring in the hit CBS sitcom, and the pair have now revealed which episode sparked their real-life romance. Vanity Fair has shared excerpts from The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story, an oral history of the show which features behind-the-scenes stories and cast interviews about the show. In a joint interview for the book, Cuoco and Galecki opened up about both their on and off-screen relationships, including the moment that stars began to fall for one another.

"It was not an enjoyable experience for me," Cuoco quipped, speaking about "The Nerdvana Annihilation." In the 2008 Big Bang Theory episode, Galecki's Leonard Hofstadter saves Cuoco's Penny in an elevator shaft during a dream sequence. The pair wind up embracing face-to-face, which lasted for quite a while during filming. "We had to be in each other's arms -- and for quite some time, because it was a bit of a stunt that we were doing. It was a whole thing," Galecki said. Cuoco interjected, "I think we fell a little in love in that elevator shaft."

Galecki then added, "We felt something, yeah. I think that was a massive turning point [in our relationship]. At that point, both she and I knew that something mutual was felt, and that it was going to be more of a distraction from the work to try and continue to ignore it than to actually recognize it and surrender to it."

"I was like, Uh‑oh. I was crushing so hard on him," Cuoco confessed. "So much so that I was like, Get me out of here, because he had to hold me up and we had to do this really close thing. Even my cheeks were really red. I was super nervous and kept thinking, 'Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God.' I was just a nervous wreck being that close to him in the moment."

Galecki and Cuoco dated for about two years, from around 2007 to 2009. Addressing their split, Galecki said, "We're from very different worlds, but we also seem to melt into each other's worlds in certain ways. It was a lot of fun to teach one another different things, but then when I came to wanting different things, that made things more complicated." 

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He added, "I think 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. 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." The former partners remain close friends to this day.