Kaley Cuoco is flying high with her latest series, HBO Max’s The flight attendantwhich she is holding ready for a Golden Globe at the awards ceremony on Sunday. But in a new one diversity In the interview, the actress reflects on her most famous TV appearance with CBS The big Bang Theoryand how blind she was to the decision to end it.
35-year-old Cuoco was only 21 when she was cast as Penny, the waitress who lived next to nerds Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Leonard (Johnny Galecki, whom Cuoco secretly dated at the start of the show). When the long-running hit season 12 kicked off in the summer of 2018, the star said she and Galecki “talked a lot about the prospect of another year.”
“Did we want to do that? And we really did it, “she says diversity returning for season 13.
When series creator and executive producer Chuck Lorre called them into his office, they assumed it was a renewal. But Cuoco – who tries to get the story “right” – learned that the meeting was to announce co-star Parsons’ desire to leave the show. The news left her in a “state of shock”.
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“Jim said,” I don’t think I can go on, “said Cuoco.” And I was so shocked that I literally said, “Keep going What? ‘I didn’t even know what he was talking about. I looked at Chuck, ‘Wow. I thought we were – I’m so overwhelmed right now. ‘”
Reminding the stars that the show couldn’t go on without one of them, Lorre told the group, “We’re all for one, one for all. And we won’t do this without the whole team.”
Cuoco says, “Everyone had their open feelings and there were questions and tears” during the meeting, but Lorre’s call for solidarity was spot on: “That was the only thing we all agreed on – we came together, we went out together . “
Though she made peace by the end of the show and has since enjoyed success as both a leading actress and a producer The flight attendant, In addition to Harley Quinn in HBO’s Max ‘animated series, she has Big bang theory Experience still makes them emotional.
“Oh my god, I don’t remember my life before this show!” she remembers the thinking at the time. “And I’ve been through one divorce on the show, “she remarked in a note on first husband Ryan Sweeting, adding,” We got married in about six seconds. “Cuoco divorced Sweeting in 2016 and has been married to Karl Cook since 2018.
While the “all for one, one for all” tactic meant saying goodbye to the show sooner than hoped, it proved to be a successful strategy in terms of salary negotiation. By The big Bang TheoryIn season eight, she, Galecki, and Parsons each made $ 1 million per episode, although they later cut their salaries to allow other cast members to get paid more.
“I knew from day one that I was their equal,” says Cuoco of her male co-stars. “And that was never questioned in my experience with Big Bang – which I will always appreciate because it set a standard for me. “
When she signed her first big deal, she remembered that she and Galecki had looked at each other and we said, what the hell just happened? Shall we go out for dinner? Shall we “cheer”? ‘We didn’t really know what to do. “
Being one of the highest paid women on TV “was a blessing,” Cuoco says now. “I was able to take care of many things in my life and my family, and for that I will be forever grateful.”