B. J. Novak Says He and Mindy Kaling Were Reckless Idiots During Past Romance

B. J. Novak Says He and Mindy Kaling Were Reckless Idiots During Past Romance
Feb 2023

Before Mindy Kaling accepted an honor at the Producers Guild Awards, The Office co-star B.J. Novak honored her in a speech and reflected on their past romance.

And the award for greatest BFF duo goes to...

B.J. Novak paid tribute to Mindy Kaling at the Feb. 25 Producers Guild Awards in Los Angeles, where she received the Norman Lear Lifetime Achievement Award. And in addition to reflecting on their long friendship, he recalled their past romance in the mid-aughts after being hired to write for The Office.

"We were in love with each other, and we were reckless idiots," Novak noted. "And the two of us would argue about all of these things forever--grinding the writers' room to a halt until we got too upset and we'd go to our respective offices and slam the door, where we'd continue arguing over AOL Instant Messenger. It was 2005."

In fact, their offscreen relationship inspired the onscreen romance between their characters Ryan Howard and Kelly Kapoor on the NBC sitcom.

"When the producers realized that our relationship as co-writers had jumped every conceivable boundary and become a tumultuous, romantic, toxic, boundaryless mess," the 43-year-old continued, "they pulled us aside and said, 'Hey, you should have scenes together too. You guys are pretty funny together.'"

But while Novak and Kaling, also 43, eventually split in 2007, their bond endured--transforming into a close friendship. But as the Vengeance director noted, he's not just a pal, he's also a big fan, calling her sitcom The Mindy Project his "favorite work of hers."

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Throughout his speech, Novak continually returned to how much of a caring person Kaling is--from character dynamics on set to telling stories she felt weren't getting enough attention in her work. Ultimately, he's grateful to have her in his life.

"She cares so much about everything," Novak said, "and I care so much about her."

And the feeling is mutual. As Kaling told him during her acceptance speech, "I'm so lucky that my favorite writer is also my best friend. I love you."

The pair's close friendship post-split has long gotten a lot of attention from fans, to the point where there has been past speculation that he is the father of her kids Katherine, 5, and son Spencer, 2.

"He's the godparent to both my kids--and they have such a great relationship--and so far [the rumors haven't] affected my happiness at all, it hasn't affected my kids or B.J.," Kaling, who's never publicly identified the father of her children, told Marie Claire in August. "If that's what is going to be titillating to people, I'll take it."

But if you find yourself shipping them once more after Novak's moving tribute, well, Kaling has previously indicated that chapter is closed.

"He is a wonderful friend," she said on a December episode of The Drew Barrymore Show, "and he's the godparent of both of my kids, and he loves children and they're so attached to him. He's really a part of our family. But we've known each other for a long, long time. And I think anyone who's been friends with someone for 18, 19 years and at one point dated and now doesn't, they maybe understand this."