Kaley Cuoco, star of The Big Bang Theory and The Flight Attendant, is once again happily married. After she divorced tennis player Ryan Sweeting she found new love with equestrian Karl Cook. And she’s not afraid of showing him affection on her social media accounts. Still, not everyone approved of her recent anniversary message.
Of course posting a sweet message to your spouse on an anniversary is a pretty common thing to do, and Cuoco is hardly the first person to make this rather public romantic gesture. But she’s got a pretty big fan base thanks to her TV work, and so everything she posts is seen by millions of people. She’s got a whopping 6.6m followers on her Instagram alone.
In fact, Cuoco’s used her Instagram account to announce or confirm big news for a while now. She posted photos of herself and Cook on it in order to inform the world they were definitely dating following her divorce. More and more photographs, some of them very heavy on the PDAs, followed on from there.
And then there’s the clarifications as to who she’s not dating. Cuoco was once one half of a famous TV couple, Penny and Leonard on The Big Bang Theory – and she had a true-life romance with Leonard actor Johnny Galecki. Every so often fans turn up begging the exes to get back together, and Cuoco has to set them straight.
But some things have been deleted from the Instagram page as well. After her divorce from Ryan Sweeting, Cuoco erased all the posts where she talked about her love for him. Later on she made no bones about the marriage deteriorating and blamed him for it, so that’s not really a surprising move. Will she end up deleting this new post eventually as well?
After all, everyone knows you’ve got to watch what you post on social media. When so many people are reading what you say, you can’t be too careful. In Cuoco’s case, people she knew in real life were looking at her Instagram as well. And one of these, someone to whom the actress was once close, seemingly didn’t entirely approve.
So much of Cuoco and Cook’s relationship has been posted on Instagram and broadcast to a massive audience that maybe it’s not surprising that drama happened eventually. Even their proposal, an event kept private for a lot of people, was put on social media. Cook asked Cuoco to marry him in November 2017 and she was seen sobbing uncontrollably – having just said “yes.”
Cuoco and Cook had lots in common right from the beginning. For a start, both were totally obsessed with animals – especially horses, naturally! Cuoco told People magazine in 2019 that the pair actually met at a horse show, declaring, “It was totally meant to be. We were pretty much a good match from the beginning.”
Cuoco went on, “I think anyone who works with animals has to have a kind soul. It’s almost like he’s the horse whisperer. He is just wonderful with them. It’s really beautiful to see that patience he has with them … he’s so gentle.” The actress has always said whoever loves her has to love her pets as well.
The couple got married in June 2018 – with pictures of the event being posted on Instagram, of course. But it seemed that they didn’t want the traditional married lifestyle. Cuoco told TV show E! News in 2019 that despite having wed, the two of them weren’t actually living together in the same house yet.
Cuoco told the show, “We’re building our dream house and we’re eventually going to be under the same roof forever. We have a very unconventional marriage, you know.” She added, “We have different locations that we’re at a lot. We’re not together every single day.” What she really needed, she said, was space.
Perhaps that’s not a surprising move considering her last marriage, though. The relationship between Cuoco and Sweeting didn’t end well at all. Just like she did with Cook, Cuoco agreed to get married after only going out for a few months. She even told the Entertainment Tonight TV show in 2013, “I know that it seems a little crazy on paper, but it’s what works for us.”
At the time of that engagement The Big Bang Theory was still going on and one of the hottest shows on the air. Johnny Galecki – the on-screen boyfriend, but of course also her ex – was asked about Sweeting by E! News and he said he was simply “terribly happy” for Cuoco. He did also imply that he wasn’t surprised the relationship had moved so fast.
But as it turned out, the relationship crashed and burned in front of the whole world. Many people noticed that Cuoco didn’t thank her husband upon winning a People’s Choice Award in 2015. Galecki saved the day at that particular event by making the situation into a joke, but it was still telling that she hadn’t done it.
Around that time, multiple insiders claimed the couple were heading for divorce. And they weren’t wrong. Cuoco split from Sweeting after just 21 months together, and she went on to say in interviews that the partnership had quickly gone off the rails. So much so, in fact, that she feared her experience had soured her attitude towards marriage altogether.
Cuoco told Cosmopolitan magazine in April 2018, “I honestly thought I wouldn’t get married again. My ex ruined that word for me. I married someone the first time who completely changed. The person I ended up with was not the person I originally met. And that wasn’t my fault – that was his.”
Clearly things had been bad behind the scenes. Cuoco went on, “I knew how much I had to give and how much I wanted to receive. I knew I just had to be patient… I had to go through a lot of things, but it brought me to Karl.” And she was handling the new relationship very differently.
In October 2018 Cuoco told Women’s Health magazine, “I like to tell my friends, ‘Always make sure you have your life going, and that you’re number one, so that anyone who comes into it—husband, or boyfriend, or girlfriend, however you roll—that’s just an added bonus to something you’re already creating.’ I don’t need Karl for anything. If Karl left me tomorrow, I’d be fine. And he knows that, and he would be fine too.”
But the actress also explained why she had married him in the first place. And it wasn’t because he happened to be extremely rich. Cuoco said, “We bonded a lot over having the same kind of outlooks on life, insecurities, dating. He comes from a very well-to-do family, so there’s all these [preconceived ideas] of being spoiled, and blah, blah, blah. And he’s just the opposite.”
The pair did eventually move in together as well. In 2020 they settled into the aforementioned dream house, which was a massive $11.75 million mansion in Hidden Hills, California. And they moved all the animals in with them, too. Cuoco celebrated the day by snapping a picture and posting it to Instagram with the caption “HOME.”
Looking at Instagram alone, it seems like Cuoco’s finally found the right guy for her. For starters, it turns out that both of them have the same sort of love for social-media-based silliness. In 2019 the actress told E! News, “If you want to Instagram-shame each other, Instagram-shame each other. It makes life really fun. [Karl] really likes his Instagram posts. He’s his biggest fan.”
And she doesn’t even mind when her husband posts unflattering photos of her, which he often does. That same year she told the Entertainment Tonight show, “He doesn’t ask me before he posts them. He just, he loves a good sleeping picture. It’s his favorite thing to do. He’s just funny!” Now that’s love.
And true to form, the pair celebrated their two-year anniversary with a silly picture that Cook captioned, “By golly has it really been two since our wedding @kaleycuoco! Feels like only a few moments! I can’t wait for every moment, year, decade to come, I love you like crazy.” But it wasn’t that post, sweet as it was, that got people talking.
And then came Valentine’s Day in 2021. Cuoco wasn’t about to let a little thing like a pandemic stop her from celebrating, so she posted a pic of the couple wearing their masks. She accompanied this with some gushing about how happy she was with her new husband. But Johnny Galecki, the ex from way back, had something to say about that.
Cuoco’s exact words in the post were, “Happy five years to the weirdest person I know! I don’t remember a moment before you entered my life… what a boring life that must have been! I love you.” She got a variety of responses to that message in the Instagram comment section.
Interestingly some of the comments came from what appeared to be diehard fans of the Penny-Leonard Big Bang Theory relationship – or the Cuoco-Galecki one. Even though the couple had been split for a long time and both had moved on, some people even tried to tag Galecki in the post.
As it turned out, Galecki himself was moved to comment too. He left only one two-letter word under the post, but it was enough to cause a mini-storm. He wrote simply, “Um.” Was he mad that his famous ex-girlfriend had, by writing about her “boring” pre-Karl Cook life, implied that he was boring as well?
Some commenters on the post, which also racked up 211,734 likes, appeared to get annoyed on Galecki’s behalf. One person wrote, “Still not over your ex huh with that obvious shade.” Another said, “I think you offended Johnny.” But had she really done so, or was he joking around like he’d done at the People’s Choice Awards all that time ago?
It seems fans of The Big Bang Theory don’t actually have to worry. Cuoco replied to Galecki’s comment with one of her own, which said only “LOL.” And surely if there was any real tension between them she wouldn’t have done that. More likely they’re just friends doing what friends do and joking with each other.
Cuoco’s spoken in the past about how her relationship with Galecki played out. They dated from 2007 to 2009 while on The Big Bang Theory but then seemed to amicably end things. Cuoco told the show CBS Watch in 2010, “It was a wonderful relationship but we never spoke a word about it and never went anywhere together. We were so protective of ourselves and the show and didn’t want anything to ruin that.”
And ever since then Cuoco’s been adamant that though she’s close with Galecki, there’s no chance of any more romance. In 2015 she appeared on the show Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen and said, “Johnny is actually one of my best friends. It’s a situation that ended well. I understand sometimes it doesn’t. It could have gone horrible. He’s one of my dearest friends.”
That same year Cuoco posted a message on her Instagram about her relationship with Galecki. Tagging him in the post, she wrote, “So sorry to disappoint, but no home-wreckers or secret flings going on here. Me and @sanctionedjohnnygalecki are just the best of buds – Leonard and Penny will just have to suffice!”
Galecki posted a similar message on his own Instagram. But even then there was a cacophony of appeals from fans wishing they would get back together. Comments included, “Should be more than friendship,” and “I still hope you get back together.” Such are the perils of playing a massively popular TV couple, it turns out.
And there may be other perils too. Cuoco has joked that after the split with Galecki she suddenly found herself having to do more sex scenes with him, since their characters on The Big Bang Theory were supposed to still be together. And what’s more, she added, she was sure the mischievous writers had done it on purpose.
In November 2020 Cuoco revealed everything on the Armchair Expert podcast with Dax Shepard. She said, “I remember when we broke up, and it was a little sensitive for a minute, but I remember those weeks that Chuck [Lorre] had written these episodes, and suddenly our characters were sleeping together every other second.”
Cuoco said, “We got together and just fell mad for each other for about two years. But then we broke up. Luckily, Johnny and I came out of it so brilliantly. We are closer today than we ever were.” She remembered the early days of the romance with fondness as well, though.
Actually Cuoco had liked her co-star from pretty much the moment she first met him. She told Shepard, “So we dated really early on for almost two years. It was very early on in the show. I remember when we did the pilot, I was just crushing so hard on Galecki. … I had such a crush on him, and I didn’t think he felt that way about me.”
Cuoco also offered an insight into why the relationship didn’t work out. She said, “We would get [to set] together, we’d leave together. It was just kind of too much. It’s different on a sitcom ’cos on a one-hour, you don’t see everyone every day. We saw each other every day. We were just kind of like, ‘I have nothing else to tell you.’”
But Cuoco also said that after the break-up they were “better than before,” and things certainly seem to have turned out that way. Galecki now has a young son with his ex-girlfriend Alaina Meyer, and obviously Cuoco is married. But they still joke around with each other on Instagram whenever they can.
A month before the “Um” comment ended up causing such a social media storm, Galecki commented on a video of Cuoco and Cook with the jokey words, “I watched almost half of this. The result is that I am Unfollowing you and now Following [Cook].” The two may no longer be an actual couple, but they’re clearly definitely the best of friends.