The Big Bang Theory helped Kaley Cuoco get through her divorce, says the sitcom star. With a successful 12 season run, The Big Bang Theory made history as the longest-running multi-camera comedy in its final season. Cuoco played Penny for all 12 seasons of the series, the only female character in the show’s original cast, which also included Jim Parsons as Sheldon, Johnny Galecki as Leonard, Simon Helberg as Howard, and Kunal Nayyar as Raj. Penny was introduced as Sheldon and Leonard’s new across the hall neighbor, and her bubbly personality contrasted to humorous effect with their more reserved ways.
Though Penny was often underestimated by the men around her, she helped many of them, especially Sheldon, grow and learn to better interact with the ‘real world’ throughout the course of the show. She also went through plenty of growth, both personal and professional, over the 12 seasons, getting a happy if divisive ending by the finale. Penny often served as a breath of fresh air for audiences tuning in to The Big Bang Theory as the one ‘relatable’ character amidst all the scientists in the show, and the actor now reveals that the character offered a similar escape to her during a hard time in her life.
People has offered a glimpse of Jessica Radloff’s oral history of the show, The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series, which is available now. In the book, Cuoco details a scene that was shot just before she announced her divorce from Ryan Sweeting in 2015. While shooting a scene from the season 9 episode « The 2003 Approximation, » she recalls having a ball filming despite the personal turmoil, which offered « a really wonderful escape. » See what she had to say about the scene below:
« I was in a scene in the comic book store, wearing a purple sweater, and sitting on the couch between Jim and Johnny, while Simon and Kunal were singing this ridiculous song in their little band. And I am hysterically laughing. Genuinely. And they used it. And that was the scene we were shooting when ET [Entertainment Tonight] was watching us, and I remember sitting there, thinking, ‘My divorce is about to be announced right now.’ Simon and Kunal had me laughing so hard that tears were coming down my face as they were performing this song, and I just got to sit there and watch them as Penny, but it was also me. And it just took me totally out of what was going on in my personal life. And everyone [in the cast] knew what was going on with me and they were very protective. I just remember the drama going on behind the scenes, but shooting that scene was a really wonderful escape. »
How Kaley Cuoco’s Penny Evolved Across Big Bang Theory’s Run
Cuoco’s description of laughter helping to provide an escape is a nice way of thinking of her over a decade run on the series, which wrapped in 2019. In addition, her heartwarming account of her co-stars helping her out during a hard time mirrors the sweet relationship her character often shared with the show’s other protagonists. Though Penny and Sheldon had one of the most charming relationships on the series, she helped all the characters grow in certain ways, learning a lot from them as well as she matured significantly. She also ended up married to Leonard after the couple experienced an on-again, off-again relationship in classic sitcom fashion.
Penny evolved a great deal over the course of the show, being introduced as a struggling waitress and aspiring actor and eventually making her way to a flourishing career. In the very last season, she had some conflict with Leonard due to their conflicting desires concerning starting a family. Though Penny initially didn’t want to have children, she ended up pregnant by the end and both were thrilled about the revelation, which many viewers found to be an inconsistent and unsatisfying ending for the character. Despite this turn, Penny is an extremely memorable sitcom character and remains a fan-favorite on The Big Bang Theory.