Johnny Galecki And Sara Gilbert: The Untold Truth Of Their Relationship

Johnny Galecki and Sara Gilbert's longtime friendship is the epitome of friendship goals. These two shot to child stardom with their iconic performances as lovebirds David Healy and Darlene Conner during Roseanne's original run.

Since leaving the hit ABC sitcom, Galecki's become better known as Dr. Leonard Hofstadter on The Big Bang Theory after its 2007 premiere. He also took his talents behind the camera, serving as an executive producer on the short-lived comedy series Living Biblically in 2018. Meanwhile, Gilbert went on to create, executive produce, and co-host the daytime talk show The Talk in 2010. She's also guest-starred on a number of TV series, reuniting with her old pal on The Big Bang Theory and Living Biblically.

Despite the occasional lulls in their post-Roseanne careers, these multi-hyphenates have basically been killing it. While there's much to be said about the evolving romance between Darlene and David in the series' popular 2018 reboot, how much do you really know about this duo's real-life relationship? Here are a few facts that might surprise you.

They kept Sara's sexuality a secret

In addition to playing one of TV's most beloved couples, Galecki and Gilbert dated in real life in the early '90s. It was during their short-lived relationship that the latter realized she was a lesbian.

"I thought he was super cute and I had a total crush on him," she revealed on The Talk in 2013 (via Today). "And we started dating and he would come over and we would, like, make out, and then I would start to get depressed." Her co-star initially took it personally, but once she explained she was attracted to women, "He was super sweet about it," keeping her sexuality a secret during Roseanne's original run.

After coming out publicly in 2010, Gilbert told Galecki she'd decided to open up about her journey on her show. "[He said], 'Of course. I love you and I think it's really important and I'm so proud of you,'" the actress recalled of his unwavering support. "'If you want, I will be there and I will hold your hand.'"

While their teen romance didn't work out, the experience formed the foundation of their decades-long friendship.

A number of secret nicknames

A sign of true friendship is nicknames, and these two have plenty of them stemming from their Roseanne days. To start, ever since a red carpet blunder, Johnny has been known as "Charles" to Sara.

"It started as Charlie because Sara took me to my first film premiere... all the photographers are yelling 'Sara, Sara, Sara' ... one photographer recognized me... and yelled out 'Johnny' and all the photographers on the other side of the carpet heard 'Charlie,'" Galecki explained on The Talk in 2016 (via Broadway World). While the nickname stuck, it eventually matured to "Charles."

Gilbert chimed in, "And then he started calling me 'Soapy.'"

"Well, you just smelled good," the actor explained, adding that The Talk co-host also used to go by "Scruffy" on the set of their '90s sitcom due to a pair of heavy paratrooper boots. "All the crew knew that Sara was coming from around the corner because you just heard 'scuff scuff scuff.'"

These best friends are longtime collaborators

After Roseanne's original run wrapped in 1997, Galecki and Gilbert have become longtime collaborators. But the idea of reuniting on screen wasn't always a given.

The pair made headlines when they did so for first time a decade later on The Big Bang Theory. Sara had a recurring role as Dr. Leslie Winkle, a super brainy, sarcastic love interest for Galecki's Leonard. 

"That was not as premeditated as it seems," Galecki told the AV Club in 2010, admitting, "I had a concern ... that it would come off as gimmicky." But the actor added, "The truth of the matter is that life's just too short to not work with people that you adore working with and spending time with. So she came on."

Since then, the two have often brought each other onto their new projects, including Gilbert's The Talk, the Roseanne reboot, and Galecki's Living Biblically. "She was always on the list before there was a character list," the actor-turned-executive producer told Variety in 2018, jokingly adding, "And then I made her audition."

Galecki or nothing

When Gilbert began the process of recharging ABC's Roseanne reboot, bringing Galecki back to reprise his role was a must.

"To me, it was so important [to get Johnny back for an episode]," she told TV Line in 2018. "Our relationship was one of the central themes of Darlene's life 20 years ago. And to leave it unanswered would be so unsatisfying to me personally and to the fans."

However, considering Johnny's busy time commitment to The Big Bang Theory on CBS — a competitive network — Gilbert made sure she had a backup plan in case his return didn't work out. "[It] was going to be [Darlene] dealing with the heartbreak of him being an absent father," she explained, adding, "I was still going to deal with the relationship, but it would not have been the same without him."

Getting back to his TV roots was also deeply important to Galecki, who called it "possibly the most surreal experience of my life" in an Instagram snapshot from his episode's table read. "Deep thanks to my Big Bang Theory family for knowing the importance of visiting one's roots and loaning me out for a quick minute. Much ❤️."

An emotional return

In preparation for Roseanne's return, Johnny Galecki and Sara Gilbert worked together to figure out where their respective on-screen alter egos would be 20 years later. They even named their TV son via text message. But revisiting these characters proved to be an emotional journey for the actors.

"We went through a bunch of things that were in his thoughts ... and I started crying, just from him telling me where he thought David was," Gilbert told Yahoo! Entertainment, explaining that her tearful response was a reflection of their real-life close bond. "So when we're dealing with that relationship, it naturally felt emotional to me."

As Galecki revealed on The Talk, that moving moment actually happened just minutes before filming the pilot of Living Biblically. "I said, 'The audience is filtering in.' I'm like, 'Don't you freakin' cry! You can't cry! You're gonna ruin my show, stop it!'" he jokingly recalled. "It was like that scene in A League of Their Own. Like, 'There's no crying in sitcom!'"

However, as Galecki admitted on IndieWire's Turn It On podcast, "I don't think what any of us had emotionally prepared for was being on that set again."

They're total BFF goals

Johnny Galecki and Sara Gilbert's teen romance may have fizzled quicker than it began, but their decades-long platonic relationship exhibits total #BFFGoals.

These besties are each other's biggest cheerleaders, and they are known to share the cutest throwback photos on social media, like this old promo shot, this still from Roseanne's original run, and this more recent snap. "Just came across this," Galecki captioned the latter, while gushing over his friend. "@thesaragilbert has a true heart that over the years has probably kept me from losing my mind in this industry / town. I love you, Soap."

But the best sign of their friendship was when Gilbert described their relationship, both on- and off-screen, in 2018. "There's just an indescribable chemistry between us," she told Yahoo! Entertainment, noting how close they've remained over the years. "It's very rare, and you have it with certain people and you don't have it with others, and we're just so fortunate that we have it. He truly is like a member of my family."

These two are seriously too sweet.