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Kaley Cuoco’s Boyfriend Was Unaware of Her ‘Big Bang Theory’ Fame: “I Live in a Cave.”

Key Points: 

  • Kaley Cuoco’s Boyfriend Didn’t Realize She Starred in ‘The Big Bang Theory’ Until Recently
  • Kaley Cuoco’s boyfriend, actor Tom Pelphrey, was unaware of her iconic role as Penny on ‘The Big Bang Theory’ when they first started dating
  • Pelphrey says he only learned about Cuoco’s fame from the hit sitcom when someone referred to her as “Penny” in front of him
  • Cuoco’s character Penny was an essential part of ‘The Big Bang Theory’s success and its core ensemble

Despite being one of the most famous actresses on television thanks to her 12-season run on The Big Bang Theory, Kaley Cuoco’s current boyfriend Tom Pelphrey somehow missed the memo about her level of stardom from the massively popular sitcom. The actor recently admitted he had no idea Cuoco played Penny on the show until someone used her character’s name in front of him.

How Tom Pelphrey Learned About Kaley Cuoco’s ‘Big Bang Theory’ Role?

Kaley Cuoco as Penny in The Big Bang Theory
Kaley Cuoco as Penny in The Big Bang Theory

In an interview with W Magazine, Pelphrey revealed he was “completely unaware” that his partner of over a year was one of the leads on the hit CBS comedy.

“I’m sorry, I don’t understand what’s happening. Why does he keep calling you Penny?” Pelphrey recalled asking Cuoco.

“She’s like, ‘That’s my character in The Big Bang Theory,'” he explained, adding, “I live in a cave. Before I met Kaley, I was living in upstate New York, on a dirt road, in the middle of the woods, without much Wi-Fi. She’s brought me into modern times.”

READ MORE: Mark Duplass Reveals Filming Start Window for ‘The Morning Show’ Season 4

Why Penny Was the Most Important ‘Big Bang Theory’ Character

Kaley Cuoco as Penny in The Big Bang Theory
Kaley Cuoco as Penny in The Big Bang Theory

While Pelphrey may have been oblivious to it at first, Cuoco’s role as the aspiring actress Penny was absolutely pivotal to The Big Bang Theory’s decade-plus run and mainstream success. In fact, the show may not have even happened without her character.

Former CBS executive Nina Tassler revealed that the network didn’t greenlight the series until the character of Penny, the lone female in the core friend group, was reworked with Cuoco’s casting. Throughout the show’s run, Penny provides an everyperson’s perspective amidst the group of nerdy scientist pals.

More importantly, Penny’s relationships – particularly her on-again, off-again romance with Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and her unlikely friendship with Sheldon (Jim Parsons) – were central to The Big Bang Theory’s overarching storylines about the characters’ growth and emotional journeys.

READ MORE: Beyond the Spider-Verse’ Could Reintroduce the Forgotten Spider-Man from ‘No Way Home’

While slightly embarrassing, Pelphrey’s confession does underscore just how insulated from mainstream pop culture some people can be – even from monumentally popular shows like the one that made his current partner a household name.

All 12 seasons of The Big Bang Theory are available to stream now on Max.

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