Chelsea Handler and Jo Koy's Relationship Timeline
Chelsea Handler and Jo Koy were friends for more than two decades before their relationship turned romantic.
After forging a friendship in the early 2000s when they were introduced through mutual friend Jon Lovitz, Handler and Koy's platonic relationship blossomed into a romance. The fellow comedians reconnected at the end of 2019 and officially began dating in August 2021. They made their relationship public that September and shared plenty of sweet moments before they eventually went their separate ways almost a year later. Despite their breakup, the two remain on good terms, with Handler even thanking Koy for "renewing her faith in men" when she announced their split on Instagram in July 2022.
"This man blew my heart open with love and because of him, my life experience has changed forever," the comedian wrote in the caption of a sweet video of her and Koy. "To be loved and adored by @jokoy has been one of the greatest gifts of my life. He renewed my faith in men, in love, in being 100% who I am, and I've never been more optimistic for the future."
Keep reading for the complete timeline of Chelsea Handler and Jo Koy's relationship.
2007-2014: Jo Koy appears as a panelist on Chelsea Handler's late-night show
Chelsea Handler Instagram
After being introduced by Lovitz, the comedians worked together frequently between 2007 and 2014 on Handler's late-night show Chelsea Lately. Koy appeared as a guest on the round table on more than 100 episodes throughout the show's seven seasons.
December 2020: Jo Koy reaches out to Chelsea Handler
During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in December 2021, the couple recalled how their romance started the year prior. Around December 2020, Koy asked Handler if he could call her, to which she responded, "Not if you're trying to f--- me."
Handler and Koy began to call each other more frequently as their friendship progressed over the next eight months.
Amy Sussman/Getty Jo Koy and Chelsea Handler
Summer 2021: Chelsea Handler begins appearing in Jo Koy's Instagram videos
Handler began making appearances in videos on Koy's Instagram, prompting speculation that the comedians were dating. In June 2021, he posted a video of himself and Handler hanging out and gently teasing each other, boldly declaring that spending time with her was "absolute chaos."
The next month, Koy posted another video documenting a shopping trip with Handler. In August, he shared a video teaching Handler how to cook rice, followed up with a "life hack" in September.
August 2021: Chelsea Handler makes the first move on Jo Koy
Jo Koy Instagram
In their interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Koy said that it was in August 2021 when Handler finally made the first move after they'd strengthened their friendship over the past year.
"She basically asked me to kiss her," Koy said before Handler chimed in with, "I said, 'I think you have a crush on me, and if you do, you should do something about it and see what happens.' "
August 31, 2021: Chelsea Handler and Jo Koy attend a Dodgers game
Before the couple announced their relationship publicly, they were photographed together at a Los Angeles Dodgers game in August 2021. Koy shared a video on Instagram where Handler appeared to coach him from the sidelines as he threw out the first pitch for Filipino Heritage Night at Dodgers Stadium.
September 2021: Jo Koy talks about Chelsea Handler in an interview
Though their relationship was still private, Koy had no issue singing Handler's praises during an interview with TMZ in September 2021. Before expertly evading questions about their relationship status, he told the outlet, "She told me how to throw it … she was my coach that day."
"How beautiful did she look that day?" he said, later adding, "She's amazing ... I've known Chelsea for a long, long time — I mean a long time, like years ago — and we've always been great friends."
September 20, 2021: Chelsea Handler raves about her secret relationship
While on a trip to Mallorca, Spain, Handler posted a photo of herself on Instagram, raving about her secret relationship in the caption. The post came amid rumors that Handler and Koy had begun a relationship.
"Just sitting here in Mallorca thinking about how grateful I am to have so many people that I love in my life, to live the life I do and to be going on tour doing what I love," she wrote. "And that I'm finally in love, with the best kind of guy there is. There is hope for everyone! That kind of stuff."
September 27, 2021: Chelsea Handler and Jo Koy go Instagram official
Chelsea Handler Instagram
One week after Handler teased her relationship, she and Koy made their relationship Instagram official after decades of friendship. On Instagram, Handler shared two photos of the couple — one posing with her arm linked around Koy's shoulder, the other of them sharing a kiss.
"He's on tour, I'm on tour, sometimes we tour together," she captioned the post.
October 2021: Chelsea Handler and Jo Koy talk about their relationship on a podcast
After publicly announcing their relationship, Handler had Koy on her podcast Dear Chelsea, where they discussed how their relationship unfolded over the course of many years. They recalled there being "amazing" chemistry during the early days of their friendship, but both have different recollections of how they acknowledged that attraction.
"I was just not in touch with myself to understand, I knew I liked talking with you and having you in my life because you're positive and upbeat," she said. "It's infectious and I loved all of that. But I wasn't like oh my God, this desire to have something happen. To have something happen, not at all. By the way, who gives a s---? Look where we are now. I would've ruined it if I had those feelings earlier, probably."
Handler said that things started to heat up between her and Koy after he asked her to write a blurb for his book, Mixed Plate. They started texting, began to hang out and started to FaceTime on a regular basis. But due to their busy work schedules and quarantine guidelines, they weren't able to see each other for four months. After they were both back in L.A., they decided to get dinner together. According to Handler, everything from there started to progress "organically."
When Koy came to Las Vegas for her first big show since the start of the pandemic, Handler felt that there was something different between them this time.
October 12, 2021: Chelsea Handler talks about her relationship with Jo Koy on The Tonight Show
Handler opened up to Jimmy Fallon about her romance with Koy on The Tonight Show. "If I fell in love at the age of 46, I have hope for every person in this world," she said.
Handler added that she found that men were "very discouraging" and wasn't sure who she would end up with ultimately. That is, until she began her relationship with Koy.
"Then I had my friend Jo Koy, who was in my life a very long time," she told Fallon, saying that her interest in Koy grew over time as he appeared on her E! show. "And then one day I just looked at him and I thought, 'Oh that's my guy!' So he's like my best buddy and then I also, you know, get to have sex with him … Fun time!"
November 21, 2021: Chelsea Handler says Jo Koy "renewed" her faith in men
In November 2021, Handler opened up about how Koy had "renewed" her faith in men in an Instagram post. Alongside a series of photos of the couple, Handler wrote, "Do you know how hot it is to have a man be turned on by my honesty, strength, and confidence? Someone who loves the fact that I'm not going to take anyone's shit and isn't intimidated or emasculated by my fierceness?"
"For everyone who is still looking for their person, do not adjust who you are or make yourself smaller to find them," she added. "Be patient and never settle for anything less than you deserve. Your person is coming and sometimes — they've been standing in front of you the whole time."
November 24, 2021: Chelsea Handler and Jo Koy vacation in Hawaii
Before Koy performed at the Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu, the couple enjoyed a vacation in Hawaii. In one video Koy posted, the comedian poked fun at Handler, running up to her on the beach frantically to try to get her attention.
"Honey, honey – guess what?" Koy said before switching the camera over to Handler. "They built a monument here in Hawaii dedicated to your boobs!"
The "monument" turned out to be the Mokulua Islands, two small islands off the coast of Oahu.
"It's Jo Koy day in Hawaii and I'm celebrating with the woman of my dreams," he captioned the post.
December 7, 2021: Chelsea Handler and Jo Koy make their red carpet debut
The couple made their red carpet debut in December 2021 at the 2021 People's Choice Awards, where Handler won an award for her show Vaccinated and Horny.
February 5, 2022: Chelsea Handler and Jo Koy reunite after her hospital scare
Handler and Koy proved that they were able to handle both the good and the bad in their relationship. Handler had to cancel multiple dates on her Vaccinated and Horny tour when she was hospitalized after developing cardiomyopathy. The couple reunited before she left the hospital.
"OK, everybody, I'm safe and sound. Everything's OK," she said in an Instagram Story. "I'm just gonna chill out for a couple weeks to recover because my Buddha came and rescued me. Right, Buddha?"
"She's good," Koy said, before Handler added, "I'm good and I will be back on track in no time."
February 14, 2022: Chelsea Handler and Jo Koy appear on The Kelly Clarkson Show
Weiss Eubanks/NBCUniversal/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty
Handler and Koy appeared on the Valentine's Day episode of The Kelly Clarkson Show to talk about their respective comedy tours and their relationship. In one segment, Koy revealed that he had turned down the opportunity to be Handler's "sidekick," which would eventually be portrayed by the late Chuy Bravo.
The couple recalled their time working together on Chelsea Lately and both suggested they had crushes on each other during that time period. When host Kelly Clarkson teased that the couple could have gotten together much earlier, Handler said she was "never going to get involved" with somebody who appeared on her round table. She explained, "To me, they were just like comic boys … it was almost like I was a parent in that dynamic."
February 25, 2022: Chelsea Handler and Jo Koy celebrate her 47th birthday together
The pair enjoyed another vacation for Handler's 47th birthday. She shared an Instagram video of their festivities, which included Handler skiing down a mountain topless. The comedian only wore a pair of underwear bottoms, flag stickers on her breasts, a helmet with the American and Canadian flags attached and the flag of the Philippines emblazoned with "Koy" as a cape. Her boyfriend tagged along, riding behind her in a snowmobile.
"47," she captioned the post. "Doing all the things I love with the man I love."
April 3, 2022: Chelsea Handler and Jo Koy attend the Grammy Awards
Handler and Koy walked the red carpet at the 2022 Grammy Awards, where Handler was nominated for best comedy album. During an interview shared by the Recording Academy, Handler said it meant "everything" that Koy was with her to mark her first Grammy nomination.
"Life is so much better when you've got your person, you know?" she said. "You've just got your person who loves and respects and supports you. It makes me believe there is a lid for every pot ... Don't ever settle! Do not settle! And your person will come."
April 2022: Chelsea Handler says therapy opened her up to a relationship with Jo Koy
Handler discussed her relationship with Koy during an interview with E! News, including what eventually helped her open up to a romance with the comedian and author. "I had gone a long time without ever sitting down to contemplate or reflect. And therapy changed that," she explained. "It gives you the gift of self-awareness. I would never have been open to dating Jo Koy unless I had had therapy."
"So what's different about it is, I'm in a different place. He's in a different place," she added. "He's a man and I'm a woman, whereas before I was a girl and he was a boy. It's been a great love story. I didn't really think I would get this."
June 2, 2022: Chelsea Handler shares a sweet post for Jo Koy's 51st birthday
Chelsea Handler Instagram
To celebrate Koy's 51st birthday, Handler penned a sweet message on Instagram, sharing a list of attributes that she'd hoped her partner would have.
"A couple of years ago I wrote a letter to myself, asking for what I was looking for in a partner, and I got it all. (Well, except one.)," she wrote, referring to the line she wrote about wanting a partner with a "great head of hair." "Happy birthday, to my guy! I love you to the moon and then over to the sun, and back. You're the sweetest @jokoy."
June 2022: Chelsea Handler and Jo Koy visit New York City
Chelsea Handler Instagram
Handler and Koy found time to make a trip to N.Y.C. together in between dates on their respective comedy tours. She shared a series of photos on Instagram of the couple looking cozy at Grand Banks, an oyster bar on a historic wooden ship at Pier 25 in Manhattan.
"If you've never had a loooooooong lunch on a boat in Manhattan while it's docked, then you are missing out," she wrote in part. "[Our server] Jabria shucked our oysters, we made friends, and @jokoy did stand-up, while sitting down and entertaining the entire bar."
Koy left a comment on Handler's post, writing, "Just another perfect day in NYC."
July 18, 2022: Chelsea Handler and Jo Koy announce their breakup
Chelsea Handler Instagram
After nearly one year of dating, Handler revealed on Instagram that she and Koy had broken up. The comedian posted a sweet video that the pair had previously filmed in anticipation of their one-year anniversary. In it, the couple spoke about the lessons they learned from one another. Handler penned an emotional message in the caption where she thanked their fans for their support and asked them to "continue to root for both of us."
"It is with a heavy heart to announce that we have decided together that it is best for us to take a break from our relationship right now," she wrote. "I know many of you were invested in our love, and I wanted to express to you how much that meant to both of us. How much it still means. And how much I now believe in love for each one of us."
She also had nothing but good things to say about her ex, writing: "To be loved and adored by @jokoy has been one of the greatest gifts of my life. He renewed my faith in men, in love, in being 100% who I am, and I've never been more optimistic for the future."
A source told PEOPLE that friends of the couple hope this isn't a permanent separation.
"Their friends are hoping they can still work it out," the source said. "But if anything, it's clear their relationship has changed them both for the better."
July 21, 2022: Jo Koy says he and Chelsea Handler are still "great friends"
Koy told TMZ that he and Handler are still on good terms after their breakup.
"Everything's good. We're taking a break," Koy said. "We're great friends, we've always been great friends. The love is still there."
When asked if the two are still in touch Koy said, "Yeah ... but all love. That's all."
The standup comedian wouldn't reveal who ended the relationship but he didn't seem interested in rejoining the dating pool yet. Koy said he was "just going to concentrate on this movie thing right now," referencing his upcoming film Easter Sunday.
July 31, 2022: Jo Koy talks about "next chapter" with Chelsea Handler
Koy spoke about his relationship with Handler while attending the carpet for his new movie Easter Sunday.
"We're great friends and that's how it will always be," Koy told Entertainment Tonight. "I'll always champion for her and she'll always champion for me — and we're gonna win, everyone wins."
He added that going back to being friends feels "great." Koy said, "It's always been that way, so it's the next chapter."
December 27, 2022: Chelsea Handler opens up about her split with Jo Koy
On an episode of Brooke Shields' Now What? podcast, Handler spoke about her breakup with Koy.
"I really believed that this was my guy. I thought, 'Oh my God, I won.' Like I got everything. I have my career, I have respect, I have my family, I have so many friends, I have all of these things. And then I thought this was gonna be the person I spend my life with," the comedian said, adding that the relationship even changed her perspective on marriage.
However, she said the pair had "some behaviors" that they "couldn't agree on."
"I am not going to change the way that I behave in order to make you feel more comfortable. I'm not doing that, and I had to walk away from something that I really believed was gonna be a forever relationship," Handler continued. "So that was difficult."
January 25, 2023: Chelsea Handler says she's done commenting on her breakup with Jo Koy
During an appearance on the Call Her Daddy podcast, Handler said that she's done commenting on her former relationship with Koy.
"I just don't wanna really comment on it any further because it turns into a headline," she told host Alex Cooper. "And I'm not promoting a breakup from six months ago. I'm here to talk about all the other things I'm doing. And I understand people are interested, but it's just like, it's run out of gas."
However, the comedian did share that working on her Netflix special, Chelsea Handler: Revolution, alongside Koy, was one of her "favorite moments" of her career.
"I got to share it with somebody that I was madly in love with. It's super sweet," Handler said. "It's probably the sweetest thing that I've ever done. I'm not a very sweet, romantic person."