Everything Mindy Kaling and BJ Novak have said about their relationship

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BJ Novak and Mindy Kaling met working on "The Office."Kevin Winter/Getty Images
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  • Since "The Office," Mindy Kaling and BJ Novak have been coworkers, romantic partners, and friends.

  • Kaling said that their relationship is "romantically charged" but doesn't think they'll date again.

  • Novak, who is the godfather of Kaling's daughter, has said that it's fun being Kaling's best friend.

BJ Novak said they never really knew if they were dating or not.

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BJ Novak and Mindy Kaling were just as confused about their relationship status as fans were.Frazer Harrison / Staff / Getty

Fans weren't the only ones who were confused about Mindy Kaling and Novak's relationship status.

In a 2012 interview with Vulture, Novak admitted that he and Kaling never really knew if they were dating or not.

"No one, including us, ever really knew, 'Is this dating? Is this not dating?' We were never really dating, we were never really not dating. We didn't know. No one knew," he said. "All you'd know for sure was that you'd always find one of us next to the other, even if we weren't getting along."

Novak also said the relationship between Kelly and Ryan on "The Office" mimicked parts of Kaling and Novak's off-screen relationship.

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Mindy Kaling and BJ Novak on "The Office."NBC

In the same 2012 interview with Vulture, Novak said that their real-life relationship often inspired Kelly and Ryan's on the show.

"Sometimes viewers would ask, 'Are Ryan and Kelly together right now, not together?' It's not even that I wouldn't know. I thought the question was missing the point." Novak said. "Write whatever you want. So, Kelly needed a boyfriend this week, so Ryan goes on a date. Ryan and Kelly are getting engaged ... I think it was sort of expressive of the relationship that we were in."

But he added that the couple's real breakup didn't mirror their characters'.

"In real life, I think we just essentially grew up, and it became more of a transition," he said.

Kaling said that Novak once broke her heart.

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BJ Novak broke up with Mindy Kaling at one point in their relationship.Presley Ann/Patrick McMullan via Getty

During a 2014 appearance on "The Howard Stern Show," Kaling said that Novak once broke up with her, and it left her devastated.

"It was years and years ago that that breakup happened," she said. "I was so sad, not angry, sad."

When Stern asked her if she would have married him if he asked, she replied, "At the time? Yeah. I was 24. For the record, if anyone asked me to marry them, I would have said yes."

But she isn't waiting for them to get back together.

"I love him, and I think he's a great person, but I'm not holding a candle for BJ," she said.

Kaling has called their relationship "romantically charged."

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Mindy Kaling re-sparked interest when she described their relationship in 2015.Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

In a 2015 interview with InStyle, Kaling's comments about Novak made a lot of fans think they'd get back together.

"I will freely admit: My relationship with BJ Novak is weird as hell," she said. "He is not my boyfriend, but he is not my best friend. I guess you could describe our relationship as a 'romantically charged camaraderie with loud arguments,' but I don't think Facebook would accept this as a new status."

Novak said that other people they've dated have been intimidated by their relationship.

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BJ Novak and Mindy Kaling are still close friends.Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NBC Universal

Novak confirmed in a 2013 interview with Entertainment Weekly that anyone who's dated Kaling or Novak since they met has been intimidated by their relationship.

"We are pretty inseparable best friends with a lot of chemistry ourselves, and we're not dating. Whenever we date anyone else, I think there's a period when the person is very skeptical of our friendship," he said.

"'Everyone seems to think you two might be a couple, and I don't mean to get in the way. Are you sure you're not dating? Are you sure you're not going to end up dating?' It's such a common thing to have that platonic best friend that becomes a little weird when you start dating someone."

Kaling said she kind of likes when people speculate about their future together.

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Mindy Kaling doesn't mind the buzz around their relationship.Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images

In a 2015 interview with The Guardian, Kaling was asked what she thinks about the fans who want the two of them to end up together.

"When people say that, it makes me feel so cool. Like, oh, people are thinking about me like I'm a character," she said. "We are so different and we fight a lot, but the gift [Novak] has always given me is the utter and total belief that I am one of the greats. And it is an intoxicating feeling."

Novak said that he wished he and Kaling had a more "consistently positive" relationship.

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Mindy Kaling and BJ Novak's characters dated on "The Office."NBC

It's probably not surprising that Kaling and Novak were really close while filming "The Office."

During a Reddit AMA in 2014, Novak wrote, "I was closest with Mindy Kaling, and also least close with Mindy Kaling, on a minute-by-minute basis. And I wouldn't trade it for the word."

He continued, "Actually, I would trade it for the world. What am I talking about: I'd trade it for a more consistently positive relationship with Mindy Kaling. She's the best."

They've said multiple times that they are each other's "soup snakes."

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BJ Novak and Mindy Kaling have walked the red carpet together several times.Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

On an episode of "The Office," Michael tried confessing his love to an ex-girlfriend, but he couldn't read his own handwriting. Instead of saying "soul mates" he misread it as "soup snakes," so now fans of the show use the phrase as a term of endearment.

Kaling and Novak have taken on the term to describe their own relationship and have referenced it many times on social media.

In one tweet from 2013, Novak wrote, "Mindy and I are soup-snakes." He also posted a photo on Instagram of a cookie with Kaling's picture on it in 2014, writing, "And thank you for the cookie in honor of my soup snake @mindykaling."

Kaling has also used the term, tweeting at Novak in 2013, "you're my soup snake," and again later that year, "happy birthday to my soup snake."

Novak has said it's really fun to be Kaling's best friend.

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Mindy Kaling and BJ Novak still have a strong relationship.Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Roadside Attractions)

During a 2015 talk about his children's book, "The Book With No Pictures," Novak was asked what it's like to be Kaling's friend.

According to Bustle, he said, "It's really fun to be her BFF. It is a fantastic relationship with a lot of shorthand. I feel so lucky that I get a brilliant text from Mindy Kaling, like, once an hour. It's like something you'd win at an auction — Mindy Kaling will blow up your phone!"

He has also said she’s not the kind of girl “who waits by the phone.”

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BJ Novak often compliments Mindy Kaling in interviews.Getty Images

Novak is no stranger to complimenting Kaling publicly.

In a 2014 interview with Elle, he said, "She's a gangster. And guys respond to that. This is not a girl who waits by the phone. This is a girl who picks up the phone and calls whoever she wants."

Novak has said that they text each other about silly things all the time.

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Mindy Kaling and BJ Novak text often.Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

In a 2016 interview with The Guardian, Novak described their relationship as being close "in a sort of natural, eternal way."

He also read a few of their recent text exchanges.

"She texted me: 'Remake 'I Dream of Jeannie' with me. You be Larry Hagman.' This was on Saturday," he said. "Then I texted her: 'I'm writing a list: Eight Times Mindy Kaling Bullied Me on the Set of 'The Office'.' So I was asking her details for that."

Kaling called her relationship with Novak a "great blessing," but she also insinuated that they won't likely date again.

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Mindy Kaling is pretty sure she won't date BJ Novak again.Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Hulu

During a 2019 interview with CBS "Sunday Morning," Kaling opened up about their relationship.

"I've known him for 16 years," she said. "We met each other when we were 24, and now we're both going to be 40 in about a month ... Anyone who's known each other for that long, I think it's nice, I like when people ... think it's more romantic or sparkly or interesting than it is."

But she added their relationship is no longer romantic.

"It isn't, I think, the thing that people sometimes think it is. But he's really part of my family now, which is great," she said. "... Even though that's less of a sexy characterization of our relationship, I think it's a deeper and a closer one."

She added, "It's still nice. We do spend a lot of time together, and it's a great blessing in my life."

She has also said Novak is the godfather to her daughter.

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Mindy Kaling has a daughter named Katherine.Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

Although Kaling hasn't publicly shared who the father of her two children is, she has said that Novak is her daughter's godfather.

"The truth is that BJ is so much more like family now than a platonic friend. He's the godfather to my daughter, he comes over like once a week. Sometimes he'll come over just to hang out with her," she told Good Housekeeping in 2019.

Kaling has joked about how extreme Novak's love for her daughter is.

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BJ Novak is Katherine Kaling's godfather.Rodin Eckenroth / Stringer/Getty

During a 2020 interview on "Today With Hoda and Jenna," Kaling talked about how much Novak loves her daughter, Katherine.

"When I said, you know, 'BJ, if something happens to me, it's not like I have a husband, like you have to just take the kids.' And he's like 'Oh, my god, don't tempt me,'" she said.

"He said the funniest thing, he was like, 'Can you sue for god-paternity rights?'" she continued. "... He just loves her so much."

Novak opened up about how much he values Kaling's feedback.

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BJ Novak has "fear and love" for Mindy Kaling's constructive criticism.Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

In a 2021 interview with USA Today, Novak said he discusses "everything" with Kaling and that she gives him "blunt feedback."

"She's a real boss and a real winner, so she's definitely the person I both fear and love the criticism from most in my life," he said.

Novak also explained why he and Kaling haven't worked together since "The Office."

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BJ Novak and Mindy Kaling on "The Office."NBC

During a 2021 interview with CBS 8, Novak said he often thinks about his "Office" costars when he starts new projects.

"Of course, I'd always love to reunite with Steve Carrell and of course Mindy Kaling," he said. "I'd love to someday do something with her, but we're worried that we would fight too much making it."

Kaling said she doesn't care about the rumors that Novak is the father of her children.

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BJ Novak and Mindy Kaling at the premiere of "Vengeance."Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

While speaking to Marie Claire in 2022, Kaling opened up about the frequent speculation about the father of her children.

Kaling hasn't disclosed the information, but she told the publication she doesn't mind the rumors that it's Novak.

"It doesn't bother me," she said. "He's the godparent to both my kids — and they have such a great relationship — and so far [the rumors haven't] affected my happiness at all, it hasn't affected my kids or BJ."

She added, "If that's what is going to be titillating to people, I'll take it."

Novak called their early relationship a "toxic boundaryless mess" while honoring Kaling with an award.

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BJ Novak presented Mindy Kaling with an award at the 2023 Producers Guild Awards.DANNY MOLOSHOK/Reuters

At the 2023 Producers Guild Awards, Novak had the honor of presenting the Norman Lear achievement award in television to Kaling.

He started the speech by taking audience members through their early work together on "The Office."

"And when the producers realized that our relationship as cowriters had jumped every conceivable boundary and become a tumultuous, romantic, toxic, boundaryless mess, they pulled us aside and said, 'Hey, you should have scenes together, too. You guys are pretty funny together,'" Novak said.

He ended the speech by saying, "She cares so much about everything, and I care so much about her."

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