B.J. Novak and Mindy Kaling have been famously linked since they first met on the set of The Office in 2004. The pair were hired as writers for the popular comedy and joined the core cast as characters that would turn from friends to lovers. Life imitated art when Novak and Kaling became real-life lovers that were “never really dating” and “never really not dating.” Their relationship status has changed since their early days on The Office, but Novak highlighted their ups and downs when he presented Kaling with the Norman Lear Achievement Award at the Producers Guild Awards.
Novak started his speech by addressing how he admired Kaling’s ability to care about anything and everything, even the tempo for singing the Happy Birthday song. He also shared details about their complicated relationship that neither had previously mentioned in public, touching on the passion they felt in each other’s presence. “We were in love with each other, and we were reckless idiots, and the two of us would argue about all of these things forever,” he said to Kaling, who smiled in the crowd. He recalled the times they fought in the writer’s room and took it to AOL Instant Messenger when the argument got too heated.
Their romantic relationship ended in 2007, and Novak described it as a “tumultuous, romantic, toxic, boundary-less mess.” They worked together on several projects, like Kaling’s 2012 sitcom The Mindy Project, where Novak made an appearance as the ex-boyfriend of Kaling’s character. Despite calling their romantic relationship quits, they continued to be integral parts of each other’s lives. When accepting the Norman Lear Award, Kaling reflected on the 20-year friendship: “He’s remained my closest friend throughout my entire career. He’s seen all the ups and downs, and it just means the world to me.”
The Norman Lear Achievement Award is presented annually to the most impactful producers in television. Kaling has produced several popular television shows, most recently Never Have I Ever, Velma, and Sex Lives of College Girls. There is no one better fit to have presented Mindy Kaling with such a prestigious award, and she knows it: “I am so lucky that my favorite writer is also my best friend. I love you.”