Talk about "Throwback Thursday": TV's No. 1 show—CBS' The Big Bang Theory— returns to its Thursday-at-8 timeslot (on Oct. 30), so we're digging into our archives for our interview (November 2011) with the sitcom's resident girl-next-door, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting (Penny). Read on to find out whether she's ever been hit on at the gym, her advice for staying friends with an ex, and how she maintains that Bangin' body.
How would you describe your character Penny—and are you like her?
She’s definitely not a ditzy blonde next door. She’s street smart and doesn’t take bull from any of the guys. Me? I know how to stand up for myself. I say no when I want to, yes when I want to, and no one can really change my mind. I’m definitely strong willed, and Penny is the same way.
How do you maintain that Bangin’ body?I don’t know anyone who truly loves to go to the gym. I spent the past couple of years trying to figure out what I wanted to get up for in the morning—and I was lucky to find two things: spinning and yoga. I took a Bikram class [a couple of years ago], and I’ve been going five days a week ever since. I’m not really into the meditation side of it—that part actually bores me. But it’s an incredible workout. Staying fit is all about trying to find enjoyment in something physical, because that’s the only way you’re gonna get results. You’d be surprised too—there are actually a lot of guys in my classes.The Hottest Stars of the VMAs >>>The Hottest Stars of the VMAs >>>The 10 Hottest NFL Cheerleaders This Season >>>
I wonder why.
Well, there are some beautiful girls in my yoga class, always wearing tiny little outfits. So I don’t know if the men are there to stare at the women or if they’re there for a workout. I’m in my own Zen zone. I don’t notice any of that. I think guys find girls who are sweaty sexy; I don’t know why. It seems to be a turn-on for guys.
Actually, I’ve met two boyfriends at the gym. I keep thinking, “Why is this happening?” But I guess that’s where I spend almost all my time, other than the set—and I’m not gonna be dating any of those guys. For me to be with someone, he’s got to be fit. Or at least doing something he loves. Following your passion— whether it’s hiking or sports or whatever—is supersexy.
You secretly dated your co-star Johnny Galecki for two years. What’s your advice for staying friends with an ex?
Definitely don’t do a TV show with them. [Laughs] It took a few months, but at the end of it, we both knew we weren’t meant to be together. We both knew we were meant to be friends and not be in a relationship. Now, we’re where we’re supposed to be. Once you and your ex are both able to come to realize that, you’re more likely to stay friends.
What’s something that would surprise Men's Fitness readers about you?
That I like to be home on a Friday night. I don’t go out. I don’t go to clubs. It’s not my thing. I sit at home with my glass of wine and watch hours of reality TV. I have a million shows on my TiVo. I’m obsessed with Top Chef, Hoarders, and everything in between.
You’re also obsessed with Ping-Pong, which is all kinds of awesome.
I am. I’m naturally good at it...probably from playing [amateur] tennis as a child. I’m obsessed: I bought a Ping-Pong table for work, one for the house, and [my co-stars and I] play all the time. I have my own paddle. I wear hot pink head-to-toe outfits, knee-high socks, and hot pink tennis shoes. Guest stars come to our set and ask, “Hey, can I play?” The rest of us stare at them and think, “You do not know what you’re getting yourself into.” They don’t realize until they start how so not fun it is to play with us because we get so supercompetitive.
You once mentioned in another interview that you make the perfect girlfriend [ED: Kaley married tennis pro Ryan Sweeting in 2013.] How so?
I'm not a girly girl. I go to the bar. I like to get dirty. I love sports. I'm like the son my dad never had. I crack "guy jokes." I can be a guy's guy and go to a game. But at the end of the night, I can still get dressed up for a date. There are a million different personalities that are part of me.