Novak, 44, gave fans insight into the pair’s dynamic by commenting, “No party is as fun as the car ride home with you.”
Kaling and Novak’s friendship has captivated fans since they played coworkers and lovers Kelly Kapoor and Ryan Howard, respectively, on The Office from 2005 to 2013. During their time on the show, the pair also dated off screen for three years before splitting in 2007.
Since calling it quits, Kaling and Novak have remained close — so much so that fans often wonder if they are more than just friends.
“Whenever we date anyone else, I think there’s a period where the person is very skeptical of our friendship,” Novak told Entertainment Weekly of Kaling in January 2013. “‘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, for her part, got candid in 2015 about her “weird as hell” relationship with Novak. “He is not my boyfriend, but he is not my best friend,” the Mindy Project creator told InStyle at the time. “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.”
After Kaling welcomed her two children — Katherine, 5, and Spencer, 2 — her relationship status with Novak was once again called into question.
“I’m the only parent my kids have,” Kaling told Marie Claire in August 2022, shutting down speculation that Novak was the father of her little ones.
“He’s the godparent to both my kids — and they have such a great relationship,” Kaling said. “So [the speculation hasn’t] affected my happiness at all, it hasn’t affected my kids or BJ. If that’s what is going to be titillating to people, I’ll take it.”
Although Novak isn’t Katherine and Spencer’s father, he is a very hands-on godparent.
“He comes over at least once or twice a week to just hang out with my daughter,” Kaling exclusively told Us Weekly in December 2019, two years after she quietly welcomed her first child. “When he does that, I can go take a shower or go work out. … He’s great.”