Kaley Cuoco Worried She’d Never Find a Cast or Paycheck as Good as ‘Big Bang Theory’

Bazinga! The Big Bang Theory was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Kaley Cuoco, so much so that she worried her career had peaked after the CBS sitcom’s 12-season run came to an end in 2019.

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“The show was so popular,” the actress, 35, said on BBC One’s The One Show on Wednesday, March 3. “When I started freaking out about the comparisons there would be or what my next project would be, I realized you can’t compare anything to Big Bang.”

Kaley Cuoco Worried Shed Never Find Cast Paycheck Good Big Bang Theory
Kaley Cuoco. Mark Von Holden/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Cuoco called the show “its own entity” before admitting she may “never have” the same success that she did playing Penny. She also acknowledged that she made a whopping $1 million per episode starting with season 8.

“I won’t have that cast again, the money, the schedule, the 12 years,” she said. “All of it was insane. … I knew my next project was going to be for me and that I was going to kind of leave that in its own place.”

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The Big Bang Theory — which also starred Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch — premiered in 2007 and went on to win 10 Emmy Awards. For her role, Cuoco won a Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 2013.

Kaley Cuoco Worried Shed Never Find Cast Paycheck Good Big Bang Theory
Kaley Cuoco, Kunal Nayyar, Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Mayim Bialik, Melissa Rauch and Simon Helberg of ‘Big Bang Theory’. Michael Yarish/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

While the 8 Simple Rules alum has continued to find success in recent years with leading parts in Harley Quinn and The Flight Attendant, she still holds Big Bang near and dear to her heart. After all, she went through plenty of life changes during its historic run.

“Oh, my God, I don’t remember my life before this show! And I went through a divorce on the show,” she quipped during a recent interview with Variety, referencing her brief union with former tennis player Ryan Sweeting. “We got married in, like, six seconds.”

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Cuoco, who is now married to equestrian Karl Cool, also reflected on Parsons, 47, being the first cast member who wanted to pull the plug on Big Bang, in which he played Sheldon Cooper.

“Jim said, ‘I don’t think I can continue on,’” she told Variety of a meeting in cocreator Chuck Lorre’s office. “And I was so shocked that I was literally like, ‘Continue on with what?’ Like, I didn’t even know what he was talking about. I looked at Chuck: ‘Wow. I thought we were — I’m so blown away right now.’”

Ultimately, however, the Golden Globe nominee noted that the cast decided to “go out together.”

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