Kaley Cuoco currently stars in and is the executive producer of the HBO Max series The Flight Attendant. However, before her role of Cassandra Bowden, the 36-year-old actress rose to fame playing Penny on The Big Bang Theory.The CBS sitcom first aired in September of 2007 and concluded in May of 2019 after 12 seasons. The 8 Simple Rules alum played the blonde neighbor of the “Mensa-fied” roommates Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Sheldon (Jim Parsons). But according to Kaley, she didn’t see the end coming.
In a 2021 interview with Variety, she explained the moment she found out that the popular series was done.
Kaley heard the news from fellow Big Bang Theory actor Jim Parsons himself in the summer of 2018 when filming for season 12 has just started. Show cocreator Chuck Lorre called the cast into his office and though Kaley thought it was going to be a discussion about a potential season 13, it was the complete opposite.
“Jim said, ‘I don’t think I can continue on.’ I was so shocked that I was literally like, ‘Continue on with what?’” Kaley told the outlet. “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.'”
Chuck then shared his perspective on the situation: “We’re all for one, one for all. And we’re not going to do this without the whole team.” With that, she knew the decision was final and despite having a difficult time accepting it at first, she admitted it felt like the right thing to do. “That was the one thing we all agreed on — we came in together, we go out together,” Kaley added.After the show officially ended, she had a plethora of emotions and one thought she couldn’t help shake was “maybe” she was meant to be “a sitcom girl forever.” But as fans know, Kaley is now the lead on The Flight Attendant for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe and an Emmy. What’s more, she expanded her talent to also executive produce the show.
“I had never made a show,” Kaley said to People in August 2021. “I was like, ‘I don’t even know how people do this!’ And I didn’t realize, until this show, how many people are involved in getting this thing off the ground. I asked a lot of questions. You have to learn you’re not the smartest person in the room. I was a little fish in a big sea! It was a really humbling experience, but it also gave me a sense of bravery.”
Fast forward, three years later, The Big Bang Theory cast is doing incredible things on TV. Jim went on to narrate the spinoff series Young Sheldon which follows the childhood of his character. Mayim Bialik (who played Amy) is now a host on Jeopardy! and she recently reunited with Simon Helberg (who portrayed Howard) for her movie As They Made Us. According to Deadline, Johnny is working on the development of the medical drama Catching Babies based on a novel of the same name. As for Kaley, she’s gearing up for the release of The Flight Attendant season 2 and if it’s anything like the first, she’s going to blow viewers out of the water again.