Adoring Joey King

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Joey King Says She ‘Couldn’t’ Date Another Actor After Breakup With ‘Kissing Booth’ Co-Star Jacob Elordi

Joey King is saying, “Thank you, next” to ex and Kissing Booth co-star Jacob Elordi. During a new interview on The Howard Stern Show, King opened up about what she learned from her year-long relationship with Elordi and why she’s sworn off dating fellow actors—for now.

King and Elordi fell in love playing onscreen couple Elle Evans and Noah Flynn in the first Kissing Booth film. They quietly split in 2018, reuniting for two sequels to the hit Netflix rom-com soon after. “I think it’s a good thing we dated in the first place. I learned the most I’ve ever learned in my life from him,” King said of Elordi, who is rumored to be dating Euphoria co-star Zendaya. But when pressed about whether she’d “ever date another actor again,” King had a quick response. “No. I couldn’t,” she replied. “I think that it’s awesome to date someone in your field, who gets it, but doing the same exact thing as somebody is tough. It’s really tough.”

King also addressed rumors about a recent tweet involving Elordi that sparked confusion. Shortly after the release of The Kissing Booth 2, Elordi stated in a Variety interview that he hadn’t actually watched the movie. Later that day, King jokingly tweeted, “Jacob watched it. He’s capping.” But the tweet was soon deleted with no explanation.

King explained to Stern that “‘capping’ means lying,” adding, “I heard the term ‘capping’ on, like, TikTok and Twitter and Instagram, through friends, and I was like, ‘I guess this is the new thing.” After the tweet disappeared, some speculated that it had to do with Elordi. But the actress confirmed she did receive permission from her ex to write the tweet and that he “had a good sense of humor” about it. “It’s something I should not have used as a white person. I took it down … two accounts on Twitter called me out for it, that’s why I deleted it,” King clarified.

This isn’t the first time King has had to answer questions about working with an ex. During a recent interview with Cosmopolitan, she admitted to understanding fan speculation about on-set tension. “No one’s thinking to themselves, That was easy, because it wasn’t,” King said of working with Elordi. “I’m sure people will analyze every movement and every detail. And you know what? Let them. But at the end of the day, I was just thrilled to be Elle Evans again.”

Back in October, King said the “sacrifice” of working with her ex-boyfriend was “totally worth it.” “I’m a fan with how [the film] resonated with the world, it resonated with me,” she said on the Mood With Lauren Elizabeth podcast. “So going back and doing that and making the sacrifice of what, obviously, everyone is thinking about—outwardly addressing, but what I’m kind of on the sly addressing, making those sacrifices was totally worth it.

It appears that King has stuck to her no-actor dating rule. She’s reportedly linked to The Act producer Steven Piet, whom she met while giving her Emmy-nominated performance as Gypsy Rose on the Hulu series. King referred to Piet as her “sweet boyfriend” in an April essay for InStyle, curbing rumors she’s dating Kissing Booth 2 co-star (and second love interest) Taylor Zakhar Perez.


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Joey King Knows Hollywood Wasn’t Made for Young Women to Thrive

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If it were up to Joey King, we’d be talking about something, anything, other than Joey King. Sure, the 21-year-old Los Angeles native, who’s been acting for more years of her life than not, is a professional famous person, but even she knows that when the country is going through a total and painful reckoning of its racist past and present—while also battling a pandemic that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere—the last thing anyone needs is a celebrity profile.

And yet: “I get it,” she says about our interview. “We got some shit to cover.” This is, after all, part of the deal when you’re a young Hollywood star. For every Big Splashy Project you book, you have to do press so everyone knows about—and wants to see—the project. This makes The Next Big Splashy Project a little easier to book. Oh, and did I mention you have to do it all with a smile on your face, even when asked waaay too personal questions about your intimate relationships, all while it feels like the world is ending around you?

Not that Joey gives up control that easily. It was her idea that we have lunch together on a Monday afternoon in June—well, it’s sort of lunch. And we’re not at all together. She’s home in L.A., quarantining with family, which is relatable, while managing the renovation of said home because it’s hers, which is not. (“Don’t worry, everybody’s wearing masks and gloves,” she explains over the sound of a construction crew ripping out carpets.) Joey’s teacup Yorkie, Angel, is happily hopping on her lap.

I’m also home, in Grand Haven, Michigan, having left New York City to quarantine with Mom and Dad in a town that is the opposite of New York City. I basically begged my parents to take our black Lab, Finn, out for two hours so he wouldn’t bark while I was on this Zoom. Well, it was supposed to be a Zoom, but half an hour in, the app self-destructed just as Joey was showing me around her bedroom (it’s filled with a giant ornate bed, for her, and lots of little beds, for her “old as fuck” dogs). So anyway, now we’re on FaceTime. We’re doing what she calls lunch-delivery roulette. You each order for the other person from a local restaurant in their town—“gotta support small businesses,” her publicist enthusiastically explained via email—then talk through why you chose each dish. The time-zone difference puts me three hours past lunchtime, but what is time, really, when you’ve been sitting inside your house for the past four months?

I picked a spread for Joey of my favorite New York City foods (pastrami sandwich, matzo ball soup, a black-and-white cookie) because I’m homesick. Her verdict: “I’m so happy, you don’t even know.” My own Grubhub options are McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Subway, so I painstakingly curated a list of acceptable Middle of Nowhere, Michigan, restaurants for her to choose from. She ordered me “Italian”: chicken Francesca with kale Caesar salad, aka Midwest for “chicken and greens covered in cheese.” “I ordered bruschetta too,” she says as we unbox our lunches. “And they were like, ‘We don’t have any bread.’ I was like, Are you joking?! Everything I’m trying to do is going to shit!

This, of course, is a lie. Not the bruschetta, the other thing. Just looking around her house proves the opposite: a picture of her and Patricia Arquette in costume from The Act; a shadow box with the teddy bear her character, Gypsy Rose, was obsessed with; a painting from the set of White House Down. I can tell she’s not arrogantly hoarding this stuff for some sort of trophy wall—it’s more like how you’d hang on to old sorority sweatshirts because they still spark joy.

And consider the reason we’re here at all: Joey has just returned to the Kissing Booth franchise (the sequel to the 2018 Netflix movie premiered July 24) that made her a household name. And this time, she didn’t just act, she also co-executive-produced the damn thing.

Full interview: