Mindy Kaling and B.J. Novak first met while starring on "The Office," and the pair's bond has lasted way past their time on the workplace comedy: They've been best friends for more than a decade, and Novak is the godfather to both of Kaling's young children.
Kaling opened up about Novak's role in her children's lives during an interview with Jenna Bush Hager on TODAY with Hoda and Jenna on Wednesday.
"You know, he said the funniest thing because he's so attached to my older child, my daughter," Kaling said. "When I said, you know, 'B.J., if something happens to me, it's not like I have a husband, like you have to just take the kids.' And he's like 'Oh, my God, don't tempt me.'"
Kaling, who has never identified the father of her children, has one daughter, two-year-old Katherine, and recently gave birth to her first son, seven-week-old Spencer, who she gave birth to (without the public knowing) while isolating during the coronavirus pandemic.
Kaling said that Novak takes his role as a godfather pretty seriously.
"He said the funniest thing, he was like, 'Can you sue for god-paternity rights?'" Kaling said. "... He just loves her so much."
B.J. and Mindy's friendship
Kalling didn't publicly share that Novak was her daughter's godparent until May 2019, when she told "Good Housekeeping." While the pair briefly dated in real life, Kaling said that her co-star is now more like "family" than anything else.
"B.J. is so much more like family now than a platonic friend," she said at the time. "He's the godfather to my daughter, he comes over like once a week. Sometimes he'll come over just to hang out with her."
Novak and Kaling first met in 2004, when they were hired as writers and actors on "The Office," and dated on and off for a couple years, according to Kaling, finally splitting in 2007. However, they continued to work together closely on "The Office" until Kaling left the show in 2012 to create "The Mindy Project." Novak appeared on the show in several episodes and was a consulting producer, according to Elle.
They've also attended Met Galas and movie premieres together, and in her book "Why Not Me?", published in 2015, Kaling used an "Office" reference to qualify their relationship.
"We’re soup snakes. B.J. and I are soup snakes," she said, referencing an episode where Steve Carrell's Michael Scott mixes up the term for soul mates. "'Soul mates' is what you aim for, but soup snakes is what you get sometimes."
In April 2018, Novak shared a sweet tribute post to Kaling when a poster for her new movie, "A Wrinkle in Time," was placed outside the apartment building she lived in when they first met. When Hoda Kotb shared the post with Kaling, the actor said it made her "want to tear up."
"It's really moving," she said. "When I was coming up there was no one who looked like me on TV or film, and it was such a nice thing that he remembered that."