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‘Office’ star dishes on workplace romance

Thankfully, Melora Hardin’s own experience with workplace romance hasn't been as painful as that of her character on NBC's "The Office."
/ Source: Access Hollywood

On “The Office,” Melora Hardin’s character, Jan Levinson, certainly knows a thing or two about workplace romance.

And as it turns out, so does Melora.

“I met my husband at a wrap party. And being that television and film sets are my office, that’s an office party for me,” she told “I think that qualifies.”

But the actress isn’t the only one who has mixed work and romance.

In fact, a recent survey discovered that 67 percent of single Americans have engaged in an office romance at some point in their careers, while nearly 75 percent admit to having had a crush on a co-worker.

Melora recently teamed up with Oscar Mayer Deli Creations for a survey which discovered that 67 percent of single Americans have engaged in an office romance at some point in their careers, while nearly 75 percent admit to having had a crush on a co-worker.

But what’s the draw of an office romance?

“I think people are finding they have less and less personal time and are spending more hours at the workplace,” Melora suggested.

Michael and Jan, sitting in a treeAnd while the situation can often bloom into true love, sadly it’s not always the case – as her “Office” character knows all too well.

“That’s what happens when you don’t disclose your relationship to H.R.,” she laughed of her on-screen relationship between Jan and Dunder Mifflin manager Michael Scott (played by Steve Carell).

Of course, prior to the May 15 season season finale, the last time viewers saw Jan and Michael, the temperamental couple had quite a falling out.

But could that dinner party fight have spelled the end for Scranton’s most volatile lovebirds?

“All I can say is on the May 15 finale, there will be some really wonderful surprises,” Melora said. “Surprises related to a lot of characters – not just Jan.”

So should “Office” fans fear they’ve seen the last of Jan?

“No,” a coy Melora admitted.

And that is good news for Melora, who has thoroughly enjoyed taking Jan from an empowered executive to a seemingly medicated gal making candles in her own personal “workspace.”

“It’s so much fun. There’s nothing better than having wonderful flaws in a character for an actor, and she is so wonderfully flawed,” Melora said. “I love that the audience gets to watch her unravel right before their very eyes. I think it gives the audience more empathy for her — they get to see she’s really trying. Even though she stumbles, sometime falls and makes a fool of herself, she’s doing the best she can. She has heart, even if it’s a little wonky.”

‘Office’ spin-off still under wraps
When it comes to the upcoming “Office” spin-off, Melora said producers have kept details closely under wraps and isn’t sure if Jan will be finding a new TV home – or any of her current Dunder Mifflin cohorts, for that matter.

“You never know. Nobody really knows anything about it. I don’t think they’d want to disassemble what’s working so nicely. I don’t think they’ll be poaching a lot of characters off of the show, but maybe,” she explained. “It could be a ‘CSI’ thing with a whole new cast and a few of us pop in and out. But ultimately, it’s unlikely that it would be starring one of the main characters on ‘The Office.’”

But “The Office” is far from the only gig Melora has got going right now.

She recently starred in the Lifetime movie “Me, Mom, Dad and Her,” and recently wrapped up production on the feature film “Seventeen Again” alongside teen heartthrob Zac Efron.

Melora will also be starring in “Les Miserables” at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, a gig which the actress calls “a dream come true.”

And she’s also begun filming alongside Billy Ray and Miley Cyrus in “Hannah Montana: The Movie,” where she plays Billy Ray’s love interest.

“He’s so nice. Very friendly and warm,” Melora said of Billy Ray.

So what’s it like working with one of the world’s biggest teen stars in Miley?

“She’s a very bubbly 15-year-old,” Melora laughed.

Unfortunately for her young co-star, Miley was forced to recently deal with the backlash of a very public scandal stemming from her now infamous Vanity Fair photo shoot – a controversy which Melora said is anything but Miley’s fault.

“I have mixed feelings about it. I remember when I was 15 and was starting to feel quite sexual at that time in my life. When you’re on a set, things seem one way – they really do. If you look at the behind-the-scenes photos, she’s wearing sweat pants and is covered in a sheet. It just so happened that maybe she connected to that sexual place that starts to be budding up when you’re 15 and Annie Liebovitz caught it because she’s an amazing photographer,” Melora said.

“I can see how they thought it might be a classic portrait, but it just so happens that she’s on a Disney show and she’s a tween icon. In that case, if anybody is at fault, it’s her handlers that should’ve been watching out for that and paying closer attention. She’s 15 years old, you’ve got to keep an eye on what’s going to be revealed, and if it’s inappropriate, then that’s up to the adults that are around her. It’s not up to her and it’s not up to Annie Liebovitz either – it’s up to the people that are there to protect her image,” she concluded.

Keep up on the latest projects Melora has going on at

(Note: The workplace romance survey was conducted by Oscar Mayer Deli Creations, for which Melora is a celebrity spokesperson)