Chelsea Handler Shares How She and Boyfriend Jo Koy Took Their Longtime Friendship to the Next Level
By Mona Khalifeh
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Chelsea Handler is spilling all the details on how her 18-year friendship with Jo Koy turned into something more. On the season 2 premiere of the comedian's podcast, Dear Chelsea, Koy joined Handler to tell their love story and give some advice to this week's callers.
After first being introduced by fellow comedian Jon Lovtiz, Koy regularly appeared on Handler's E! show, Chelsea Lately, which ran on the network from 2007 to 2014. It wasn't until just before the COVID-19 pandemic when he asked her to write a blurb for his book, Mixed Plate, that the two reconnected. They started texting, hanging out and even FaceTiming regularly too.
Koy went to Vancouver to shoot a movie, while Handler spent several months enjoying ski season in Whistler, Canada. But after four months apart, they decided to go out to dinner.
"The minute we were both back in L.A., we were like, 'Let's go to dinner,'" Koy recalled. From there, the pair started spending lots of time together and things progressed "organically," Handler explained.
But it wasn't until Handler's return to the stage during a show in Las Vegas that she felt something was different between her and her longtime friend. After getting back to L.A., the couple has been together ever since, with Handler most recently joining Koy for a series of east coast shows on his comedy tour.
While both agreed that they had "amazing" chemistry early on, it wasn't exactly love at first sight.
"You thought that chemistry was sexual and I thought it was comedic," Handler said, to which Koy interjected, "Never ever did I ever say that!"
The Chelsea Handler: Evolution star did admit, however, that she probably had a bit of a crush on Koy in their Chelsea Lately days, but she was likely "suppressing" those feelings.
"I was just not in touch with myself to understand. I knew I liked talking with you and having you in my life because you're positive and upbeat. It's infectious and I loved all of that. But I wasn't like, 'Oh my God!' This desire to have something happen, to have something happen, not at all," Handler said. "By the way, who gives a s**t? Look where we are now. I would've ruined it if I had those feelings earlier, probably."
The funny woman went on to share that she thought of Koy more like "family," adding that she felt "so completely safe" with him.
"You have a lot of similar qualities that my brother had," she told Koy, referring to her older brother Chet, who died when she was a kid . "So, in many ways, I just feel so completely safe. And I feel like, 'Oh, this is family.' Like I've always felt that way about you, that you're family."
"I just didn't want to f**k you before," she added.
The pair made their relationship Instagram official late last month, after Handler posted a photo of her and Koy kissing, along with the caption, "He’s on tour, I’m on tour, sometimes we tour together. #VaccinatedAndHorny #FunnyIsFunny. All coming to a city near you!"
Rumors of their relationship began swirling earlier this year, when Koy and Handler started making appearances on each other's social media pages, and later in August, when they showed a little PDA at a Los Angeles Dodgers game.