Joey King is opening up about working with her ex. In Netflix's The Kissing Booth 2,the 21-year-old actress reprises her role of Elle Evans, while her real-life ex, Jacob Elordi, returns as Noah Flynn. King covers the September issue of Cosmopolitanand explains why she wasn't going to let her personal life get in the way of her job.
"No one’s thinking to themselves, 'That was easy,' because it wasn’t," King says of filming the sequel 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."
"Elle Evans needs her Noah Flynn, and whatever that means for my personal life, I’ll do anything to make sure the story of my character who I care about so much is complete," she adds.
When ET spoke to King and Elordi, they both lamented the pressures of dating in the public eye.
"In this world, everyone wants to know your business and what you're doing. And I think it's very interesting when you go through things and people kind of feel like they're owed an explanation, but I understand," King told ET. "For me, I've publicly gone through some things, privately gone through some things, it's all about finding your balance, finding what makes you comfortable. And it can be brutal, but you know happy endings do come to those who are patient."
"Just even the fact that somebody you don't know knows your name could be quite disembodying. But then eventually, for me personally, it's got nothing to do with me, you know," Elordi explained to ET. "It literally has nothing to do with me. It just doesn't affect the trajectory of my life. So I just kind of ignore it."
Since her split from Elordi, dating rumors have swirled between her and her Kissing Booth 2 co-star Taylor Zakhar Perez. While the Cosmo article notes that the actress seems to be dating someone new -- and King admits her last text was to the actor -- when ET spoke to Zakhar Perez he denied that he and King are an item.
"We just kind of hit it off. When we were in South Africa, we had dinner together," he said. "I cooked for her, she cooked for me. We just became kind of like the best of friends."
"I love her. I love her dearly. I’d do anything for her," he added, before stating, "We’re not dating. I’ll end it with that."
Aside from her love life and career, King has been focused on the world's woes throughout her time in quarantine. The actress admits that COVID-19, the political climate, ongoing protests and more have left her feeling a bit down.
"I preach a lot about being proactive about your mental health and not feeling selfish for feeling depressed or upset, but then when I sink into these weird moods, I immediately feel super selfish, which makes me feel worse," she tells Cosmo. "When it comes to taking care of yourself, there is a certain level of selfishness you have to have, but it’s hard. I haven’t found that balance yet. Because I in no way, shape, or form want to make any conversation that I start right now about me."
Even with all the challenges this year, King is confident she can "pick myself back up" as needed.
"I won’t cry for too long. 2020 is a piece of s**t," she says. "And I know it’s silly to hope that everything’s beautiful by September because it won’t be. So I’m hoping that there’s hope. That’s more realistic."