Mindy Kaling: My kids are ‘so attached’ to BJ Novak, ‘he’s really part of our family’

Mindy Kaling and BJ Novak have been “best friends” for years. To hear them tell it, they dated on-and-off for a few years in their 20s, then he broke her heart but they stayed close and the relationship grew into whatever this is, where he’s always Mindy’s date at big events and he’s “godfather” to her two children, and they hang out a lot. Personally, I think Novak is a big reason why Kaling hasn’t been in a serious relationship for years – Novak takes up too much emotional space in her life and this friendship/relationship is massively dysfunctional. I bring all of this up because Mindy was on The Drew Barrymore Show this week and Drew peppered her with questions about her friendship with Novak.

Mindy Kaling is perfectly happy to keep her relationship with B.J. Novak in the friend zone. During an appearance on The Drew Barrymore Show Tuesday, Kaling bonded with host Drew Barrymore over how they’ve both been single for “years.” But Barrymore, 47, eventually shifted the conversation to discuss Kaling’s former boyfriend and longtime pal.

“I was on a date once and B.J. Novak sat down,” Barrymore began. “And I remember thinking, ‘Oh I wish I was on a date with him. He’s so attractive. Why is he not with Mindy Kaling? I wanna be with Mindy Kaling. Why are they not together?'”

The Mindy Project alum said in response, “Wait, wait. Your first reaction was, ‘Wow he’s so attractive?’ He’s gonna be so excited about that.” Barrymore then said she’s dreamed about Kaling and Novak, both 43, being “the ultimate couple,” saying, “You seem like best friends and you’re just both so wonderful.”

Despite Barrymore’s desire to see the two Office alums work things out romantically, Kaling shared her reasons for choosing to remain friends with the Vengeance star going forward.

“He is a wonderful friend and he is the godparent of both my kids [Katherine, 4, and Spencer, 2] and he loves children and they’re so attached to him,” she said. “He’s really part of our family, but we’ve known each other for a long, long time and I think anyone who’s been friends with someone for 18, 19 years and at one point dated and now doesn’t, they maybe understand this. You have exes that you wouldn’t necessarily marry now.”

[From People]

“He’s really part of our family” – ugh. I mean, I’ve always taken this way too personally and it’s her life, etc. I know Mindy has tons of girlfriends too, and I would love to know if her girlfriends are like “honey, please, this is so dysfunctional.” While I respect Mindy keeping a huge part of her life private – like how her two babies came into this world – in the public sphere, she makes it sound like Novak has stepped in as a partner-surrogate and father-surrogate. As I said, he takes up too much emotional space in her life. It makes me mad because I’m pretty sure he’s also a huge douche.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Xavier Collin/Image Press Agency / Image Press Agency / Avalon.

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47 Responses to “Mindy Kaling: My kids are ‘so attached’ to BJ Novak, ‘he’s really part of our family’”

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  1. BonnieT says:

    Yes. UGH to all of this. The only way to do this, as she says, in a healthy way with an ex would be if the ex didn’t mean that much to you in the first place! You can tell that’s not the case here.

  2. Case says:

    I 100% believe he’s the father of her kids and they have some sort of open relationship/arrangement.

    • Selene says:


      • Hello kitty says:

        100% the kids dad either via sperm donation or intercourse. They are “best friends” who definitely still have sex whenever he wants it. I actually know a couple who have a similar relationship! It’s a pity.

    • OriginalLeigh says:

      But why wouldn’t he just claim the kids if he’s their father? They don’t have to be in a romantic relationship in order to have kids together.

      • Case says:

        Mindy has said that she doesn’t want the public to know who their father is before her kids are old enough to understand themselves. Perhaps because they don’t live together or aren’t in a relationship, and she is (seemingly) a single mom by choice, perhaps they just don’t want to detail the complexities of that relationship.

    • teley says:

      Maybe the 2nd but the first one was rumored to be a married director.

    • Doris says:

      Yes, exactly this.

    • Debbie says:

      I’ve always thought so too. The only thing that would explain the secrecy in that situation is if she asked him to father the kids and he agreed if he wouldn’t have to be involved in the child rearing or financial support.

    • Bree7795 says:

      I always think of it as a friends with benefits type of relationship. She’s in love with him and he’s in “like” with her. I still think he is most likely the father of her children but they don’t discuss it publicly. I’ve always thought his Office character probably mirrored his real life personality too. lol

  3. Frippery says:

    But, not every woman wants a serious relationship or to even be in any romantic relationship. You see it as BJ maybe preventing Mindy from having these things because he takes that emotional space. But Mindy could just not be interested in entangling herself with a partner and BJ’s friendship fulfills a lot of those interpersonal needs.

    • molly says:

      He also fills enough of a perception of a relationship to stave off some of the poor, pitiful, lonely, single girl labels. Fame does not make Mindy immune to the harassment of “when are you getting married? who are you dating? you’re not going to that event alone, are you??”

      BJ allows her to have a standing red carpet date and keeps people from caring too much about whoever she may or may not be actually dating. I hope both Mindy and BJ are getting what they want from each other in a healthy and happy way, and assuming they’re on the same page with what that is, she probably appreciates the cover.

    • R. says:

      Yeah. I find this site obsession/judgement of Mindy Kaling relationship with BJ Novak a bit bizarre and also so uncomfortable heteronormative with a focus on monogamy. We don’t her. For all we know, she’s perfectly happy single or happily in an open relationship with Novak. who knows. Who cares. she obviously doesn’t want to divulge, cause internet is cruel and she wants privacy for herself and her kids, which is super valid. She doesn’t owe anyone an explanation what works for her and what doesn’t. point.

      • Mcmmom says:

        I completely agree. Plus – being in a romantic relationship is *not* the ultimate life goal for everyone.

    • Tiffany:) says:

      Yes! I feel like it is very patriarchal to assume that she is pining for him. She’s at a very baller stage of her life. She has written and produced so many successful shows recently, she’s a mom on her own terms, it’s odd to see her reduced to who she isn’t dating.

      • R says:

        exactly, she’s a hugely successful , well respected American Indian woman in her business, not courting tabloids nor having all of her professional/personal mess on the front pages. I find it hard to believe she doesn’t have her ducks in a row. Even if she doesn’t them all in a row, It’s weird and a tad disrespectful to make her a sad, pining, pick me character for an average, dozen in a box, successful white dude. No offence.

      • R says:

        It’s honestly so reductive and a tad disrespectful to make this hugely successful, smart, well respected Indian American woman with no tabloids stories nor her professional/personal spilling messily in the streets and on front-pages, a sad, pining woman for this dude. She seems like she has her ducks in a row and good for her.

  4. girl_ninja says:

    I think that Mindy is in love with BJ. I really do. I know that they are best friends and I understand that they have been through so much together but she is IN. LOVE. And I think that he know this and isn’t in love but does love her too. But he appreciates the benefits of her success. I could be wrong but that’s my opinion.

    • Moxylady says:

      I think their friendship is hugely one sided. In that mindy cares about him, his needs, his wants etc. He is an enormous douche and what does he bring to the table? He’s never gushed about her. His comments are always tepid at best. To let a friendship define so much of your life but that friend doesn’t do the same….
      This is so unhealthy and toxic. She wants him to pick her so badly. Why?!?

      • Layla Beans says:

        I am with you on this. He keeps her on a string because he can, and she can’t let go. It reminds me of when his character on The Office says: “I’d rather she be alone than with somebody. Is that love?”

        That is what this is.

  5. Ann says:

    Handsome? Bleh. I don’t get their “friendship” either. I don’t find him charming or funny in any way while she is so funny, bursting with charm. It doesn’t make any sense to me at all but it’s their lives and they seem just fine so whatever.

    • Thinking says:

      I don’t think he’s handsome either.

      If you put him next to Angelina Jolie or Freida Pinto, I wonder if people would notice him.

      He’s not ugly but I wouldn’t say he’s any more conventional by Hollywood standards than she is.

  6. Beana says:

    This reminds me of the dynamic between Elizabeth Hurley and Hugh Grant. Beautiful woman dates charismatic yet problematic man, they break up, she goes on to be a single parent and he’s the doting godfather. I have absolutely dated guys who were terrible boyfriends and then wonderful friends, and have learned to accept their limitations while making better romantic choices.

  7. Emmi says:

    Hate this for her.

    Aside from the emotional space in her life, let’s imagine for a sec he meets someone and starts a family of his own. If that were my husband, I wouldn’t love this situation and for Mindy’s kids it would suck if suddenly Uncle BJ doesn’t have the time because he has his own kids.

    • JaneBee says:

      @Emmi This is such a good point 🙄 Guess if he is actually the donor/biological father, she is betting on him remaining involved in their lives even if he does have other kids down the track.

    • Lens says:

      Yes like the poster above this reminds me of Elizabeth Hurley and Hugh Grant in a lot of ways. Elizabeth went on to break up with him because of the no kids he decreed, he becomes a doting friend to her and her child, then goes on to have mutliple kids with other women later when he’s finally ready. It’s a unfair world when men can put off having kids to whenever they feel like they’ve done everything else and now are ready to and women just can’t.

    • FilmTurtle says:

      Well, yeah, but is Kaling supposed to end what clearly works for her and her kids NOW because of what MIGHT happen with Novak in the future? That’s a recipe for misery. Lots of people don’t see their godfathers/father figures every day and most young kids can grasp the concept of cousins.

  8. ee says:

    every time i hear about their situation, i hope it’s just a cover story for some kind of ethical polyamory situation

  9. HeyKay says:

    Enough all ready.
    She is talented and successful, why does she continue with this?
    No thanks.

  10. AnneL says:

    I don’t find him handsome at all. Drew has interesting taste.

    I don’t know the dynamic between him and Mindy. For her sake I hope it’s a healthy one at this point. I hope she isn’t cutting off the possibility of marriage or a serious romance with someone else (if that’s what she wants) because BJ is always there.

  11. Twin Falls says:

    Married women with children do the most work for the least benefit. Instead she has best friend to hang out with that loves her kids that she doesn’t have to emotionally, physically or financially carry? I don’t see the problem.

  12. lucy2 says:

    I don’t know. I hope they aren’t holding each other back, but also we don’t know either of them or their relationship – if they’re happy and care about each other and are good friends, great. Not everyone wants to get married or have a romantic partner, or maybe they both are looking for that but have this close friendship also.

    • Lizzie Bathory says:

      They seem happy & in her interview on Archetypes, Mindy sounded very intentional about choosing her life as a single mom. She seems smart & capable in every other aspect of her life. Why wouldn’t I take her at her word on this?

      ETA: I really think people hate this because a) they don’t particularly like BJ & b) they’ve created an image of MIndy that’s inconsistent with this relationship.

      • Tiffany:) says:

        ” Mindy sounded very intentional about choosing her life as a single mom. She seems smart & capable in every other aspect of her life. Why wouldn’t I take her at her word on this?”

        I agree 100%

  13. ariel says:

    I know i have been there- most of us probably have been. Where you were involved, you still carry a torch but you settle for a “friend/confidant” role- and the guy tells you you’re the best, while you’re kind of in love with him. And he gets this amazing situation where you are emotionally invested in him and give him tons of positive, loving attention, and he owes zero in return. He is affectionate when he wants, but he can screw, and be emotionally involved with anyone else, while you wait in the wings, always there to support him.
    And you give up a real romantic partnership b/c you love him, and you settle for these drips when you deserve so much more.

    And it SUCKS.
    And i don’t know these people, but it does kind of read that way.

    • North of Boston says:

      It reads the same way to me, going just off the way she talks about him, the energy she gives off. He reminds me of So. Many. Guys I’ve met who act like they’re whatever but at the end of the day are really just self centered and insufferable and that years later I wonder why I wasted so much time and energy being wrapped up in the idea of them

      I don’t know her … maybe she’s happy and living the life she wants.

      But I’m going to have to stop clicking on things about them because their dynamic always annoys me and makes me feel icky

  14. AmelieOriginal says:

    I have never understood their weird relationship. If he isn’t the bio father of her kids and someday chooses to get married and have kids with someone else, he won’t be able to be as present and involved and her kids will be left so confused as to where their father figure disappeared to.

    But I think he is the bio father of at least one of them because why else would he be so present? I don’t know why they’d be so quiet about it unless maybe they don’t want people to know they are eff buddies that resulted in a pregnancy when they’ve been very vocal about being “just friends” for so long. Or they did artificial insemination because they both wanted to be parents without being in a committed relationship. Anyways, it’s her prerogative to keep her children’s paternity quiet and I’m sure at some point once they are older and asking questions, we’ll find out. But cue us not being surprised if they announce if it’s BJ.

  15. NotSaying says:

    Let’s hope they’re sons, because Kiernan Shipka is by far, not the youngest girl he’s been interested in … he creeped on several girls I know when they were in their young teens.

  16. Luna17 says:

    Love Mindy and she seems happy. BJ gives me some weird vibes but if it works for her then whatever. She seems happy and her life seems pretty great.

  17. Dee Kay says:

    One of my close relatives was in a situation that Kaling’s and Novak’s reminds me of. My relative called herself the “Not Wife” because she did everything for her male friend that a wife would, except they never married and (as far as I knew) weren’t involved romantically. But I mean, they were *so* involved emotionally that most people who met them called her “Mrs. _____,” they just naturally assumed he was her husband. He wasn’t a supreme jerk, he actually had a lot of caretaking responsbilities in his own family (frail, elderly parents who [said they] required constant attention and help). It just seemed like he loved my relative and needed her support and affection but wasn’t in love with her enough to marry her and set boundaries with his parents for her. Meanwhile, my relative was deeply in love with him and never married anyone else. If she had only set some limits, and said, “We are great friends but I won’t take care of your house while you’re gone, I won’t talk to you on the phone every day, I won’t do everything I can to make your life as comfortable as possible and give you love every time you want it,” might she have met someone else to devote herself to? Someone who *would* have made her his wife?

    • Dee Kay says:

      Oh and another situation that Kaling/Novak reminds me of is Kate Winslet and Leonardo di Caprio. Winslet has never put her life on hold for di Caprio but I do wonder whether di Caprio has never married, and doesn’t even seem to be interested in having an emotionally deep relationship, because he already has an emotional partner in Winslet. If having a wife means having a smart, wonderful, caring woman to talk with about your highs and lows, and get good advice and support, and have a shoulder to lean on, well, di Caprio already has that in Winslet. So he can just drift from young model to young model and not really care if none of them have the emotional maturity to prop him up and hear him out and counsel and comfort him when he needs it.

  18. amy says:

    @moxylady That is factually incorrect to an insane degree actually. I’d recommend everyone in the comments hear go look them up on tumblr. It’s the best distillation of Mindy and B.J.’s quotes about each other , photos, basically an archive of their relationship on there and it it’s fascinating that people see things as him not caring when he gives insanely mushy quotes about Mindy regularly. He cried on NPR last year when he brought her up!

  19. Ohmeohmy says:

    Idk, my best friend is a guy I wanted to Date but the feelings weren’t mutual, and we are quite good friends. I don’t want to replace him as my friend. I hope your wrong and that is all this is.

  20. Thinking says:

    I thought he was dating Kiernan Shipka.

    And if that’s the case, that’s not a competition for his heart I’d want to be part of.