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 there, Kaling shared what she considered to be "green flags" when dating someone. "I think asking about your ambitions is good ... if men wanna know what you want to do," she said.
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Kaling and Novak previously dated on and off during their early years working on The Office. Even though they didn't work out as a couple, the pair have remained close of friends ever since.
They even joked about their "will they or won't they" dynamic in September while presenting at the 2022 Emmy Awards. At the time, they were commenting on the fact that TV shows today are no longer required to do 20-plus episodes a season.
"We came out doing network sitcoms, 22 episodes a year," said Kaling as Novak continued, "And that show, that would take up your whole life. No time for other projects."
Looking at Novak, Kaling added: "No time for a social life. You had no choice but to form insanely complicated relationships with your costars."