After The Kissing Booth 2 hit Netflix in July 2020, fans wondered if Joey King (who played Elle Evans in the film series) and Taylor Zakhar Perez (otherwise known as Marco Valentin Peña) were more than friends. Following some major speculation from fans, the actor and singer set the record straight.

“Joey King and I are not dating,” the actor said during an interview with GQ in September 2020. “I love her dearly but, no, we are not dating. We might take trips together, but no.”

Since meeting on the set of the second movie, the pair became rather close, which is what led to possible relationship rumors. That, and the fact that their characters had a short-lived romance in the movie.

“We just kind of hit it off,” he told Entertainment Tonight in August 2020. “When we were in South Africa, we had dinner together. I cooked for her, she cooked for me. We just became kind of like the best of friends. When we got back to Los Angeles we just kept hanging out. We live really near each other. And then the quarantine hit and we kinda just needed someone to trust during that time, like, ‘OK, I know you’re not going out. I know who you’re seeing.’ So we just became really close.”

Around the same time, the actor appeared on an episode of the “Chicks in the Office” podcast where he called Joey one of his “quarantine buddies.”

“I would see her all the time because we lived five minutes away from each other, just happenstance. We know what our relationship is, like, we love each other dearly,” Taylor explained. “It’s been interesting how everyone is trying to make something out of it, but it’s fine. It’s like, hey, I would love to be dating Joey King. Like, she’s dope.”

The singer also told WWD in August 2021 how the Ramona and Beezus alum inadvertently helped him with the newfound fame that came with The Kissing Booth.

“When we were shooting [in South Africa], people came up to her all the time, and she was nothing but lovely. I was, like, ‘I have to do that, too,’” Taylor recalled. “I’ve looked at other actors and how they interact, and it turns me off.”

Since their first meeting, the pair have showcased their friendship all over social media and in various interviews. Scroll through our gallery for a full timeline. 

Love J-14? Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for fun, exclusive videos with your favorite stars.