Apparently, the actors made a love connection — from Rhys' perspective, anyway — about a decade before they were cast as the Jennings on the FX show, which is now in its fifth season. It all involved some kickball and lots of beer.
The story was revealed when a WWHL viewer called in to ask about when they first realized they "had the hots for each other." (Try not to spit out your beer, Keri.)
"We actually met a long, long time ago," Rhys shared. "I very drunkenly asked her for her number when she was a young, single slip of a thing. So I sort of knew then, when I was 26."
The Welsh actor, who is now 42, added that the encounter happened in a parking lot, which he joked was "very romantic."
"She asked me to open a beer," he told Cohen, with Russell explaining that it was "after a kickball party."
Fast-forward a good decade or so later, when The Americans came along.
"We did all the readings together and all the things, and after a heavy dose of fight training, all sweaty, at lunch, you said, 'Oh, you know we've met before,'" the 41-year-old actress recalled. "I said, 'no we haven't,' and you said, 'yeah, we've met before, like 10 years ago at kickball.' As soon as he said that, I knew exactly what [happened] and I opened my eyes, like, 'oh! of course I remember that.'"
According to Rhys, he'd left a "drunken message" but Russell didn't call him back.
"You were that buffoon that wouldn't stop calling," he joked.
Well, all's well that ends well. Russell went on to marry Shane Deary in 2007, welcoming son River that same year and daughter Willa in 2011. She and Deary separated in 2013, the year The Americans started airing. She and Rhys began dating soon after, and now they have a baby.
The only thing that could make this story better? Photographic evidence of this kickball situation. What would the Rezidentura think?