In Netflix’s original teen rom-com The Kissing Booth 2, Joey King reprises her role as Elle Evans, a high school senior who struggles to balance her long-term relationship with boyfriend Noah Flynn (Jacob Elordi) with her own dreams for the future. Elle’s situation gets even more complicated when new student Marco Peña (Taylor Zakhar Perez) enters the picture, and she stumbles into a love triangle between the scarily-similar but equally hot young men. Spoiler alert: Marco doesn’t get the girl, but the actor who plays him might have found a friend for life in his co-star.
If you're one of the many Kissing Booth 2 fans shipping Elle and Marco — because Noah really is a horrible boyfriend — you'll be happy to know that the chemistry between the characters is authentic because the stars behind them are friends in real life. So much so, in fact, that they linked up to celebrate King's 21st birthday together with a scenic road trip; joined by a few friends, Perez helped ring in King's big milestone with an Instagram-worthy weekend getaway some place with a waterfall.
On King's actual birthday, Perez made sure to show love with a heartfelt Instagram post featuring the actors posing together on a beach.
"Happy Friggen Birthday @joeyking," he captioned the photo. "Honestly I could write about this woman all day. She is the reason I joined the KB2 family, she welcomed me with open arms and love, she supported me, she pushed me, she made me laugh (like pee my pants laughter and had to check my underwear), she inspired me to be a better actor, she shared her family with me, THE LIST GOES ON. Grateful for you forever. #tbt"
Though they first met during an early chemistry read for The Kissing Booth 2, King and Perez became fast friends, and the bond was solidified as they rehearsed and filmed their scenes together during production. Now that the film has been released, their natural chemistry is best observed on their virtual press runs. Between teasing each other on Zoom and sharing an endless stream of inside jokes, this friendship is the real deal.
"Taylor is like, literally one of the funniest people I've ever met in my life, the most genuine person," King said of her co-star during a Kissing Booth 2 edition of Glamour's Friendship Test. "He's so giving and would do anything for his friends. He's the greatest guy."
Perez had nothing but praise (and a little teasing) for King, complimenting her ability to bring make the set of The Kissing Booth 2 feel like a family affair. "I'm just so grateful that I was catapulted into your life," Perez told her during the interview. "Now you can't get rid of me!"
The entire cast appears to be close, but these two have a friendship that makes seeing them cozy up on screen even more rewarding. As the Netflix gods would have it, this won't be the last of this pairing that we'll see — the announcement of The Kissing Booth 3 hints that more pure moments from King and Perez are on the way.