To understand how Sara Gilbert’s presence on “The Big Bang Theory” came to be, we first have to dive into her brief relationship with Johnny Galecki. Shortly after his “Roseanne” debut in 1992, the two hit it off and started dating, but magic wasn’t in the air for very long. As she explained on The Talk in 2013 (via Entertainment Weekly), she felt depressed over the way things were going, prompting her to reevaluate herself and come to the conclusion that she’s a lesbian. “I eventually told him I thought it was about my sexuality, and he was super sweet about it,” Gilbert revealed.
Sadly, back in that era, it wasn’t easy for an actor or actress to come out, at least if they wanted to keep their career going. Gilbert was well aware of this industry-wide issue, recalling, “I always felt so scared. If it came out, what could happen? Could I lose my career? Will I ever be able to play a straight role again?” She went on to note that not only was Galecki supportive of her sexuality, but he gladly kept her secret for years and offered to be there in person when she finally decided it was time to speak publicly about it.
So, what does this story have to do with Gilbert’s addition to the “Big Bang” cast? Well, as The Things postulates, her and Galecki’s strong bond surely played a role in her signing on, even though the Leslie Winkle character didn’t get to see the show through to the end. Not to mention, Chuck Lorre — one of the sitcom’s creators alongside Bill Prady — worked with the duo on “Roseanne” back in the day, adding another level of comfortability to the set.
All in all, the perfect set of circumstances came together to get Sara Gilbert on “The Big Bang Theory,” and her enduring friendship with Johnny Galecki likely made her appearances a treat to film.