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Sofia Pernas on How Her Relationship With Justin Hartley Turned Romantic (Exclusive)

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Sofia Pernas is opening up about her love story. ET’s Nischelle Turner spoke to the actress about her first impression of her now-husband, Justin Hartley, and how they turned their friendship into romance.

“My first and only impression was, God, that guy comes in and leaves as soon as the bell goes ding,” Pernas told ET of Hartley, who she met on the set of The Young and the Restless. “… Sometimes he’d do up to 65 pages a day. He was just ripping pieces off, throwing them in the trash, as soon as he’d be done with the scene. It was almost like pop smoke and then he would leave. It was incredible.”

At the time, Hartley was married to Chrishell Stause, so it was just a friendship between the This Is Us star and the actress. Hartley and Stause called it quits in 2019, though, at which time Pernas “was going through a really bad dry spell.”

Pernas eventually decided to “start throwing out feelers” for a potential love match, and one bloomed when she messaged Hartley at the start of 2020.

“I remember I texted him ‘happy turn of the decade’ in January,” she said. “That was it.”

For a time, the duo acted as “pen pals,” Pernas said, but, when the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, that all changed.

“We did a dip in the pool with quarantine. I kind of never left him and we got married a year later,” she said.

While Pernas noted that it’s “really cliche when you’re in a relationship to say that that person is kind of obligated to be your best friend,” she insisted that Hartley “really is” that for her.

“It’s very rare when you just seem to be on the same page with everything,” she said. “Of course there’s growing pains with certain things, but when you know, you know. When you have the right person as your partner you just sort of glide through the growing pains.”

“It felt so wrong ’cause so many people were going through hard, tough time during COVID and I was kind of having the best time of my life, just falling in love,” Pernas added. “… For us, it was working and working and working. [It was] so seamless and easy that it was just a no brainer.”

Now, the couple is back to sharing the screen on Hartley’s show, Tracker. Pernas said that working alongside her husband again “was fun,” before describing the character she plays on the CBS series.

“She’s a fellow reward seeker. It’s sort of one of those things where they do the same job, but they just have a different bag of tricks,” she teased. “He does a very specific thing. She does a very specific thing. They used to work together back in the day.”

“I kind of was doing a job I wasn’t really into when I met him and found out what he was doing and kind of got entangled in that world. And then I, of course, got a chip on my shoulder and I’m like, ‘I can do this too,'” Pernas added. “I kind of go out on my own branch, if you will, and there was a tough speed bump in their past when I did that.”

During their time working together, Pernas revealed that she and Hartley got to spice up the script a bit.

“It wasn’t really scripted for us to kiss,” she said. “We played with some moments where felt was like, do they kiss in this moment? Just because there is so much history, and there was so much tension, and there was a certain life-threatening event that happened right before, so it’s all of this pent up pressure.”

As for if she’ll return to the show, Pernas said that her appearance “opened the door a sliver” for a possible continuation of her storyline.

“I love her. She’s such a cool character. She’s trying to hide so much ’cause, obviously, she’s so vulnerable,” she said of her character. “I think that’s what’s so cool, watching both of them play. He’s obviously so self-assured and commanding and powerful when he walks into a room, but I think, because of their history and everything going forward, it’s nice to see that peep hole in the vulnerability.”

Pernas’ episode of Tracker will air March 24 on CBS.

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