Since gaining a new life on Netflix, Cobra Kai has become the most popular series in the United States, according to Forbes. Two years after its initial release on YouTube Red, Season 1 has managed to rack up a 100% critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and Season 2 is right behind with an astounding 89%. Needless to say, the Karate Kid spin-off has stoked our nostalgia in a major way — bringing back old favorites like Ralph Macchio and William Zabka along with a fresh new crop of actors and actresses.
At the time of this writing, we’re all awaiting Series 3, which is set to drop in January 2021, but with all the rivalry and romance on-screen, it’s hard not to wonder what’s happening with the cast behind-the-scenes. Who are they dating? What’s their romance history? Is it anywhere near as dramatic as what we’re getting from Netflix? From childhood sweethearts to Hollywood’s A-list, here are the real-life partners of the Cobra Kai cast.
Ralph Macchio married his high school sweetheart
It’s been more than 35 years since Ralph Macchio first embodied the Karate Kid, but he’s known his wife for even longer. In an episode of Live with Kelly and Ryan, the actor revealed that he was just 15 years old when he met Phyllis Macchio (née Fierro) at his grandmother’s house during his cousin’s Sweet 16. Though the pair wed in 1987, just three years after The Karate Kid premiered — and they knew it was fate from the very beginning.
“From the earliest days as teenagers, we’ve just believed that this was meant to be,” Ralph told Men’s Journal. “Even at the toughest times, that is what we believe: that we are meant to be together. I don’t think we are just saying that to get through—I think it’s the truth.”
Though Phyllis is often seen at her hubby’s side — and was even honored by the actor during his appearance on Dancing with the Stars — she didn’t pursue a career in the limelight. Instead, she graduated from SUNY Stony Brook’s School of Medicine and became a nurse practitioner. According to local listings, she works in Port Jefferson, New York, which isn’t far from the couple’s home in East Hampton. She’s also mother to the pair’s two children Julia and Daniel Macchio.
Moon and Miguel, sitting in a tree
Xolo Maridueña, who portrays Miguel in the Netflix series, didn’t just learn martial arts for his role in Cobra Kai. The young star followed the sacred tradition of the on-set romance. After filming Season 1, sparks flew between him and co-star Hannah Kepple, who portrays Moon.
In the summer of 2020, Kepple opened up to MEAWW about the pair’s relationship. “Season 1, we were actually friends, a little flirty and then we started talking after season 1, and it clicked,” she said. While they didn’t share many scenes together, she still revealed that she “love[d] watching his character a lot” and claimed it was helpful not to be part of the same storyline (it’s probably just a little hard to concentrate staring at your boo).
Unlike Maridueña, who got his start in 2013, Cobra Kai was Kepple’s first real acting credit. She’s since gone on to nab cameos in TV series like Your Worst Nightmare and Tell Me Your Secrets – and we only expect her career to grow from there.
Mary Mouser is still smitten with her longtime beau
While most Cobra Kai cast members are uniquely quiet about their personal relationships, Mary Mouser, who portrays Samantha LaRusso, wears her heart on her sleeve — or on her social media accounts. At the time of this writing, the actress is still dating her longtime boyfriend, actor Brett Pierce, who’s best known for his role in the Pop TV series This Just In.
According to his IMDb profile, Pierce is a Los Angeles native who went to the University of Southern California to study film and theatre. Though his career hasn’t been as prolific as Mouser’s yet, he’s had recurring roles in the Disney Channel series Stuck In the Middle and A Million Little Things, among others. He also makes regular appearances on Mouser’s YouTube channel, which has more than 124,000 subscribers. Overall, the actress seems totally smitten.
In an Instagram birthday tribute, Mouser revealed, “You are my balance, my excitement, my magic, my rage, my sweet, and my eternal love. I love today, I love celebrating your existence and your life.” Too cute! Who says young love can’t work?
Tanner Buchanan's relationship with a fellow actress seems to have fizzled
Tanner Buchanan, who stars as Johnny Lawrence’s estranged son Robby Keene, shares an on-screen romance with Mary Mouser, who plays Daniel Russo’s daughter. It’s a Shakespearean type of forbidden love between the offspring of two rival families. Hello, Romeo and Juliet. We can’t help but ship them. Unfortunately, the version of Los Angeles in The Karate Kid isn’t Hollywood as we know it in the real world. From what we can tell, it looks like Buchanan might be single — that or he’s keeping his love life completely under wraps. So, what’s the truth? Let’s look at the Instagram breadcrumbs.
In the past, Buchanan has been linked to model and actress Lizze Broadway, who appeared in HBO’s short-lived series Here and Now. According to Popbuzz, they began dating no later than 2017 (at least, that’s what it looked like on Instagram). While most evidence of the relationship has been scrubbed from the web, Buchanan still left up a romantic Instagram post from that year, which features candlelight, rose petals, and Broadway’s tag. The couple even appears to share a YouTube Channel — the true mark of a serious relationship in the age of social media — but they only uploaded one video in 2019. That same year, they were reportedly spotted by paparazzi getting cozy at Comic-Con, but haven’t been seen in public since. At this point, all signs lead to a split, but you never know.
Courtney Henggeler's husband got his start on Wall Street
Fame isn’t for everyone. Like her on-screen husband Ralph Macchio, Courtney Henggeler tied the knot with someone notably less high-profile. In fact, her husband Ross Kohn shines most behind-the-scenes, even though he’s also an actor who’s had cameos in major series like Supernatural and Veronica Mars. In order to succeed as a producer — and launch his own company Indy Entertainment — the actor had to first take a detour on Wall Street.
According to his LinkedIn page, Kohl got a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and used his higher education to land a job at Rhino Trading Partners, LLC, an equity research and trading firm — but living in the world of finance wasn’t exactly his dream. While grinding during the day at Institutional Sales, the producer actually raised money for his first feature film Duke. During that project, he met his future business partner Nancy Leopardi, and the pair went full-time with Indy Entertainment in 2013.
According to their website, Indy Entertainment has produced 14 feature films, including Feed, starring Tom Felton, and Literally Right Before Aaron, starring Justin Long. Kohn produced five films in 2020 alone.
Petyon List used to date a Shameless star
Cobra Kai’s resident bad gal Peyton List may currently be single, but she’s had a star-studded dating past. Okay, so it only involves one person that we know of, but it’s not about quantity; it’s about quality. For fans of Showtime’s long-running series Shameless, there’s only one Ian Gallagher, and that Ian Gallagher was smitten with the former Disney Channel star.
The actress previously dated Cameron Monaghan, who she met on the set of Anthem of a Teenage Prophet. In an interview with AOL’s Build Series, List revealed that sparks flew when the whole cast was isolated in a single trailer while filming in a small town two and a half hours outside of Vancouver. If you don’t hate someone in quarters that close, it’s a safe bet that you love them — and that’s just what happened. Just Jared Jr. reports that the pair went on to do regular Hollywood couple things like attending the Streamy Awards, posting on red carpets, and holding hands at Disneyland before splitting around the holidays in late 2018.
According to E! News, the breakup was amicable, and the pair were spotted together on the red carpet promoting their indie flick, but List hasn’t mentioned it. Monaghan has, though. In a now-deleted tweet (via J-14), the Shameless star thanked the actress for “sharing nearly two amazing years” with him, and thus they continue to be adorable even after they’re donezo.
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