Soap Opera Digest: When did you start dating?
Gina Tognoni: We started dating just around Valentine’s Day. I was Tommy’s Valentine and he was mine.
Tom Pelphrey: I had a friend here from Ireland and I wanted to get Gina some Valentine’s Day stuff. So me and him were sitting in my dressing room — we had some time to kill — and wrote some really crass poems. But they all rhymed, so I was like, “This is kind of doable since it was sweet that it rhymed because we took the time.” Hey, I just rhymed right there! It really hooked her right in, I think.
Digest (to Tognoni): Did it work?
Tognoni (hesitantly): Well, they were very thoughtful. [They both laugh.]. Actually I think one of your friends made up, it was very British….
Pelphrey (sheepishly): There was necrophilia in one of the poems.
Tognoni: I found it charming. And he bought me some fun stuff, like a stuffed animal — the stuff that girls like — so he did well. We had a nice dinner together with his friends. He was super charming.
Digest: Have you met each other’s families?
Tognoni: Yes. I spent Easter with his family and Mother’s Day. And his granddad is a big fan.
Pelphrey: My granddad’s favorite character on the show since I started has always been Dinah. So, for his birthday, I got him an autographed picture of Gina. This was before we were dating. I was like, “Gina can I get a picture of you autographed?” And she was like, “What are you going to do with it?” I was like, “Geez, girl, give me a picture.” So my grandfather had it prominently displayed, so she’s been around the family longer than she even knows.
Tognoni (shyly): His granddad has good taste.
Pelphrey: On Easter, I told my grandmother that I was going to bring Gina home, but I didn’t want to tell my grandpa. I wanted to surprise him. So my grandma was like, “Okay, I won’t tell him, but I’ll make sure he’s dressed good because if she’s here and he’s not dressed good, he’s going to be mad at me.” So we walk in the front door and he goes, “Oh!” He makes this sound and my mom goes, “Dad!” And he says [casually], “Oh, hey. Hey.”
Tognoni (laughing): It was wonderful meeting the whole Pelphrey clan.
Digest: Do you talk about work when you’re together?
Tognoni: Sometimes we do. We never really say, “Okay, now we’re not talking about work.” We both love our work so much and we celebrate it and talk about it. I watch his stuff.
Pelphrey: It’s nice to have somebody to share with, somebody who knows what you are talking about.
Tognoni: We are there for one another.Digest: What’s your working relationship like?
Pelphrey: It’s kind of … like going…. [long pause]
Tognoni: Oh, he’s going to say something funny, I can tell. You’re cooking something.
Pelphrey: It’s kind of like going to the zoo and all bars on the cages fall down.
Tognoni: We’re wild animals!
Pelphrey: It’s a free for all! It’s so great. It really is.
Shawn Dudley, GL costume designer: You should ask their co-workers what it’s like to have to work with them.
Digest: I think that’s an excellent question, if anyone wants to pipe in with the answer.
Dudley: Oh, please, they’re oogy-googy in the halls.
Martha Smith, wardrobe stylist: You have to make sure you knock on their dressing room doors.
[Tognoni and Pelphrey start hysterically laughing.]
Dudley: It’s cute to see them being cute together in the halls. Tom has a very attentive, loving side, which none of us knew he had.
Helen Gallagher, GL makeup artist: The best thing is their names for each other are Babe. “Hey, Babe. Babe? No the other Babe.”
Pelphrey: I think I’m starting to sweat a little.
Tognoni: We refer to each other affectionately often. Seriously, if there’s some issue that comes up, we handle it later. We don’t usually bring it to work. We have a pretty solid line between work and personal life. I mean, we’re affectionate with one another but at work, we’re working.
Pelphrey: Yeah, if we have a disagreement, I’ll hit her and she’ll hit me right back. It’s very even.
Tognoni: We clean up the blood.
Dudley: They’re not in your face about it.
Smith: They are so happy and that’s great to see.
Dudley: We don’t have to worry about uncomfortable moments. I’ve been through studio romances that were so annoying for everyone. These guys are fine. There wasn’t a lot of whispering in the beginning.
Digest: When you learned they were dating, did it made sense?
Dudley: It totally made sense. It was more like, “It’s about time.”
Pelphrey: Ah, that’s sweet to say.