Penny Was Almost Played By Another Actress On 'Big Bang Theory'

Sarah Kester
Kaley Cuoco on couch
Insider | CBS

Everyone knows Penny on The Big Bang Theory.

For 12 seasons, she was the bubbly, sometimes naive girl next door. Despite having nothing in common, she ends up befriending a group of, well, nerds and even married one of them.

Kaley Cuoco, the actress who played Penny, absolutely crushed the role. But did you know that she was almost played by another actress? Mind. Blown.

Hollywood is full of stories of roles that almost went to other actors and actresses.

These films and TV shows could've turned out very differently. Like Titanic, which almost had Gwyneth Paltrow as the film's romantic lead opposite Leonardo DiCaprio.

"I know that the story is that I turned it down," Paltrow told Howard Stern.

Rose in Titanic
Giphy |

"I think I was really in contention for it — I was one of the last two," she added. "I look back at the choices I've made and think, 'Why the hell did I say yes to that? And no to that?'"

She doesn't hold onto regret of losing a role that made Kate Winslet a star.

Gwyneth in car
instagram | @gwynethpaltrow

"And you know, you look at the big picture and think: There's a universal lesson here. What good is it to hold onto roles?" Gwyneth added.

A lot of famous actresses auditioned for the role of Allie in 'The Notebook.'

We'd want to star opposite Ryan Gosling in a romantic film, too! Jessica Biel, Reese Witherspoon, and Ashley Judd all auditioned. Biel even revealed to Elle that she wanted the role "so badly."

Some actors have auditioned for different roles on the same TV show.

Monica and Rachel
Giphy | TV Land Classic

An example of this is Courteney Cox who played Monica on Friends.

She was almost Rachel instead, but she and Jennifer Aniston decided to switch roles after they met. Can you imagine Jen playing a neat freak?

Speaking of TV shows, things were almost **very** different for Penny on 'The Big Bang Theory.'

Penny on The Big Bang Theory
Insider | CBS

There was almost a very different girl next door that Leonard would've fallen madly for and that Sheldon would've annoyed on a daily basis.

This stunning revelation was revealed in the forthcoming oral history, 'The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series' by Jessica Radloff.

Penny shaking head
Giphy | CBS

She revealed that four well-known actresses were up for the role of Penny, which was originally given the name Katie.

“I read with Marisa Tomei,” Jim Parsons, who played Sheldon, disclosed in the book.

Marisa selfie
instagram | @marisatomei

“I remember going to the snack room after we were done and telling [casting directors] Ken [Miller] and Nikki [Valko], ‘I’ve never been in someone else’s audition before!’"

"And they said, ‘Well, she was kind of really auditioning you,'" he continued.

Marisa Tomei smiling
Giphy | The Academy Awards

"And I went, ‘Oh, that makes sense.’ But oh my gosh what a different world that would have been.”

Kaley's bubbliness is one of the reasons she almost missed out on the role.

"[Cuoco is] so sunny and bubbly, and [the network] just loved her, but she just didn't bring the dark qualities," said casting director Ken Miller.

Kaley Cuoco on couch
Insider | CBS

"She just wasn't the essence of Penny in that first incarnation." Other famous actresses who were considered for the role include Tara Reid and Elizabeth Berkley.

At one point, Jodi Lyn O'Keefe (star of 'She's All That') was cast as "Katie" and even shot the original pilot.

After she brought a darkness to the show and was replaced by another actress, Kaley stepped back into the picture —and all was well within the world.