Famous Friendships: Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff

You might know them better as Rachel Berry and Jesse St. James, romantic rivals on Glee. You might not know that, in real life, they’re best friends.

The New York Times did a fabulous piece on Lea and Jonathan last week, just as he started his Glee guest-stint, and I kind of adore them.

The (very truncated) backstory: The duo originated the lead roles of Wendla and Melchoir in Broadway’s Spring Awakening. They met at an audition, fell in friend-love, and have been BFFs ever since.

Ok, first of all, when they sang Lionel Richie’s  “Hello” together last week I died a little. In fact I’m going to go buy it on iTunes now for inspiration.

I’m back—reinvigorated!—two repeats and a five-minute Glee rendition of “Like a Prayer” later.

These two are adorable. They talk every day. Their families spend New Years together. They only communicate in song. (Ok, I may have made that last one up, but they should. It’s silly they’d waste those voices on talking.)

Actually, my BFF Sara and I aren’t all that different. We can perform the entire “Halloween”-into-“Goodbye Love” sequence from Rent. It’s quite something.

After reading the Times article, I was struck by a few things. Like how Lea and Jonathan became best friends at work. And how they stayed best friends once they left the show and went their separate ways. (Another 15 minute break so I can watch YouTube videos of them performing Spring Awakening numbers on The Tonys and Good Morning America.)

But mostly, I was struck—and by struck I mean mildly disturbed—by the fact that their nicknames for each other are mom and dad. As in, “Sometimes I’m on the phone with Jonathan and I’m like: ‘Dad, I miss you so much. I can’t wait that you’re going to come over tonight and sleep in bed with me, and I can hold you all night long.’ The people that are next to me look at me all weird.”

Um, yeah they do.

Do you and your BFF have strange nicknames or habits that seem normal enough to you, but insane-slash-creepy to everyone else? My friend Julia and I have a dance move we do whenever we’re out together. I forget it’s weird until we bust a move in public and get crazy-person stares. And, if you’re a Glee watcher, what do you think of Mr. Saint-James? I vote keep him around for the vocals (but get Rachel and Finn together!).


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25 responses to “Famous Friendships: Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff

  1. Husband

    Please don’t leave me for Finn.

  2. I don’t watch Glee and didn’t like Spring Awakening (pity me – I hate musicals and my brother works on Broadway – ha). But, I didn’t skip reading your post because of that. =)

    I refer to my best friend at Lil C. And she calls my mom, Mom. But, I don’t think either of those things are far fetched (her name begins with C … and my family has adopted her as their own).

  3. Lisa Z

    I hate to be a stickler for norms, but those nicknames seem abnormal, even to me. There is evidently some void there.

    Anyway, my BFF and I spend most of our time laughing at other people and in all fairness, ourselves. That’s what we do and as such we are always laughing. That might be somewhat unhealthy but at least she’s not my “Mummy”. No odd nicknames except that she once called me the “parking police” due to my need for fairness and equality in all aspects of life.

  4. Agree, except I want Rachel and Puck back together. Or together for real. You know what I mean.

    Great post. Being with a friend who gets you is freeing. I love that my cheeks hurt from laughing after a weekend with my best girlfriends.

  5. Glee is like television crack. I CAN’T GET ENOUGH.

    I don’t think my friends and I have any strange nicknames or weird moves, but my BFF and I definitely get stares when we make each other laugh (which is almost constantly). She snorts, and I squeak, and the combination probably makes strangers nearby want to knock our heads together.

  6. Ana

    Nope, no weird nicknames or habits. I also find the whole mom/dad thing creepy (and the sleeping together…is this REALLY a platonic relationship, or is it a romantic relationship without sex?)

    I actually did NOT like Rachel & Finn together at the end (though I was rooting for them the whole last season). I agree with the Rachel & Puck above.
    Is it weird that I loveloveLOVE Glee but find Rachel beyond annoying and almost want her to get her heart broken by Jesse (who is obviously not really in love with her, but using her for some devious plot…)

    • Nah, not weird at all! If Rachel Berry were real, she’d be totally annoying. But still, that VOICE!

      People just luuuurve Rachel and Puck. I hear they will have a reconnection down the line??

  7. Jen

    Uh, yeah . . . that’s creepy.

    I never thought my BFF and I had anything that would appear strange to other people, but one summer back in high school, we took a college course at the local community college and ate lunch EVERY DAY at the nearby Burger King. And pretty much had a bacon double cheeseburger EVERY DAY (yeah, the good ‘ol days of a teenager’s metabolism). Turns out the manager was convinced we were more than just friends, which was rather shocking in a small redneck town almost twent… uh, a couple years ago.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  8. Cori

    My BFF Lauren and I choreographed the ENTIRE Newsies soundtrack when we were 12. We can still perform it for you. We were also OBSESSED with the Beatles and spent every sleepover learning every lyric, factoid and movie line and fighting over which Beatle was “ours” (I called George, she called John…wish I had thought that one through a little more). Obviously, the pathetic part is that we grew up in the ’90s, not the ’60s…decades past when it was “normal” for teenage girls to be obsessed with the Beatles.

    My BFF Saskia calls me her “little mushroom.”

    My BFF Ann and I call each other “goofus” and often quote passages to each other from a little-known children’s book originally published in the ’60s called “I Like You” by Sandol Stoddard Warburg (illustrated by Jacqueline Chwast). It is about two best friends who do everything together.

    Sigh…I miss my besties!!!

  9. Well, you had me at “Hello”. That song, (the original Lionel Richie one circa 1984) holds a special place in my heart–anthem for my first love…or, in retrospect…puppy love. Thanks for letting me take a moment and enjoy that memory. Ahhh, to be a teenager again. Nope, I’m good.

  10. Jackie

    Ok, I admit that I’ve never seen Glee and therefore have nothing to say about it…. my apologies!

    My BFF and I have a habit of calling eachother, slut, whore, skank, and so on. To other people it is very strange, and we really try not to say it loudly in public, because we get very strange looks usually. It all started when we were each dating men who had commitment problems (go figure). They kept telling us that we could do what we wanted with other people because they just couldn’t commit to us because of where they were in their lives (or whatever other BS excuses they told us). So we made eachother feel better by telling eachother how we could do what we wanted and be with whoever we wanted and be slutty and skanky and so on. Of course, we never were slutty or skanky, but we joked about how we COULD be according to these d-bag guys we were dating. It just made us feel better to shed some humor on our miserable dating situations. And even though we are both getting married now to two amazing men, the slut/whore terms of endearment stuck.

    Does that weird you out? Or are we maybe a little more normal than we think we are?

    And just like Jen commented, a lot of people have thought that we’re gay. Once a cashier at Target actually asked if we were dating eachother with a very rude disapproving tone and a nasty look on her rude disapproving face. I wanted to say to her, “No you rude woman, we are just very close. Obviously with your bad attitude, you don’t have that going on like we do.” *served* I refrained, but really, what kind of person asks that!?

  11. I don’t have any rituals with my best friend that I can think of off the top of my head… but I know her husband thinks we are half batty sometimes. Like most friendships, we have stories that we think are so funny but I they fall under the ‘you had to be there’ category. But we still try to tell them to her husband Eric. He gives us a pity laugh but doesn’t really get why they leave us doubled over in laughter. So there are certain things that will remind of us these stories & send us in to fits of giggling. All I have to do is look at Brooke and say – ‘pumpkin pie filling’ and we will both start laughing. I am sure it’s weird to others but oh well!

    I so should be watching Glee. I have never seen an episode but I think I would love it! Everyone raves about it!

  12. Jules

    Berch, B, B-dawg! The people staring at us are just jealous of our sick dance moves!

  13. Wow, I think I must have seen them in Spring Awakening but didn’t put it together till this post. Love random celebrity trivia (though their nickname thing does make me shudder a smidge). Ick.

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  15. (:

    I love them together on Glee!
    But I prefer Puck and Rachel together (;
    Finn’s a jerk to her

  16. JS

    I have to say that me & my BFF have a strange relationship. We don’t really think about it but sometimes we hold hands or something like that & maybe people would think were lesbians or something, we only do it when we are with our other BFF’s or with friends who really know us. I think we just have a strange connection because she knows me so well & is only the one who knows my deepest secrets. We love eachother like sisters & hope it never changes but I guess when we go off to college everything will change. Sometime I think is really creepy but who cares she helps me get tru the days.

    & yeah the dad & mom thing is so weird but I kind of understand there friendship like our friends understand ours.

  17. Laura

    I love that Lea and Jonathan are BFFs in real life as that helps my fantasy that everyone in theater and TV are real life BFFs (like Courteney Cox and Jennifer Aniston too). I saw them in Spring Awakening and I can definitely see how you’d have to truly trust the other actor in those roles. I LOVED the clip of Lea singing at the Tonys when she sat on Jonathan’s lap. 🙂

    The nicknames are weird, but my gay BFF and I have odd nicknames too sometimes and an ever-evolving language. The straight girl/gay guy BFF relationship can be a little strange. (To clarify my tangent, Jonathan Groff is openly gay.)

  18. St.Berry4eva

    i love them so much! this is great!

  19. miya

    i like jesse more than finn…the couple have much more chemistry!!!! they are so cute together!!

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  21. The company of Spring Awakening called them mom and dad. They were like the leads of the cast.

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