As fans are aware, Johnny Lawrence (William “Billy” Zabka) and Daniel LaRusso’s (Ralph Macchio) long-standing rivalry affects nearly every storyline in Cobra Kai. ComicBook noted that Johnny’s distaste for Daniel started the moment he saw the New Jersey native flirting with his ex-girlfriend, Ali Mills, on the beach in The Karate Kid. Now, over three decades later, the men, who are both in their 50s, constantly squabble and occasionally physically fight.
This may have led some fans to wonder if Zabka and Macchio’s relationship is similar to their characters. Earlier this month, both actors talked to ComicBook, and Zabka explained that they have “been friends for years.”
Zabka Noted That His Friendship With Macchio Deepened “Over the Last Decade or So”
He noted that “over the last decade or so, [they had been] getting closer from doing Comic Cons,” as well as appearing together in an episode titled “The Bro Mitzvah” during the eighth season of How I Met Your Mother.
He mentioned that he starred in a 2007 music video for the song “Sweep the Leg” by No More Kings and “slowly reconnect[ed]” with Macchio. He also revealed that the actors were considering working on a project, “right before [Cobra Kai} was pitched to [them].”
“We were actually coming up with some ideas and there was something kind of in the air and our relationship was just getting closer and then when we had this show pitched to us, it was like this shared experience coming back into today and we became instantly grafted in the show and that’s opened up to be working at this level with something that we both cherish and it’s such a big part of both of our lives, we have so many things that we found out that we have in common, we’re different but same and we’ve become quite good friends off-camera. I think maybe the way people wish Johnny and Daniel would end up, maybe, in real life,” explained Zabka.
Macchio teased that perhaps Johnny and Daniel will eventually become friends, stating, “[m]aybe we’re foreshadowing where they may land.”
He claimed, however, that “it’s much more fun to watch them almost get together and then get in their own way.”
Zabka Had Previously Commented on His Relationship With Macchio
This is not the first time that Zabka has commented on his friendship with his co-star.
During an interview in April 2019 on the SiriusXM program, The Jenny McCarthy Show, Zabka stated that they are “good friends in real life.” He then reference Season 1, Episode 9, titled “Different But Same,” when Johnny and Daniel realize they share similarities.
“There’s an episode in the first season called ‘Different But Same.’ It’s the one where we listen to REO Speedwagon together, we’re in the car together. We have an accidental beer together, and Johnny and Daniel almost maybe become friends, and then something happens, of course,” said the actor. “So Ralph and I are very different but same in many ways. And we’re both from New York. I was actually born in the city and lived in Long Island till I was a kid. He’s from Long Island. But our off-camera antics are so fun. We’ll drive home. We’ll have the same complaints, the same thoughts, you know, so.”
To see more of Macchio and Zabka, be sure to watch Cobra Kai Season 3, available on Netflix.