Ralph Macchio Reveals Why He Was Not ‘Very Close’ to William Zabka

William Zabka and Ralph Macchio

Getty "Cobra Kai" stars William Zabka and Ralph Macchio strike a pose together during the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival.

In the series “Cobra Kai,” which is a continuation of the “Karate Kid” film franchise, Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) is often at odds with Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka). Even though both of the men are in their 50s, they still resent each other for events that transpired when they were in high school, more than three decades ago. Due to the fact that Macchio and Zabka convincingly play longtime rivals, some fans may be surprised to learn that they get along quite well in real life.


Ralph Macchio Revealed He Was Not Particularly ‘Close’ to William Zabka While Co-Starring in ‘The Karate Kid’

While speaking to AwardsWatch in June 2021, Macchio revealed that he and Zabka “weren’t very close” for quite a few years after working on “The Karate Kid” in 1983. He explained that they were separated intentionally by the film’s director, John Avildsen.

“For the most part during the movie, John Avildsen, our director, kept us kind of apart. … I was working with Pat Morita [who played Mr. Miyagi], Elisabeth Shue [who played Ali Mills] for the lion’s share of the movie, and anytime I worked, you know, with William Zabka, I was getting my a** kicked for the most part,” the 59-year-old said with a laugh.

Macchio went on to say the actors who portrayed members of the Cobra Kai dojo “had their own clique [and] their own brotherhood.” He also noted that he did not have much contact with Zabka following the film’s release.

“We just sort of went our own ways and our careers went opposite ends of the country. I was in New York, he was in Los Angeles,” the actor said.

He revealed that he and Zabka came back into each other’s lives after their “Karate Kid” co-star Pat Morita passed away in 2005.

“When Pat Morita passed, we reconnected at the memorial service, and there was something comforting seeing him there,” said Macchio.

He then noted that following “the loss of [their] friend,” he would often interact with the “Hot Tub Time Machine” star at fan events, like Comic-Con. Despite eventually becoming friends at these conventions, Macchio revealed that he never believed he would be co-starring and co-executive producing a popular series with Zabka.


William Zabka Shared Similar Information During a May Interview

Zabka shared similar information about reconnecting with Macchio during a May 2021 interview with Entertainment Weekly. He explained they “reunited at [Pat Morita’s] memorial service.”

“That was the beginning of Ralph and I becoming reconnected after all the years of us going our different ways,” said the 55-year-old Zabka.

He went on to say that his relationship with Macchio has enabled them to have such strong on-screen chemistry. Zabka noted that they often “banter back and forth” and “rib each other.”

“We’ll do a Comic-Con, we’re on the panels, we like to give each other a hard time and one-up each other. So the competition between us and that, kind of, good nature is already there organically, you know, just between us as friends,” said the actor.

The fourth season of “Cobra Kai” is set to be released on Netflix later this year.

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