AUTHOR: Ada Tseng
ISSUE: Audrey Magazine Summer 2013
THE BIG BANG THEORY STAR IS NOTHING LIKE HIS CHARACTER — JUST ASK HIS MISS INDIA WIFE.
Having just completed its sixth season, the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory is more popular than it’s ever been (currently the highest-rated show in television with 20 million view- ers), and 31-year-old Indian British actor Kunal Nayyar is working on his favorite storyline so far: his astrophysicist character Raj finally falls in love.
“It’s fun to explore that side of Raj,” says Nayyar, “to see him be vulnerable because he has a legitimate shot with a girl. I don’t think we’ve seen him genuinely like someone yet.”
Part of the reason Raj’s personal life has been so slow to develop is because he has social anxiety disorder, specifically selective mutism, which makes him unable to talk to women. Early in the first season, Raj discovered that alcohol overrides his psychological fears, and he has since experimented with other pharmaceutical drugs with varying re- sults. Though often played for laughs, it’s a serious disorder that thwarts his desire to be a ladies’ man.
When Raj meets Lucy (played by Kate Micucci), he asks her out for coffee, only to have her excuse herself to go to the bathroom and sneak out the window. This sends Raj into a mini depression, and his friends find him alone in his apartment, bingeing on lobster, wearing only his tighty whities.
“You know, I’m not insecure about the way that I look, and as an actor, you’re just playing the circumstances,” says Nayyar. “But it’s not like I have a six-pack, so when I saw it, [knowing that] 20 million people were watching, I was like, ‘My God, time to go on a diet.’” He laughs. “But in my defense, I was wearing three [pairs of] underwear under the [top] one, because they wanted my tummy to stick out a little more.”