When Kissing Booth 2 was released on July 24, fans got to see Elle Evans return, but with a love triangle this time. Elle's relationship with Noah Flynn got complicated by newcomer Marco V. Peña, who is played by Taylor Zakhar Perez. While most fans feel Elle and Noah are meant to be, the palpable on-screen chemistry between Marco and Elle might make you wonder if Joey King is dating Taylor Zakhar Perez in real life. Here's what we know about where the flirty co-stars stand.
While sparks flew between Perez and King on-screen, speculation that their romance might be an item off-screen started only recently after the co-stars rang in King's birthday by going on a weekend getaway together. The pair didn't hesitate to share tons of footage of their vacation on Saturday, Aug. 1, including numerous photos on Instagram of them frolicking together under a waterfall, clowning for the camera, and just generally looking pretty cozy. The trip came after Perez posted a super-affectionate note to King for her birthday, on which King commented, "Can’t imagine my life without you. I heart you T."
Considering King revealed she got tested for coronavirus on July 25 so they "could hug today" and the pair's most recent vacation, fans quickly started wondering if the co-stars had struck up a romance and were dating in real life. After all, it's not the first time the Kissing Booth has led to a real-life relationship. King dated her other Kissing Booth co-star Elordi between 2017 and 2018.
While there's no denying King and Perez had some serious on-screen chemistry, there's a few reasons why their relationship is probably strictly platonic.
For one, King has been dating Steven Piet since September 2019. The actor and producer reportedly met King on the set of The Act, and they've since given fans low-key but sweet glimpses into their relationship during quarantine. Not only have they made "Santa Saturday," "Tiki Tuesday," and "Wacky Wednesday" a thing while social distancing together, but the actress also posted videos and pictures of the pair on Instagram as recently as March. While she hasn't posted anything with him since, she hasn't deleted any of their posts together and is notoriously reticent about providing public details of her relationships.
There's also the fact that, contrary to first appearances, the co-stars weren't on their waterfall vacation solo. Judging from Perez's photos, it looks like his sister Maria and some other friends also came along for the trip. Although King and Perez appeared super close and affectionate in their photos and in comments to one another on Instagram, it seems more likely they were hanging out as friends.
Unfortunately, it looks like Elle and Marco shippers will just have to keep stanning the couple on the screen and not IRL, but it looks like King is happier than ever and living her best life after turning 21.