AceShowbiz - Chelsea Handler believes she'd have "ruined" things with Jo Koy if they'd got together sooner.
The couple recently went public with their romance but they've been friends for over 18 years, since Jo made regular appearances on "Chelsea Lately", which ran on E! from 2007 to 2014.
Although the star admitted she probably had a bit of a crush on her fellow comic when they worked together, she was likely "suppressing" her feelings.
"I was just not in touch with myself to understand," she said. "I knew I liked talking with you and having you in my life because you're positive and upbeat. It's infectious and I loved all of that. But I wasn't like, 'Oh my God!' This desire to have something happen, to have something happen, not at all."
"By the way, who gives a s**t? Look where we are now. I would've ruined it if I had those feelings earlier, probably."
Chelsea explained she thought of Jo as "family" and felt "so completely safe" with him, comparing her partner to her older brother Chet, who died when she was a child.
"You have a lot of similar qualities that my brother had," she mused. "So, in many ways, I just feel so completely safe. And I feel like, 'Oh, this is family.' Like I've always felt that way about you, that you're family."
She then quipped: "I just didn't want to f**k you before."
The couple appeared together on the star's "Dear Chelsea" podcast and explained how they reconnected shortly before the coronavirus pandemic when Jo asked Chelsea to write a blurb for his book, Mixed Plate.
They began calling and meeting up but then Jo had to go to Vancouver to shoot a movie while Chelsea went skiing in Whistler, and after four months apart they went out for dinner.
Jo recalled, "The minute we were both back in L.A. we were like, 'Let's go to dinner.' "
After that, things began to progress "organically," but they only realised things had shifted when Chelsea returned to the stage for a show in Las Vegas.
And the pair joked about the "amazing" chemistry they have always had.
Chelsea quipped, "You thought that chemistry was sexual and I thought it was comedic."
Jo insisted, "Never ever did I ever say that!"