How Sofia Pernas' relationship with Justin Hartley became romantic

Sofia Pernas talks about her love story. ET's Nischelle Turner spoke to the actress about her first impressions of her now husband: Justin Hartleyand how they turned their friendship into romance.

“My first and only impression was, God, this guy comes in and leaves as soon as the bell rings,” Pernas told ET of Hartley, whom she met on the set of The young and the restless. “…Sometimes he would do up to 65 pages a day. He would rip off pieces and throw them in the trash as soon as he was done with the scene. It was almost like pop smoke and then he would leave. It was incredible.”

Hartley was married to at the time Chrishel Stauseso it was just a friendship between the This is us star and the actress. Hartley and Stause stopped it But in 2019, when Pernas was “going through a really bad dry spell.”

Pernas ultimately decided to “throw out feelers” for a possible love match, and one blossomed when she messaged Hartley in early 2020.

“I remember sending him a text in January saying 'happy turn of the century,'” she said. “That was it.”

For a while, the duo acted as “pen pals,” Pernas said, but when the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, that all changed.

'We took a dip in the pool during quarantine. I never actually left him and we are married a year later,” she said.

Although Pernas noted that it's “really cliche when you're in a relationship to say that person is kind of obligated to be your best friend,” she emphasized that Hartley “really” is that to her.

“It's rare that you seem to be on the same page with everything,” she said. “Of course there are growing pains with certain things, but when you know it, you know it. When you have the right person as a partner, you kind of glide through the growing pains.”

“It felt so wrong because so many people were going through a hard, hard time during COVID and I was having the best time of my life, just falling in love,” Pernas added. “…For us it was work and work and work. [It was] so seamless and easy that it was just a no-brainer.”

Now the couple is sharing the screen again on Hartley's show, Follower. Pernas said it was “fun” to work with her husband again, before describing the character she plays on the CBS series.

“She's a fellow reward seeker. It's one of those things where they do the same job, but they just have different tricks,” she teased. 'He does something very specific. She does something very specific. They used to work together.'

“I was doing a job that I didn't really love when I met him and found out what he did and kind of got caught up in that world. And then of course I got a chip on my shoulder and I'm like, 'I can do this too,'” Pernas added. “I'm kind of branching out into my own branch, if you will, and there was a heavy speed bump in their past when I did that.”

During their collaboration, Pernas revealed that she and Hartley were able to spice up the script a bit.

“We weren't really supposed to kiss,” she said. “We were playing with some moments where it felt like, are they kissing right now? Just because there's so much history, and there was so much tension, and there was a certain life-threatening event that happened right before, so it's all of this pent-up Busy.”

As for whether she will return to the show, Pernas said her performance “opened the door in a small way” for a possible continuation of her storyline.

“I love her. She's such a cool character. She tries to hide so much because she's obviously so vulnerable,” she said of her character. “I think that's so cool to see them both play. He's obviously so confident and dominant and powerful when he walks into a room, but I think because of their history and everything that happens in the future, it's fun to see that beep hole in vulnerability.”

Pernas' episode of Follower airs March 24 on CBS.

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