The real truth behind Michael Weatherly and Cote De Pablo’s relationship

NCIS stands as one of the most beloved shows in TV history, and the actors who have been part of it over the years have garnered immense popularity and affection.

Since Season 1, fans have formed strong connections and developed emotions for the series’ characters, with Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) holding a special place in our hearts.

Throughout the years, viewers have also become acquainted with a plethora of other characters, such as Anthony ”Tony” DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly), Timothy McGee (Sean Murray), Caitlin ”Kate” Todd (Sasha Alexander), and soon after, Ziva David (Cote de Pablo), along with Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette) and Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard (David McCallum).

Following Ziva’s introduction in Season 3, she and Tony quickly became the show’s iconic will-they-or-won’t-they couple.

But how did their relationship actually unfold? Did the passionate chemistry they had on screen extend beyond the filming locations?

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Working on a major television show for years necessitates the need to forge a good relationship with one’s co-stars. Things might work anyway, but they’re sure made easier if folk are getting along.

Michael Weatherly worked closely together with all his co-stars. But one relationship that was something special for big parts of the audience was the one between him and Cote de Pablo, starring as Ziva David

The captivating connection between the actors during their time on NCIS is a memorable one. From seasons four to ten, their on-screen characters, Ziva David and Tony DiNozzo, displayed undeniable chemistry.

“Ziva is a tremendous part of the Tony DiNozzo character, and she always will be. We knew we had to touch on that,” executive producer Gary Glasberg told Deadline in 2016.

Cote de Pablo and Michael Weatherly arrive at the Monte Carlo TV Festival Closing Ceremony at the Grimaldi Forum on June 10, 2010 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Toni Anne Barson/WireImage)

They looked so comfortable with each other and, thanks to their phenomenal charisma, they became somewhat irreplaceable. For me, the uncertainty of whether their on-screen chemistry extended beyond the set added an extra layer of mystery and excitement. And it was kind of obvious that they liked each other, their camaraderie was often evident in interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, showcasing a playful and friendly dynamic.

Given their excellent on-screen chemistry, many fans perhaps assumed that Cote de Pablo and Michael Weatherly formed an instant connection off-screen as well. However, the fact is that the couple had a rather rocky start before getting to know each other properly.

The 44-year-old Chilean-born Cote said: “We realized we’re so drastically different and so much alike that there was an immediate attraction.”

According to Weatherly, Cote de Pablo was not his biggest fan during their initial screen test for popular crime series.

”I remember so vividly the screen test with Cote. She just loathed me instantly,” Weatherly told Deadline.

Recalling the moment he first noticed her, Weatherly couldn’t help but draw parallels between her and Salma Hayek.

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”I just remember her cold stare”, he chuckled, reflecting on the initial encounter.

Despite the frosty start, their relationship took an unexpected turn, blossoming into a deep and enduring friendship. In a conversation with Entertainment Tonight, Weatherly spoke further about his initial impression of Cote, describing her as a poised young woman from New York.

“My first impression was that you were a very put-together young lady from New York. I was amazed by the focus and the clarity of the performance, and before I knew it, I had fallen hopelessly, desperately into an enchanted spell,” he told Entertainment Tonight.

“We sort of hated each other immediately, and loved each other immediately,” Cote de Pablo said of her her on-screen love, DiNozzo.

“During the audition, he grabbed my hair. He would not follow the lines. He totally went off script and started improvising, and this was my final audition with the heads of CBS. I thought, ‘This guy is sabotaging my audition.’”

On NCIS, the close bond between Ziva and DiNozzo ultimately resulted in their fictional daughter, Tali. That little girl was portrayed by twin actresses Emelia and Layla Golfieri.

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Fans – and Michael – were left to mourn when Cote de Pablo departed NCIS in 2013.

Years later, she revealed that the reason she decided to go was out of respect for her character, and also, because of “political things” and “scripts not being good enough.”

Three years after de Pablo’s departure, Weatherly decided to quit NCIS in 2016 before quickly switching it up to star in the CBS show Bull. Fans wanted to see a Tony and Ziva reunion on NCIS, but it never happened on screen.

Though both actors disappeared from the iconic series, fans found it challenging to forget their characters. Of course, Michael and Cote de Pablo’s chemistry had the viewers think they also had some kind of romance outside of NCIS, though that was never the case.

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In fact, Weatherly and De Pablo’s on-screen chemistry and romance remind him of his relationship with his off-screen wife, Bojana Jankovic.

“She and my wife get along very well, of course, because they both know that I’m wrong all the time,” he told People.

What many may not know is that Cote de Pablo and Michael Weatherly expressed a desire to continue working together after NCIS. In 2018, both Weatherly and de Pablo embarked on a joint venture to develop their own television series named MIA.

The series would revolve around a Miami detective and her partner as they tackled various crimes while navigating the complexities of her personal life, as reported by TVLine. Many surely thought that the two actors would be perfect for such a series – but the plan was for de Pablo and Weatherly to produce the show rather than be in front of the camera.

The series was intended for CBS, the same network that airs NCIS. However, for whatever reason, MIA never materialized – the reasons for which are still a bit unclear. The positive note for us fans is that both seem open to working together, and it might not be entirely impossible that we’ll get to see Cote de Pablo and Weatherly on screen together again. I, for one, am keeping my fingers crossed!

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