Julie, who is originally from Cullman, Alabama, also has a notorious sweet tooth, one of the many things she and Jesse have in common—not to mention their fondness for Indian food and tequila. The two are a match made in foodie heaven. “I joke that if Jesse and I were single, and if he were straight, we’d probably be married,” says Julie, who moved to Los Angeles in 2013. “I reluctantly attended this pop-up dinner and ended up sitting by Jesse at the end of a table with over 60 people. I broke the ice with a funny joke about not wanting to be there, and Jesse spit his drink out he was laughing so hard. It sounds cheesy, but it was this really magical moment. It was one of those instant friendships.”
The two bonded immediately over their love of musical theater (Julie briefly worked in New York City’s music industry before attending culinary school at the Institute of Culinary Education) and all things food.
“Julie has such an infectious personality and this Southern charm I love,” explains Jesse, who has loved to cook from the time he was a little boy. “I’m used to meeting people who are fans of Modern Family, and they freak out right away. In those cases, I have to work to find who they are as a person because they sometimes put on airs, acting more like fans than human beings. Julie treated me like a person and like someone she wanted to get to know as a person. I’ve always felt like I had a fresh slate with her.”
Every few weeks, Jesse and Julie get together at one of their homes for what they call “cooking days.” When they cook at Julie’s Pacific Palisades home, her 2-year-old daughter, Josephine, and French bulldog, Ringo, run circles through the kitchen, and Will pops in, coffee cup in hand, for a taste. These days are truly about cooking, and, of course, jamming out to everything from Beyoncé and Dolly Parton to Broadway show tunes. When they cook at Jesse’s house, Britney Spears is bound to be playing if Justin gets his way.
“Half the time I cook, I don’t want anyone in the kitchen, but I love being with Jesse,” Julie explains. “He isn’t just funny on television. Jesse is genuinely one of the most quick-witted people I’ve ever met. He is usually laughing at my blatant Southern-ness, or my inability to make a decision. I’m the most indecisive human ever. You would hate to be behind me in line at an ice cream counter.”