Are Cobra Kai’s Ralph Macchio and William Zabka Friends in Real Life?

Since the first ‘Karate Kid’ film came out in 1984, Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) have been pop culture icons. After ‘Cobra Kai’ premiered in 2018, it introduced these two characters and their legendary rivalry to a new generation of audience. While the young characters are important to the storyline and their respective actors portray them superlatively, the interactions between LaRusso and Lawrence are at a different level. Macchio and Zabka set the screen on fire every time they are together on screen. If this has made you wonder whether these reel enemies are friends in real life, this is what you need to know.

Are Cobra Kai’s Ralph Macchio and William Zabka Friends in Real Life?

Yes! Ralph Macchio and William Zabka are indeed friends in real life. According to Zabka, the two of them have become friends over the years. Since the pitch meeting with the series creators, they have been in close contact. Macchio revealed in an interview that the death of the late great Pat Morita (who portrayed Mr. Miyagi in the original films) brought them close.

Image Credit: Curtis Bonds Baker/ Netflix“We’ve become closer friends over the years, certainly since Pat — when Pat passed away we became closer friends just through the loss of him and moving forward and the fact that this film has stood the test of time,” he explained. Zabka concurred, “After the film, we were young, we went our different ways … But I remember it being Pat’s funeral where we reconnected.” Morita passed away on November 24, 2005, in Las Vegas, Nevada, due to kidney failure, which was accompanied by urinary tract and gallbladder infection. He was 73 years old at the time.

In a separate interview, Zabka reflected on his and Macchio’s relationship. He mentioned the episode ‘Different but Same’ (season 1 episode 9), in which Daniel and Johnny started connecting while sitting inside a car and listening to music. But then Johnny discovers that his son Robby has been taking karate lessons from Daniel, and the enmity raises its ugly head again.

Drawing a parallel with their characters, Zabka stated that he and Macchio are different but the same in many ways. They are both from New York. Zabka was born in New York City and later moved to Long Island, which is Macchio’s hometown. He also stated that their off-camera antics are hilarious. They would go home and have the same complaints about the day. Zabka even said that they often went on drives and got lost together.

Macchio and Zabka have known each other for over three decades, and Daniel and Johnny are by far the definitive characters of their careers. They are an integral part of each other’s professional lives, and as it seems, personal as well. So, yes, Ralph Macchio and William Zabka are great friends off-screen.

Read More: Do Johnny and Carmen End Up Together in Cobra Kai Season 4?