B.J. Novak: My Relationship with Mindy Kaling Is 'Complicated'

B.J. Novak: My Relationship with Mindy Kaling Is 'Complicated'
B.J. Novak
Charles Sykes/Bravo

10/03/2014 AT 04:15 PM EDT

If any pairing has reason to use the "it's complicated" relationship status on Facebook, it's B.J. Novak and Mindy Kaling.

While speaking with PEOPLE about his new children's picture book, The Book with No Pictures, the actor, 35, opened up about his friendly – and at times romantic – relationship with his former Office costar.

"Complicated," he said when asked to describe Kaling in one word. "A really complicated person and a really complicated friendship, but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world."

For her part, Kaling, 35, told Howard Stern in an interview on his radio show Sept. 15 that Novak broke her heart when he ended their romance a decade ago.



"That was the hottest I've ever looked because I stopped eating," she recalled. "When I get depressed, I stop eating. I was so miserable and I was so beautiful."

She added that had Novak proposed to her at the time, she would have said yes.

"I was 24," she said with a laugh. "But for the record, if anyone had asked me to marry them, I would have said yes."

These days, Novak's playing the dating game, which he calls "difficult."

Says the actor: "Dating head-on sounds so sort of cheesy and outdated. I picture someone with a glass of wine and a candle on the table saying, 'So do you have any brothers and sisters?' "

"I feel like the best dating is when you don't realize it's dating, when you're just coconspirators," he adds. "When you're both like, 'Can we ditch this date and do something fun?' That's real dating to me."

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