Tia Carrere says co-star Jo Koy ‘had a special time’ with Chelsea Handler

August 7, 2022 | 12:00pm

Tia Carrere isn’t sure why her “Easter Sunday” co-star Jo Koy and Chelsea Handler broke up.

“I know they had a special time, and maybe down the road when circumstances change, who knows?” the “Wayne’s World” star, 55, tells Page Six exclusively. “Falling in love and staying in love is a hard job for everybody.”

Carrere shares that she has received texts from friends saying, “‘I’m so sad, what happened?’

“I’m like, ‘I don’t know what happens between two people,’” she explains. “They are both very successful, and he’s on a roll and traveling … so it’s hard. I mean, having a relationship is hard under any circumstances, but to have two hugely successful people, even just finding the time together is hard.”

Tia Carrere says friends texted her about her “Easter Sunday” co-star Jo Koy’s breakup with Chelsea Handler.
Getty Images

Handler, 47, and Koy, 51, shared a pre-recorded video on Instagram in July to announce that they had parted ways ahead of their one-year anniversary.

The former “Chelsea Lately” host only had kind words for her fellow comedian, writing in the video’s caption, “This man blew my heart open with love and because of him, my life experience has changed forever. To be loved and adored by @jokoy has been one of the greatest gifts of my life.”

Carrere plays Koy’s aunt in “Easter Sunday.”
©Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection

Carrere plays Koy’s aunt in the new comedy “Easter Sunday,” which is based on his experience growing up with a Filipino mother.

The actress, whose dad is Filipino, says she was thrilled to play Koy’s mom’s “arch rival,” adding that she had “a lot of fun” and was “glad” they got “to go toe-to-toe in the film.”

Carrere became an overnight star after her turn in “Wayne’s World.”
©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

Carrere, who grew up in a Filipino neighborhood in Hawaii, stresses that Koy wanted to make sure the movie did not make fun of Filipino people.

“There are many idiosyncrasies culturally that we could have pulled on, and I was pulling out all these things that I recall from childhood that I thought were kind of funny or quirky,” she explains. “But he was like, ‘No, it’s about not laughing at the differences, but to find the universality of our experience and then laughing at the situation.’

Carrere played a terrorist in “True Lies.”
©20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett C

“And I was like, ‘You know what? I get it, I totally get it’ because it would’ve been an easier joke to make fun of the food and the culture and stuff, so he was really great as far as being the clearing house of what is funny and what our microscope would be picking up. Not making fun of, but enjoying the journey, the wacky journey along with us.”

The Honolulu native has had a long career, but she is best known for her turn as Cassandra Wong in “Wayne’s World” and “Wayne’s World 2.”

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Carrere also starred in the TV series “Relic Hunter.”
©Rysher Entertainment / Everett

“The world turned on its axis for me, career-wise, and it put the wind in my sails for the next 30 years, so hopefully this movie will have that sort of [success] for the next 40 years so I can be working until I’m 100 and something,” she says with a laugh.

Unfortunately, Carrere has also had to play her share of “exotic” prostitutes and terrorists, and although she is grateful for her three decades and counting in Hollywood, she is glad that things are changing for Asian actresses.

Carrere was partnered with Maksim Chmerkovskiy on “Dancing With the Stars” in 2006.
Disney General Entertainment Con

“It’s great to see now on the breakdowns ‘submit all types,’ and [it] makes no mention of ethnic background,” the “Dancing With the Stars” alum says. “That’s what we’ve been working [toward] for decades now, and we’re here, so hopefully there are going to be more parts like that after this movie comes out that has some success.

“I can go in for the lead comic role even though it wasn’t necessarily thought of as Filipino or ethnic or exotic, which is what I used to hear back in the day when I was turned down for a role that I did a great reading for because they weren’t thinking of somebody that looked like me.”

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