Ever wonder if there was more going on between Danielle Fishel and Rider Strong behind the scenes of Boy Meets World? The iconic actress, 41, made a surprising admission in hilarious new comments on her Pod Meets World podcast (via TooFab), alongside Rider and co-star Will Friedle. When asked by a fan if they had ever harbored crushes on one another, Danielle jumped in first. “I’ll go first,” she responded. “I had a crush on Rider.”
This was apparently news to Rider, 42, who played Shawn Hunter opposite Danielle’s Topanga Lawrence in the beloved ABC series. “That’s not true, you’ve never told me that!” he exclaimed. “You saved that for 30 years? So … I was your first celebrity crush. Jonathan Taylor Thomas and me. You really had the teen magazine thing covered way through the ’90s.”
“It is too true,” Danielle continued, sharing her sincere thoughts on her former costar and current cohost. “I think it started maybe later in season 1 and definitely through season two. I did. I had a crush on Rider. I don’t know — he was so smart. You know one of my favorite things about Rider, and it still stands to this day, Rider is very effusive. He will tell you how he feels and he’s very free with his compliments, but he doesn’t throw them out willy-nilly. When Rider compliments you it is thoughtful, it has meaning, and you can tell…it’s coming from a very real place.”
The crush evidently spilled over into an acting class they took together, as well. “I remember getting a very real compliment from Rider,” she revealed. “And then feeling like, ‘Oh, my God, I love you.’” While noting that she might have “annoyed” Rider when she first began playing Topanga, Danielle said that the relationship matured into, “a very nice, deep friendship and we had very meaningful conversations.”
Boy Meets World ran from 1993-2000. Danielle went on to star in the spinoff Girl Meets World from 2014 and 2017, with Rider reprising his role as Shawn in recurring spots.