Taylor Zakhar Perez Remembers Late Sister 1 Year After Her Death: 'The Glue That Kept Our Family Together'

Taylor Zakhar Perez and his ‘Kissing Booth’ costar Joey King discussed navigating loss while working in the biz

<p>Rodin Eckenroth/Getty</p> Taylor Zakhar Perez on June 5

Rodin Eckenroth/Getty

Taylor Zakhar Perez on June 5

Taylor Zakhar Perez is opening up about the devastating loss of his sister.

The Red, White & Royal Blue star, 32, spoke about filming the hit rom-com with We Were the Lucky Ones actress Joey King for Variety’s Actors on Actors series, getting emotional about the death of Kristy, who died in June of 2023 at age 44 from colorectal cancer complications.

“She was the glue that kept our family together,” said Perez. “It was really hard doing Red, White — and now I’m going to start crying — doing Red, White and knowing that it came out two months [after she died] and she didn’t get to see it.”

Related: Red, White & Royal Blue Sequel Coming Soon with Nicholas Galitzine and Taylor Zakhar Perez

He added, “We’re coming up on a year right now. It’s tough in the creative world because I feel like people throw themselves into projects to forget or to soothe or to distract. And I was like, ‘I can’t do that. I need to be with my family.’ ”

<p>Stefanie Keenan/Getty</p> Taylor Zakhar Perez and Joey King in 2023

Stefanie Keenan/Getty

Taylor Zakhar Perez and Joey King in 2023

King, 24, who met and starred with Perez in 2020’s The Kissing Booth 2 and 2021’s The Kissing Booth 3, agreed. “I think that sometimes people forget that tending to your real life as well as the life that we have as people who are in the industry is just as important — I mean, it’s the most important thing.”

“You taught me that,” responded Perez. “You’re so grounded with your family.”

And while King admitted she hadn’t known Perez’s late sister well, he added that Kristy “loved” The Act Emmy nominee. “It’s weird, because it seems like every time I would talk about you and go visit her, you guys have very similar qualities. Just loving, caring, always accepting.”

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Related: Taylor Zakhar Perez Confesses Nicholas Galitzine Is a 'Good Kisser' — and They Practiced a Lot!

Red, White & Royal Blue includes an end-credits tribute to Perez’s sister, “For Kristy,” which the actor said director and co-writer Matthew López approached him to approve it. “That just blew my mind, that somebody was so thoughtful to think of my family in our time of need and mourning.”

Soon after Kristy’s passing, Perez posted a tribute on his social media. In his Instagram post, he wrote that she “was so looking forward to seeing RWRB that I can’t imagine it premiering without her. She will remain our guide walking with us through life and celebrating us as we continue to grow with her in spirit.”

A sequel to Red, White & Royal Blue, again costarring Perez and Nicholas Galitzine, is now in the works.

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