Adam Brody and Leighton Meester are one of those rare Hollywood couples capable of keeping a low-profile while simultaneously still being lodged in the hearts of The O.C. and Gossip Girl fans everywhere. Now, having been married for seven years and sharing two children together, Brody is opening up about his ultra-private relationship with his wife.

Speaking to Anna Faris on her podcast, Anna Faris Is Unqualified, Brody talked about how they met, his initial impression of her, and why he considers her to be “literally like Joan of Arc.”

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Brody and Meester first crossed paths at Canter’s Deli in Los Angeles, when The O.C. was ending on Fox and Gossip Girl was just about to premiere on The CW. “Josh Schwartz produced both shows and literally the first time we met, that whole cast was eating at Canter’s and I lived at Canter’s for like my entire 20s,” he told Faris, per E! “And I was leaving, and he introduced all of us.”

The two had brief encounters with each other in the years that followed. Eventually, they were both cast in the 2011 film The Oranges. “We did this movie together. I was seeing someone at the time,” Brody said. “So we met kind of through mutual work friends off and on. And then we didn’t get together about a year after that movie, when I was single.”

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Leighton Meester and Adam Brody attend the 2014 Tony Awards in New York City.
Photo: Getty

Though he didn’t make any moves while they were costars, Brody revealed, “I was very attracted to her from jump. She’s a heavenly creature. I thought she was gorgeous. And even when we did the movie, there was chemistry there, but I was seeing someone.”

Despite the chemistry, he still wasn’t sure about Meester’s personality. “But I had no idea whether she was a good person or not. And, in fact, kind of assumed she probably wasn’t for like the first handful of years that I didn’t know her, just because, I don’t know, Gossip Girl,” he said. “Not that I tagged all actresses with that or anything—I didn’t. And I like to date actors. I never believe that stigma.”

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He began to realise how wrong his initial impression was once they started dating. “And I was like, ‘Oh, she’s cool.’ But I still didn’t know, and that continued even to when we first started dating,” he continued to explain to Faris. “And come to find out she’s literally like Joan of Arc. She is the strongest, best person I know. She is my moral compass and North Star, and I just can’t say enough good things about her character. It’s crazy.”

Her moral compass extends to just about everybody, Brody revealed, except for one particular demographic. “She’s never been rude to like a single person in her life, except—and I give her credit for this—paparazzi, where I’m too self-conscious,” the actor said. “I wouldn’t say rude but like people will try to get her to sign some sexy old photo or something that aren’t fans but they pretend to be fans … It’s sort of a bottom feeding thing … She has no problem being like, ‘You can hate me. I don’t care.'”

Brody and Meester married in 2014. They have two children, a five-year-old girl named Arlo and a baby boy they welcomed last year.

This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.