Secret Celebrity Renovation fans, be sure to have a tissue handy before watching Friday’s episode!
Beth Behrs is picking up the sledgehammer for the Aug. 18 episode to surprise her college best friend, Lauren Wong, who lives in Buena Park, California. ET went behind the scenes as The Neighborhood star worked with ET’s own Nischelle Turner, reality star and general contractor “Boston Rob” Mariano and interior designer Sabrina Soto to give her bestie’s home a beautiful makeover.
Behrs explains that she and Wong have been friends since they met at UCLA as theater majors. “We have this big group of girlfriends from UCLA, and we’ve seen each other through college and weddings and babies,” she tells ET, adding that when she was approached for the home makeover show, Wong was the first one she thought of.
“Lauren is sort of the mama bear of our group. She was the first to have a child [and] she has four children. She’s a teacher, [her] husband’s a teacher, she works really hard,” Behrs shares. “All [of] my girls agreed it should be her. It was a mutual decision.”
When it came to the actual renovation, Behrs says she was immediately down to do whatever the professionals wanted — even if her husband, Mad Men actor Michael Gladis, was more hesitant about her using any power tools.
“I will say, a sledgehammer is much heavier than I thought it was going to be,” she jokes, recalling that “hitting a wall and actually doing the wall was much harder than I thought it was gonna be.”
But getting a few stern talking-tos from Mariano was worth it for the end result. “It’s beautiful, it’s amazing,” Behrs says of the renovation’s final outcome. “The kitchen is spectacular … the whole crew did an incredible job.”
Mariano explains that giving the Wong family home a makeover was a “huge” job.
“We basically ripped out the entire kitchen; we started thinking that there wasn’t going to be any [significant structural] issues and then we had to replace an entire beam,” he says. “We changed the whole layout. I mean, it was a lot going on.”
Soto adds: “It looks like a completely different home, and given all the obstacles that we had to overcome, I’m shocked and amazed that we pulled it off in the time that we did.”
Soto says Behrs was especially vital to the renovation process, revealing that the actress “took down an entire wall in the kitchen.”
“The thing I love most about Beth was, like, she just seemed to fit right in with us from the beginning,” Mariano adds. “She has a super sarcastic attitude. She understood our dynamic right away. I gotta be honest, I felt ganged up on! But we ended up getting to the end.”
Marveling at the bond between Behrs and Wong, the hosts reflect on how much closer the friends will become thanks to the emotional renovation. “At the end of the day, it’s about love. It’s about appreciation, and it’s about giving someone their flowers when they can receive them and hearing ‘I love you. I appreciate you. Thank you,'” Turner says.
“I mean, at times, that’s all you need to hear, and I know that Beth loves her friends and I know that Lauren knows it,” she adds. “But when you see something tangible, and you know that someone gave it from their heart, and they put their sweat into it, that brings it to a whole other level.”
Mariano echoes Turner’s sentiments, saying, “It’s that connection that they have. I think like what Sabrina and Nischelle both said, she had one person that she could do this for. And to see the connection that she has with Lauren… that’s what this is all about.”
“And mind you, when she told the whole friend group, they all burst into tears because they all love Lauren so much and she’s been so special to them all. They were so excited. So, this is gonna be a good day for them,” Turner chimes in.
A good day is an understatement for Wong, who shares with ET that she felt overwhelmed when her home’s transformation was revealed.
“I still feel [that] I’m very, very, very grateful. Like, I don’t think I can express in words how grateful I am, that’s like the only word I can think of — grateful and thankful. I can say that a million times,” she says, recalling the moment of the reveal. “I was shocked — I did not even recognize this space. The vision and the way that they put it all together; I mean, my kitchen is ridiculous! It was such a small kitchen, and I was so grateful, but now I have, like, all the space and all the, like, counter space, and I still have, like, my snacks.”
Speaking of her college friend, Wong shares that she gets emotional thinking about her relationship with Behrs. “Every time I talk about Beth, I get so emotional because I could not ask for a better friend. She became successful but stayed the same and so grounded and so kind and wants to give and never makes like we’re beneath her… It never got to her head, and I’m so thankful that she just stayed her.”
“I will forever be grateful for that woman,” she adds, emotionally.
Check out Behrs’ sweet surprise for Wong when Secret Celebrity Renovation airs on Friday, Aug. 18 at 8 p.m. PT/ET on CBS and Paramount+.