Stephen A. Smith Molly Qerim First Take Screen grab: ESPN First Take

One of the key components of First Take‘s success is that Stephen A. Smith and Molly Qerim have incredible chemistry.

So much so that some have suggested that the two co-hosts are actually a couple.

On Wednesday’s episode, Smith and Qerim both happened to be wearing all-white outfits, which prompted Chris “Mad Dog” Russo to joke that they had just gotten married. This provided an opportunity for the First Take co-hosts to finally dispel the notion that they are dating.

“Who said ‘I do’ first between the two of you,” a smiling Russo joked.

“Who said ‘I don’t?'” Qerim responded sarcastically.

After Smith and Qerim exchanged compliments regarding their respective outfits, Smith addressed the rumors head on.

“No. There’s nothing going on. You understand?” he said. “America’s been lying about that for years.”

“You know what’s the funniest part? Is people actually believe it,” Qerim added.

“Oh they sure do,” Russo replied. “I get asked all the time, ‘How’s the famous couple doing?'”

Only rather than taking offense to the rumors, Smith explained why he views them as a compliment for himself, Qerim and their program.

“Here’s the upside to all of that: they know my taste. So therefore they know that it’s a compliment to her,” the former Philadelphia Inquirer columnist said. “And obviously she has great taste as well, so I guess that’s America’s way of saying we both really really look good. That’s why you can do that. Because they lie all the time, they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. But it does mean that First Take not only is the No. 1 show because of our content, but we look the part.”

The baseless rumors regarding Smith and Qerim have dated back to the latter’s divorce from Jalen Rose in late-2021, with some even falsely suggesting that it was the cause of the split. And while there wasn’t ever any evidence to support such rumors — beyond their on-air chemistry — we now officially have it on record from both of them that they are not, in fact, a couple.

[Awful Announcing on X]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.