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Are Joe Minoso And Yuriy Sardarov From Chicago Fire Friends In Real Life?

The NBC series "Chicago Fire" isn't just about pulse-pounding firefighting action. Over the course of its 10 seasons, the show has found plenty of time to develop its characters and their relationships with one another. Take one of the most endearing on-screen friendships of the series: Joe Cruz (Joe Minoso) and Brian "Otis" Zvonecek (Yuriy Sardarov), aka Crotis. Cruz had a tough time growing up and he hails from a particularly rough section of the city. This street smart firefighter was the driver for Truck 81 but later was transferred to Squad 3, which focuses on heavy rescue operations. Otis, meanwhile, is a podcast host in his spare time and developed a close friendship with Cruz while they worked together on Truck 81.

Their friendship came to a tragic conclusion during the Season 8 premiere when Otis succumbs to injuries sustained while responding to a fire at a mattress factory. Otis' death is a brutal occurrence on "Chicago Fire," and his passing has a huge impact on Cruz, who later names his child after his fallen friend and comrade. Since these two characters are incredibly close on the hit television show, fans may wonder if Minoso and Sardarov are also friends in real life.

Joe Minoso and Yuriy Sardarov are very close in real life

In a 2021 interview with Parade to celebrate the show's 200th episode, the actors of "Chicago Fire" were asked to share what moment from the series stuck with them the most. For Joe Minoso, the selection was personal. He responded, "Losing Otis ... That one was difficult, not only as an actor to make yourself go to that space, but also personally." Minoso went on to describe Yuriy Sardarov as "one of my very best friends," and shared a behind-the-scenes look at their friendship. 

"Our very first day of training for this show was together," Minoso explained, "and we were the only two because we were the last two cast. So, everybody had actually already gone through all of the training, and me and Yuri [sic] came in together as the last two on the show. So eight years later to have to let go of a man that stood up at my wedding because he means that much to me, was really, really difficult."

Not only do these words prove that they are indeed friends in real life, but several posts shared by Minoso on Instagram really hammer this point home. One photo shows the two and Kara Killmer engaged in some old-timey shenanigans, while another picture has the two in matching jerseys and headed out to watch the NHL Winter Classic. In one of the most touching posts, Minoso shared an image of Sardarov in character with the caption: "My brother!!! What can I say... it's impossible to be #crotis without you! But I promise you all #crotis will be alive forever." 

It seems then that not only did Cruz and Otis share a potent on-screen friendship, but it's one that also extends into reality.