Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Albany Daily News. Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Lexi Schwartz
That '70s Show, Just Married, Punk'd
Currently Known For:
Actor, Producer, and Entrepreneur
1990s - Present
February 7, 1978
That '70s Show, Just Married, Punk'd
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“Vulnerability is the essence of romance. It’s the art of being uncalculated, the willingness to look foolish, the courage to say, ‘This is me, and I’m interested in you enough to show you my flaws with the hope that you may embrace me for all that I am, but more importantly, all that I am not.’” Ashton Kutcher is living proof of what it means to be humble and compassionate amid the glamour of international fame. He got his start as an actor in the late 1990s when he rose to stardom as Michael Kelso on the hit Fox sitcom That ‘70s Show (1998-2006). He made his film debut in Coming Soon (1999) and never looked back with credits in Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000), Just Married (2003), and My Boss’s Daughter (2003).
Also known for creating the television series Punk’d, Kutcher portrayed Steve Jobs in Jobs (2013) and then returned to television in 2016 as Colt Bennett opposite Sam Elliott in the Netflix series, The Ranch. Beyond that, he’s well-known as an entrepreneur and venture capitalist in addition to his high-profile marriage to actress Demi Moore from 2005 to 2013. Now living his happily ever after with his former That ‘70s Show costar Mila Kunis, let’s see what the 41-year-old Kutcher is up to as an actor, producer, entrepreneur, husband, and father!
1970s to Stardom
Christopher Ashton Kutcher was born on February 7, 1978, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa where his parents both worked in local factories. He was raised in a conservative Catholic home with his older sister and fraternal twin brother, Michael, who underwent a heart transplant after suffering cardiomyopathy. “I didn’t want to come home and find more bad news,” Kutcher said of his life at home and his brother’s constant struggle with heart issues and cerebral palsy. “I kept myself so busy that I didn’t allow myself to feel.”
This desire not to feel led Kutcher to the stage in high school where he discovered his passion for acting. He appeared in several school productions and enjoyed a brief period of happiness before his parents divorced when he was 16. Kutcher rebelled and broke into the high school at night to steal money with his cousin. He was arrested and sentenced to three years’ probation and 180 hours of community service, both of which forced him to get his life together since he lost his girlfriend and college scholarships in addition to becoming an outcast in his hometown.
Following graduation, Kutcher enrolled at the University of Iowa in 1996. Although his intentions to study biochemical engineering to cure his brother’s heart ailment were noteworthy, Kutcher partied hard. He paid for tuition by working at the General Mills plant during the summers until his life changed when a model scout visited the college and recruited Kutcher to enter the “Fresh Faces of Iowa” competition. Kutcher won the competition and a trip to New York City to the International Modeling and Talent Association. After the trip, he dropped out of college and moved to New York where he signed on with Next modeling agency, appeared in commercials for Calvin Klein, and modeled throughout Paris and Milan.
“My parents couldn’t give me a whole lot of financial support, but they gave me good genes,” Kutcher later joked. “My dad is a handsome son-of-a-gun, and my mom is beautiful. And I’ve definitely been the lucky recipient. So, thank you, Mom and Dad.” Kutcher’s success as a model inspired his next move to Los Angeles after he won the part of Michael Kelso on a new television series called That ‘70s Show in 1998. The show was an instant success and made Kutcher a household name as he ventured into film with credits in Coming Soon (1999) and Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000), the latter of which was a box office hit.
Kutcher refused to slow down and, throughout his eight-season run on That ‘70s Show from 1998 to 2006, continued pursuing new opportunities. He starred in films like Just Married (2003) and Cheaper By the Dozen (2003) in addition to producing and starring in his new MTV series, Punk’d. He stepped behind the scenes to executive produce series like Beauty and the Geek, Adventures in Hollyhood, The Real Wedding Crashers, and Opportunity Knocks in addition to proving his talents as a dramatic actor in The Butterfly Effect (2004).
“If anything, I’m a trier. I think, more than anything, it comes from the fact that my father always had several irons in the fire,” Kutcher said. “Also, I don’t want to fail. If something doesn’t work out—if That ’70s Show got canceled or if I wasn’t going to have a film career—I always wanted to have backup contingency plans. So, I just started doing other things; and on a half-hour sitcom, you’re really only working for 30 hours a week. It allows a lot of time for sitting around, which I always kind of filled with work.”
Filling every minute of free time with work, Kutcher wrapped up That ‘70s Show and replaced Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men in 2011. He stuck around until the series wrapped in 2015 but, even then, had another project lined up when he joined Danny Masterson and Sam Elliott on a ranch in Colorado in the Netflix series, The Ranch, which he’s still on today.
Life Beyond Acting
Beyond his career as an actor, Kutcher invested in over 60 companies since the late 1990s. Some of his biggest investments include Fab.com, Optimizely, Path, Skype, and Foursquare in addition to his influence as a product engineer for Lenovo and as Creative Director of Ooma. He’s also the co-founder of A-Grade Investments, a venture capital firm, and recently invested in restaurants Dolce and Geisha House.
Outside of his entrepreneurial spirit and talents as an actor, Kutcher is also known for his high-profile relationships. Kutcher fell in love with actress Demi Moore in 2004. They married in 2005 and divorced in 2012 just as Kutcher rekindled his friendship with his former That ’70s Show costar Mila Kunis. Although he never had romantic feelings for her on the show, things quickly changed. “It was pretty mutual,” he said. “It was kind of obvious that things were happening.”
They announced their engagement in February 2014 and welcomed their daughter in October 2014. They married in July 2015 and have since added to their family with the birth of their son in November 2016.