Actor, model, producer. Born Christopher Ashton Kutcher on February 7, 1978, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. After starting out as a model, Ashton Kutcher has become a popular actor and a successful producer. He was born minutes ahead of his fraternal twin brother Michael to factory workers Larry and Diane Kutcher. At the age of thirteen, Kutcher was dealt two painful blows. His parents divorced and his brother had to undergo emergency heart transplant surgery after his own heart was badly damaged by a virus. “If I could give him my heart so that he could live, I would have,” Kutcher later told People magazine.
Kutcher, his brother, and their older sister Tausha stayed with their mother after the split. When their mother remarried, they moved to Homestead, a small farm community. In his new hometown, he continued to pursue his interest in acting, appearing in school productions. After his high school days drew to a close, Kutcher’s rebellious side emerged. He was arrested for breaking into his school in his senior year and spent a lot of his time partying.
After graduating in 1996, Kutcher went to the University of Iowa to study biochemical engineering. He joined a fraternity and continued his partying ways for the first few months before hitting the books. In addition to his studies, Kutcher held a number of odd jobs to pay for school, including sweeping up cereal dust at a General Mills factory.
Before being approached a talent scout, Kutcher knew nothing of the world of male modeling. But that soon changed once he entered and won the Fresh Faces of Iowa modeling contest in 1997. This took him to New York City where he signed with a modeling agency. Some of his most famous gigs as a model were for designer Calvin Klein and for the Abercrombie & Fitch catalog. During the Abercrombie & Fitch shoot, Kutcher met future girlfriend, January Jones, a model and actress.
In the spring of 1998, Kutcher landed his breakthrough role on the popular retro sitcom, That ’70s Show. The comedy followed the life of Eric Foreman (Topher Grace) and his teenage friends as they grew up in the small town of Point Place, Wisconsin. Appearing as the adorable, but dense Michael Kelso, Kutcher won over fans his broad humor and good looks. Mila Kunis played his on-again, off-again girlfriend Jackie, and Danny Masterson, Laura Prepon, and Wilmer Valderrama rounded out the rest of the cast as Steve Hyde, Donna Pinciotti, and Fez respectively. The young actors on the show developed a strong bond and were often seen out together in Los Angeles.
In addition to his work on the series, Kutcher started landing film roles. He had small parts in the private school comedy, Coming Soon (1999), the romantic comedy, Down to You (2000), with Freddie Prinze Jr. and Julia Stiles, and the crime drama, Reindeer Games (2000), with Ben Affleck. For his first leading role, Kutcher did not vary much from his television image. He played a wacky stoner who, along with his friend Sean William Scott, tries to retrace the previous night’s events in Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000). While it was derided by critics, the comedy was a box office hit. Kutcher developed quite a fan base and was named one of People magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People in the World that year.
His next film, Texas Rangers (2001), however, failed to make much of an impression on audiences or critics. Bouncing back, he appeared in two romantic comedies, My Boss’s Daughter (2003) and Just Married (2003). After filming Just Married, Kutcher became involved with his co-star Brittany Murphy, but the relationship lasted only a few months. After that, he was romantically linked to actress Demi Moore, which caused quite a stir because of their 15-year age difference.
Also in 2003, Kutcher launched his career as a producer. He served as a co-producer on the film My Boss’s Daughter and helped create the hit reality television show, Punk’d, for the MTV cable network. Preying on unsuspecting stars, Punk’d played practical jokes on the likes of Justin Timberlake, Hilary Duff, and Tyra Banks during its eight seasons on the air. Two years later, Kutcher brought another reality show to television, Beauty and the Geek. The show brings together smart, but socially challenged guys with beautiful, but less intelligent women. The women and men are work together in teams to win the grand prize. To freshen up the formula in season four, the show added one pair that featured an attractive guy with a brainy girl.
Tackling more dramatic fare, Kutcher starred in The Butterfly Effect (2004), on which he also served as an executive producer. The science fiction film revolved around a young man who can travel back into his own past to change the course of events. The film did well at the box office, bringing in around $60 million.
Kutcher said good-bye to That ’70s Show in 2005, leaving to pursue other opportunities. Returning to the romantic comedy genre, Kutcher starred in Guess Who (2005) with Zoe Saldana and comedian Bernie Mac and A Lot Like Love (2005) with Amanda Peet.
On September 24, 2005, Kutcher wed Demi Moore in a small ceremony at their Beverly Hills home. Moore’s three daughters from her previous marriage to actor Bruce Willis served as her bridesmaids and walked her down the aisle. While Kutcher was dating Moore, he became very close with her children so much so that they refer to him as “MOD,” or “My Other Dad.” Even more remarkable Kutcher has developed a friendship with Moore’s ex-husband Willis who was on hand for the nuptials.
Trying his hand at action, Kutcher appeared in The Guardian (2006) with Kevin Costner. The film was about the U.S. Coast Guard and he played a rescue swimmer. To play the part, Kutcher underwent intensive physical training, which was quite challenging for him. “I used to be a pack-and-a-half-a-day smoker, so I had no endurance,” he told Cosmopolitan magazine. That same year, Kutcher took on something less physically taxing. He lent his voice to the animated film Open Season (2006).
In 2008, he starred in What Happens in Vegas with Cameron Diaz, and the drama Personal Effects with Michelle Pfeiffer. On the producing side, Kutcher was involved with the sitcom Miss Guided, which was picked up by ABC. It was canceled after one season.
In addition to acting and producing, Kutcher has a range of business interests. He is an investor in two Los Angeles restaurants, Geisha House and Dolce. For Ooma, a telephone device company, Kutcher serves its creative director. He even returned to modeling in 2008 as part of the advertising campaign for Pepe Jeans London.