Christopher Ashton Kutcher (born February 7, 1978), best known as Ashton Kutcher, is an American actor, producer, former fashion model, and comedian, known for his portrayal of Michael Kelso in the Fox sitcom That '70s Show. He also created, produced and hosted Punk'd, and played lead roles in the Hollywood films Dude, Where's My Car?, Just Married, The Butterfly Effect, The Guardian, and What Happens in Vegas. He is also the producer and co-creator of the supernatural TV show Room 401 and the reality TV show Beauty and the Geek. Kutcher currently co-stars in the hit CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men as the character Walden Schmidt.
Kutcher was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He is the son of Diane (née Finnegan), a Procter & Gamble employee, and Larry M. Kutcher, a factory worker. His father is of Bohemian (Czech) descent and his mother is of Irish, German, and Bohemian ancestry. Kutcher was raised in a conservative Roman Catholic family, with an older sister, Tausha, and a fraternal twin, Michael, who had a heart transplant when the brothers were young children. Kutcher's twin brother also has cerebral palsy and is a spokesperson for the advocacy organization Reaching for the Stars.
Kutcher's brother's cardiomyopathy caused his home life to become increasingly stressful. He has stated that "I didn't want to come home and find more bad news about my brother" and "kept myself so busy that I didn't allow myself to feel". Kutcher stated that during adolescence, he contemplated committing suicide. At thirteen, he attempted to jump from a Cedar Rapids hospital balcony, with his father intervening in the incident. Kutcher attended Washington High School in Cedar Rapids for his freshman year, before his family moved to Homestead, Iowa, where he attended Clear Creek Amana High School. During high school, he developed a passion for acting and appeared in school plays. However, Kutcher's home life worsened as his parents divorced when he was sixteen. During his senior year, he broke into his high school at midnight with his cousin in an attempt to steal money; he was arrested leaving the scene. Kutcher was convicted of third-degree burglary and sentenced to three years' probation and 180 hours of community service. Kutcher stated that although the experience "straightened him out", he lost his girlfriend and anticipated college scholarships, and he was ostracized at school and in his community.
Kutcher enrolled at the University of Iowa in August 1996, where his planned major was biochemical engineering, motivated by the desire to find a cure for his brother's heart ailment. At college, Kutcher was kicked out of his apartment for being too "noisy" and "wild". Kutcher stated, "I thought I knew everything but I didn't have a clue. I was partying, and I woke up many mornings not knowing what I had done the night before. I played way too hard. I am amazed I am not dead." To earn money for his tuition, Kutcher worked as a college summer hire in the cereal department for the General Mills plant in Cedar Rapids, and sometimes donated blood for money. During his time at UI he was approached by a scout at a bar called "The Airliner" in Iowa City and was recruited to enter the "Fresh Faces of Iowa" modeling competition. After placing first, he dropped out of college and won a trip to New York City to the International Modeling and Talent Association (IMTA) Convention. Following his stay in New York City, Kutcher returned to Cedar Rapids before relocating to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting.
After participating as a modeling contestant in an IMTA competition (losing to Josh Duhamel) in 1998, Kutcher signed with the Next modeling agency in New York, appeared in ads for Calvin Klein, and modeled in Paris and Milan.
Television and film career
After some success in modeling, Kutcher moved to Los Angeles and, after his first audition, was cast as Michael Kelso in the television series That '70s Show, which debuted in 1998 and ended in 2006. Kutcher was cast in a series of film roles; although he auditioned but was not cast for the role of Danny Walker in Pearl Harbor (2001) (the role went to Josh Hartnett), he starred in several comedy films, including Dude, Where's My Car? (2000), Just Married (2003), and Guess Who (2005). He appeared in the 2003 family film, Cheaper By The Dozen, playing a self-obsessed actor. His 2004 film The Butterfly Effect was a dramatic role for Kutcher, playing a conflicted young man who time travels; the film received mixed to negative reviews, but was a box office success.
In 2003, Kutcher produced and starred in his own series, MTV's Punk'd, as the host. The series involved hidden camera tricks performed on celebrities. Kutcher is also an executive producer of the reality television shows Beauty and the Geek, Adventures in Hollyhood (based around the rap group Three 6 Mafia), The Real Wedding Crashers, and the game show Opportunity Knocks. Many of his production credits, including Punk'd, come through Katalyst Films, a production company he runs with partner Jason Goldberg. In 2006, People magazine ranked him third in its annual list of "The Sexiest Men Alive".
Because of scheduling conflicts with the filming of The Guardian, Kutcher was forced not to renew his contract for the eighth and final season of That 70s Show, although he did appear in the first four episodes of it (credited as a special guest star) and returned for the series finale.
Kutcher produced and starred in the 2010 action comedy, Killers, in which he played a hitman.
In May 2011, Kutcher was announced as Charlie Sheen's replacement on the series Two and a Half Men. Kutcher's contract was for one year and was believed to be worth nearly $20 million. His debut as the character Walden Schmidt, entitled "Nice to Meet You, Walden Schmidt", was seen by 28.7 million people on September 19, 2011. The Nielsen ratings company reported that figure was more than any episode in the show's first eight seasons, when Sheen starred in it.
Kutcher was part of the management team for Ooma, a tech start-up launched in September 2007. Ooma is in the Voice over Internet Protocol business and Kutcher's role was as Creative Director. He spearheaded a marketing campaign and produced viral videos to promote this service. Kutcher also created an interactive arm of Katalyst called Katalyst Media, with his partner from Katalyst Films, Jason Goldberg. Their first site was the animated cartoon Blah Girls. Ooma revamped its sales and marketing strategy with a new management team in the summer of 2008, replacing Kutcher as their creative director. Rich Buchanan, from Sling Media, became Ooma's Chief Marketing Officer.
Kutcher appears in advertisements for Nikon cameras.
On March 23, 2011, Kutcher launched his own Twitter client with UberMedia, called A.plus. While the app was initially available exclusively for desktop computers with Adobe Air installed, it eventually became available on mobile platforms, for iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry. In order to download on one of the 3 mobile platforms, users must first have the UberSocial client installed on their device, and then proceed to the device's browser to download A.plus.
In July 2011, Brazilian fashion label Colcci hired Kutcher and Alessandra Ambrosio to feature in a denim advertisement.
In 2003, Kutcher began dating actress Demi Moore. Moore and Kutcher married on September 24, 2005, in a private ceremony conducted by a Rabbi of the Kabbalah Center; the wedding was attended by about 150 close friends and family of the couple, including Bruce Willis, Moore's ex-husband. In October 2010, Kutcher and Moore met with co-director of the Kabbalah Center Rabbi Yehuda Berg in Israel. On November 17, 2011, Moore released a statement announcing her intention to divorce Kutcher. The announcement followed weeks of media speculation about the state of the couple's marriage.
Kutcher has invested in an Italian restaurant, Dolce (other owners include Danny Masterson and Wilmer Valderrama) and a Japanese-themed restaurant named Geisha House located in Atlanta, Los Angeles and New York.
Kutcher is a self-described fiscal conservative and social liberal. He is a student of Kabbalah; his No Strings Attached co-star, Natalie Portman, stated in 2011 that Kutcher "has taught me more about Judaism than I think I have ever learned from anyone else".
On September 17, 2008, Kutcher was named the assistant coach for the freshman football team at Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles. However, he was unable to return in 2009 because he was filming Spread.
In February 2011, Kutcher sold his Hollywood Hills home, which he originally bought in 2004.
In April 2012, Ashton Kutcher became the 500th paying customer to sign up to ride Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo.
On April 16, 2009, Kutcher became the first user of Twitter to have more than 1,000,000 followers, beating CNN in the "Million followers contest". Kutcher announced via Twitter that he would be donating $100,000 to a charity to fight malaria. However, there have been several reports that Twitter manipulated the contest's results by preventing users from "unfollowing" Kutcher or CNN.
In April 2011, Kutcher and wife Demi Moore began a public service announcement campaign claiming that "Real Men" do not engage the services of child prostitutes who are the victims of human trafficking. Kutcher's claims that 100,000 to 300,000 American children were sold into sexual slavery were criticized by newspaper the Village Voice, which gave evidence refuting the claims. Kutcher represented a study referring to minors 'at risk' for sexual exploitation as referring to children actually being prostituted. Experts estimate the true numbers to be in the hundreds, not the hundreds of thousands. Kutcher reacted to the criticism by accusing the Village Voice of promoting child prostitution and using Twitter to request that Village Voice advertisers including American Airlines, Disney, the City of Seattle, and Domino's Pizza withdraw their advertising from publications owned by the parent company of the Village Voice.