From Iowa to Hollywood: The Life and Career of Ashton Kutcher

Christopher Ashton Kutcher was born on Feb. 7, 1978, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to Diane and Larry Kutcher, who were both blue-collar workers. He has a fraternal twin named Michael who has cerebral palsy and had to have a heart transplant as a child. Michael’s illnesses weighed heavily on young Ashton. Luckily, a heart was found to give to Michael, and Ashton rose out of his depression to become a successful actor.

The family was settled for many years in Cedar Rapids until Ashton’s freshman year in high school, when they relocated to Homestead, Iowa.  xn--688-3mlaec3a0eo5e1b8mvd  It was there at Clear Creek Amana High School that he began acting in school plays, which whet his appetite for acting. Even as he discovered acting, Ashton was arrested for burglary while still in high school. He was acting out as a result of his parent’s divorce and got caught, though he luckily didn’t have to serve any jail time. He instead had to do community service and was put on probation, but the eventual cost was much higher than that. He had anticipated getting a scholarship to go to college, but that was no longer a possibility after his conviction.

Instead of going to school on a scholarship, Ashton instead had to enroll locally at Iowa State University, where his initial interest in modeling took root. The handsome teen was picked to go to New York City as a part of a modeling competition. He lost the competition to fellow actor Josh Duhamel, but he did manage to sign a contract with an agency. As a result, he appeared in several magazine ads and walked the runways in Paris and Milan. After arriving back in Iowa after a few modeling gigs, he used the money he got modeling and moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting as a career.

It may have been beginner’s luck, talent, or a little of both, but Ashton’s first audition upon arriving in Los Angeles got him the part of Michael Kelso on “That ’70s Show.” Most actors have to toil for years as extras or in tiny supporting roles before getting a lead role on a network comedy, but Ashton didn’t have to wait. He would go on to play Kelso from 1998 to 2006 for a total of 184 episodes. During the summer hiatus from the show, he earned parts in several high-profile movies, including “Just Married” in 2003 with his then-girlfriend Brittany Murphy, and “The Butterfly Effect” in 2004. Even with these big movies under his belt, it was the role of Kelso that helped to make him a household name and an icon for teens everywhere.

When “That ’70s Show” ended, Kutcher took on leading roles in films like “What Happens in Vegas” opposite Cameron Diaz and “No Strings Attached” with Natalie Portman. It was during this time that he also became a tabloid magnet because he had just married his much older girlfriend, actress Demi Moore. The seemingly happy couple met in 2003 and married two years later, which set gossip bloggers into a tizzy. They became mainstays on Twitter, often sending messages to each other via their individual accounts while also raising awareness for various causes and charities. The couple endured hard times though, and they filed for divorce after six years of marriage.

Ashton didn’t let his personal troubles derail his acting career, and in May 2011, he signed on to replace fellow tabloid mainstay Charlie Sheen as the lead in the CBS comedy smash “Two and a Half Men.” Instead of taking over for Sheen’s character, he played a completely different character named Walden who moves into the same beach house with the other one and a half men. He also got the highly-coveted lead in “Jobs,” the biopic about Apple Computers cofounder Steve Jobs. It was his first stab at drama in quite some time, and the result was a positive critical reaction.

With his high-profile turn in “Jobs,” ( watch trailer ) Ashton’s career is red hot as he takes on his third season of “Two and a Half Men” and mulls summer hiatus offers. His love life is also red hot, as he has rebounded from his still-pending divorce with his former “That ’70s Show” co-star Mila Kunis. Nobody is quite sure what his next project will be, but whatever it is, it’s sure to be a big deal.

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