Ashton Kutcher

He first burst onto our screens as the loveable Kelso in retro sitcom That 70s Show, winning over fans with his humour, good looks and refusal to take himself too seriously. “I am only young once,” he used to say. “Who cares if I’m a goofball”.

He has since appeared in a variety of box office hits, but Ashton Kutcher is best known for marrying actress Demi Moore, who is 15 years his senior, and replacing Charlie Sheen as the star of hit sitcom Two and a Half Men.

Christopher Ashton Kutcher – now professionally known by middle name Ashton – was born minutes ahead of his fraternal twin brother Michael to factory workers Larry and Diane Kutcher in Iowa.

In his teens, he was dealt two painful blows – his parents divorced and his brother had emergency heart transplant surgery following a virus.

"If I could give him my heart so that he could live, I would have," he later told People magazine.

Through the tough times, during which Ashton got into trouble with the police for shoplifting, he continued to pursue his interest in acting, appearing in several school productions.

Academia took over, however, and his thespian passion was put on the backburner as he studied biochemical engineering at the University of Iowa.

To finance his education, Ashton held a number of odd jobs, including sweeping up cereal dust at a General Mills factory.

But, in a turn of events that changed his life forever, he was approached by a talent scout in 1997. This came as a surprise to the handsome young man: “I didn't even know guys modelled before that. And I really didn't fit the bill.”

He went on to win the 'Fresh Faces of Iowa' modelling contest. This took him to New York City where he landed high-profile modelling gigs for Calvin Klein and Abercrombie & Fitch.

Now that he had a platform, acting was back in his sights and Ashton set about making a name for himself in the fiercely competitive industry.

He worked hard to make it big, famously saying: “I don’t believe that old cliché that good things come to those who wait. I think good things come to those who want something so bad they can’t sit still”.

This mantra paid off for the ambitious young man, and in 1998 he landed his breakthrough role alongside Mila Kunis on That 70s Show, which aired for eight seasons. 

A variety of successful movies followed including What Happens In Vegas with Cameron Diaz, The Guardian with Kevin Costner, A Lot Like Love, Valentine’s Day and the cult hit Dude, Where’s My Car.

In 2006, he turned his hand to producing and presenting with Punk’d. The MTV show played practical jokes on celebrities and filmed them using hidden cameras before Ashton popped out for the big reveal.

His profile was raised even further by marriage to Hollywood goddess Demi, who has three children with ex-husband Bruce Willis. 

Before his union with the G.I. Jane star, there were brief romances with Brittany Murphy – with whom he starred in Just Married – and Mad Men's January Jones.

But this appeared to be the real deal and the couple married in 2005, in a Kabbalah ceremony which was attended by celebrity friends including Demi’s ex-husband Bruce Willis.

He once addressed their much talked-about age gap, saying: “I really believe in the Freudian idea that every man wants a woman who's like his mother”.

In 2011, the marriage was rocked by speculation of infidelity, and the duo announced their divorce, to the sadness of fans.

Ashton is a dedicated follower of the Kabbalah religion. He is also famously keen on the social media site Twitter. He was the first Twitter user to reach one million followers, which he celebrated by donating $100,000 to a malaria charity.

And his charitable efforts certainly did not stop there. In 2008, he spent a week building homes for the disadvantaged in Central America.

With his estranged wife, he created The Demi and Ashton Foundation in 2010 to help eliminate child sex slavery worldwide by changing cultural stereotypes.

He was named one of Time Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential People in 2010.
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