Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher have a love story that spans decades.
The couple first met in 1998 on the set of That ’70s Show, and though they were a fan-favorite pair on screen, it took some time for them to finally get together in real life. Almost 25 years later, they returned to where it all began in Netflix’s spin-off, That ’90s Show, as their original characters, Jackie Burkhart and Michael Kelso.
Now the duo are happily married with two kids while continuing to expand their successful acting careers. Here’s how Kunis and Kutcher met, parted, and eventually ended up together again.
1998: Kunis and Kutcher meet on the set of That ’70s Show.
Their characters dating on-again and off-again throughout the series, but they had a lot of chemistry. Kunis admitted to People in 2001 that she thought Kutcher was pretty cute and freaked out a little when she read about their kiss in the script.
“I was like, ‘Oh, he’s so cute, it’s the Calvin Klein model!’” she explained. “Then I was like, ‘I have to kiss him?’ I was so nervous and uncomfortable. I had the biggest crush on him.”
Kutcher was also pretty anxious, and said he had no idea Kunis was worried.
“I was so nervous. She acted so cool. She seemed as if she’d done it a thousand times,” he said. “I was the one with the butterflies in my stomach. I mean, here’s this little girl and I have to kiss her. It was nerve-racking.”
The last episode aired in 2006, but Kutcher had already gone another direction…
2005: Kutcher marries actress Demi Moore.
Much was made over Kutcher’s relationship with Demi Moore, who he met in 2003. Moore had been married to Bruce Willis, with whom he shared three daughters. Then 25-year-old Kutcher married the 40-year-old actress and moved in with her, helping to co-parent her teens with Willis as well. They seemed to have a largely functional relationship, until allegations of cheating came between them.
In 2011, after six years of marriage, they decided to get divorced. Kutcher tweeted about it at the time, writing, “Marriage is one of the most difficult things in the world and unfortunately sometimes they fail.”
In her statement on the divorce, Moore wrote, “It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I have decided to end my six-year marriage to Ashton. As a woman, a mother and a wife, there are certain values and vows that I hold sacred, and it is in this spirit that I have chosen to move forward with my life.”
Kunis has spoken respectfully of Kutcher’s previous marriage.
“They had, like, a normal, real relationship,” she said on an episode of the WTF With Marc Maron podcast. “They had three kids they were raising. It was, like, a normal life.”
January 2012: Ashton and Mila reunite at an awards show.
Meanwhile, Kunis had recently been broken up with someone as well: actor Macaulay Culkin. She and Kutcher bumped into one another at the 2012 Golden Globe Awards. Kunis noticed him first.
“I was looking around, and there was a really beautiful man from the back. I was literally like, ‘Oh, he’s kinda hot’…and then he turned around, and I was like, “Oh my god, it’s Kutch,’” she told Maron. “I thought it was the weirdest thing that I was checking this guy out, and it was someone that I had known forever.”
Things began casually at first.
“We were like, ‘Let’s just hook up. Let’s have fun. We’re both single. We both trust each other. Everything’s great.’ None of us wanted tension. OK, great. We hooked up for three months,” she said.
About a week later, Kutcher invited Kunis to his housewarming party at his home in the Hollywood Hills. While on The Howard Stern Show, Kutcher divulged the circumstances of their first real kiss.
“I think I was smoking cigarettes at the time, and I was still a smoker. And she had quit smoking and she was like, she wanted me to like shotgun cigarette smoke so she could breathe it in and I was like, ‘All right,’” he said. “And gradually through the night, it got closer and closer and closer … It was kind of obvious that things were happening.”
Kunis had another take on that evening saying on The Late Late Show, “I found out later in life that my husband was trying to set me up on a blind date with one of his friends that nigh. So he was like ‘come over’ and he had a friend he wanted to set me up with and that didn’t happen.”
After a few months together, Kunis found out that Kutcher was dating someone else at the same time, and realized her feelings had evolved.
“I felt like I got punched in the gut, literally overnight,” she said. “He said something, and I was like … ‘Oh, my God. I love this man, and I have to walk away because this is not the agreement that we had. And so I’m going to speak up.’”
He didn’t want to let her go either.
April 2012: Things get more serious.
Kunis says that she decided to come clean about her feelings and walk away if he couldn’t reciprocate.
“I was like, you know what, I actually care about you. I don’t want to mess anything up so I’m just going to walk away before it becomes too much,” she said.
He asked her to move in and it was the beginning of their official relationship.
February 2014: Kunis and Kutcher get engaged.
Almost two years later, Kutcher proposed to Kunis with a diamond ring from Tiffany’s valued at $260,000, though she apparently now keeps it in a vault and wears a $90 ring from Etsy on a daily basis. Kutcher was surprisingly traditional and asked Kunis’ dad for his blessing before popping the question.
“The best day of my life so far was the proposal,” Kunis said. “I cried. I was a mess. Not to discredit any relationships in my past, but this relationship is different.”
She told ELLE Australia,“My engagement ring is in a safety deposit box. I’m like, ‘I can’t wear this because someone’s going to chop my hand off for it.’”
While on the Conan O’Brien show, she explained, “I decided our wedding bands were going to be wonderful and beautiful and simple, and so we got them made on Etsy. I wanted the thinnest possible platinum band. I was like, ‘They’re how much? What, this is astronomical!’ So, I went on Etsy and I was like, ‘$90? Buy now!’ Ashton’s was $100, so technically his wedding band was a little bit more expensive.”
October 2014: The couples welcomes their first child.
Just after their engagement, Kunis announced she was pregnant on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and they welcomed their baby girl, Wyatt Isabelle Kutcher, on October 1, 2014.
“Mila and I would like to welcome Wyatt Isabelle Kutcher to the world. May your life be willed with wonder, love, laughter, health, happiness, curiosity, and privacy,” Kutcher wrote on his website, sharing photos of many newborns and asking fans to guess which one is Wyatt. The couple is notoriously private about their kids, so no one will ever know.
July 2015: They finally tie the knot.
Kunis and Kutcher were officially married over July 4th weekend in 2015, tying the knot in a private ceremony at the Secret Garden at Parrish Ranch in Oak Glen, California, according to People. Few details were released, keeping on theme with the privacy rules.
“It was a ninja effort,” Kutcher said of the event. “We really didn’t want helicopters at our wedding and it’s a legitimate concern.”
A source at the event said Kunis “wore a white dress with her hair all up,” and that their 9-month-old daughter “also wore a white dress” to match. The insider also said that the grounds were turned into “Camp Kuku,” a play on their last names, and there were loads of outdoor activities and tents to make an adult campground.
2016: They welcome their second child.
On November 30, 2016, the couple welcomed their second child together, a baby boy named Dimitri Portwood Kutcher, a name Kutcher says his wife chose while on an episode of The Ellen DeGenres Show. And Dimitri was immediately adored by his big sister.
“Wyatt thinks the baby is her baby, and at some point I’m going to have to explain to her it’s not really her baby. I don’t know how I’m going to do that. She loves the baby so much,” he said. “It’s like Of Mice and Men. She’s like, ‘I love you and hold you and squeeze you and name you George.’ I’m afraid she’s like Lenny, like, ‘You’re going to squeeze the baby’s head off, honey!’”
Kutcher said of Dimitri, “He loves everyone. Anyone comes near him and he’s like, ‘Hi!’ But when Wyatt comes near him…he’s like Kung Fu Panda when she comes near. He’s afraid she’s going to kill him. I went through a phase where I had to keep Wyatt alive, and then I went through a phase where I had to keep her from killing herself, and now I’m going through a phase where I have to keep her from killing the other baby.”
“She loves this baby—maybe more than me,” he added more seriously, “It’s, like, borderline.”
December 2017: Kunis and Kutcher go red-carpet official.
After many years and two children together, the pair made their first appearance on the red carpet together as a couple at the Breakthrough Prize Awards at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California.
February 2021: Kunis and Kutcher act together once again.
The couple and rapper Shaggy starred in a Super Bowl commercial in 2021, for Cheetos, returning to the screen together for the first time in years.
Kunis joked to Entertainment Tonight that they wanted to take a break from parenting during quarantine.
“It was quarantine and we were stuck with our children for nine or 12 months at this moment,” Kunis said. “And I was like, ‘Two days, baby! Two days off!’ Literally we were like, ‘Yeah, okay, let’s do it.’ And so we did it. And I hate saying it but we were like, ‘Freedom!’”
2022: The pair gets ready for the That ’70s Show spin-off, That ’90s Show.
That ’90s Show takes place in 1995, and the couple is signed up for one episode (so far). The main character is Leia Forman, the daughter of the original show’s main characters Eric Forman (Topher Grace) and Donna Pinciotti (Laura Prepon). She heads to her grandparents’ home for the summer and shenanigans ensue.
“It was really nostalgic to be back on the set,” Kutcher told Variety. “It’s all the same folks that made That ’70s Show, so it was pretty bizarre.”
They weren’t sure they were going to go back, but it ended up feeling right.
“Mila and I were contemplating it,” Kutcher said. “We thought, ‘Listen, we’re only in the position that we’re in because of that show, so let’s just go back and do this. We just went back and had fun for a week. It was so random and fun.”
January 2023: Kutcher returns to film.
In January, ahead of the release of Aline Brosh McKenna’s Netflix rom-com Your Place or Mine, Kutcher was interviewed about his return to film as a leading man by Esquire. In the expansive story, Kutcher discussed how he gave up money so the film production could happen in Los Angeles instead of Georgia, because want to be close to his family.
“I have young kids, and I like my kids a lot,” he explained. “I like spending time with them.”
Georgia offers tax breaks to Hollywood productions, so Kutcher made a deal with Netflix to take the extra production costs of shooting in Los Angeles from his salary.
“He loves his family so deeply and really is such an incredible dad who shows up every day for his kids,” Witherspoon said of her co-star. “There is no pretense. He is just very comfortable in his own skin. And did I mention he is hysterically funny?”
But in the interview, Kutcher said these compliments were not always applicable. When they first met up again, his wife told him that he had been “an asshole.”
“Was I…?” Kutcher asked her at the time.
“Yeah, you were an asshole for a good two years,” she responded.
Apparently, this was the motivation he needed to improve, because he respects his wife’s opinion.
“The thing about Mila that made our relationship accelerate was that I had always admired her,” Kutcher told Esquire. “Her talents, her skills, her gifts. But I knew that she didn’t need me. And she knew that I didn’t need her.”
He added, “We already knew all of each other’s dirt….My wife is so much cooler than me.”
The other small glimpse he gave into their family life was around holiday celebrations, explaining that he was raised Catholic, but Kunis is Jewish.
“So we do Shabbat,” Kutcher said. “And we do Hannukah…but then we also do Christmas…And then we do Passover, but we also do Easter.”
“We have to celebrate,” he concluded.
February 2023: Kunis makes fun of Kutcher’s rom-com press photos.
As Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher promoted their Netflix rom-com Your Place or Mine, fans noted the awkward distance between the two leads on the red carpet, joking that it signaled a lack of chemistry between the leads of a supposedly romantic film. Apparently, Kunis noticed as well, and tried to warn them that they needed to get over their awkwardness immediately.
Kutcher appeared on the Chicks in the Office podcast, saying he didn’t want to start affair rumors with affectionate photos, but he overcorrected.
“My wife called me,” he said. “She texted Reese and I together and she’s like, ‘Guys, you gotta act like you like each other.’ And I’m like, ‘What is going on?’”
He continued, “Here’s the thing, if I put my arm around her [Reese] and was all friendly with her, I’d be having an affair with her… Like, the rumor would be that I’m having an affair with her. If I stand next to her, I put my hands in my pockets so there’s no chance that like that could be the rumor, the rumor is we don’t like each other. Reese and I are really good friends. We’re really close! I don’t have to defend that.”
Witherspoon confirmed the story more or less during an appearance on Today With Hoda & Jenna.
“I’m better friends with Mila because I’ve known her for a very long time,” Witherspoon said. She got to know Kutcher better on set, and says there was never any issue with the romance stuff there.
“He’s so professional,” she said. “He’s the funniest guy. I mean, such a goofball. We had so much fun, and every time he’d wear a funny outfit, I’d text Mila. I’d be like, ‘What is he wearing?’”
And then she got the text back about the press photos.
“She even emailed us last night. She goes, ‘You guys look so awkward on the red carpet together. Why are you just not—’ It’s just fun. When you know a girlfriend so much, it was just fun to get to know her significant other because I’ve loved her for so long,” Witherspoon concluded.
Aimée Lutkin is the weekend editor at ELLE.com. Her writing has appeared in Jezebel, Glamour, Marie Claire and more. Her first book, The Lonely Hunter, will be released by Dial Press in February 2022.