After participating in an IMTA competition (losing to Josh Duhamel) in 1998, Kutcher signed with Next modeling agency in New York, appeared in commercials for Calvin Klein, and models in Paris and Milan.
After his success in modeling, Kutcher moved to Los Angeles after his first audition, was cast as Michael Kelso in the television series That ‘70s Show, from 1998 to 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) (replaced by 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, as a self-obsessed actor. In the 2004 drama film The Butterfly Effect Kutcher, played 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 as the host in his own series, MTV’s Punk’d that involved hidden camera tricks performed on celebrities. He 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. A 2004 interviewer described Kutcher as a “hunky young actor [who] is heading in all different directions at once”, including “the hot L.A. restaurant Dolce”:
“If anything, I’m a trier,” says Kutcher between puffs of filtered Lucky Strikes. “I think, more than anything, it comes from the fact that my father always had several irons in the fire. Also, I don’t want to fail. If something doesn’t work out—if That ‘70s Show got canceled or if I wasn’t going to have a film career—I always wanted to have backup contingency plans. So I just started doing other things; and on a half-hour sitcom, you’re really only working for 30 hours a week. It allows a lot of time for sitting around, which I always kind of filled with work.”
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 appeared in its first four episodes (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 earned $750,000 an episode on the show. The show ended with a forty-minute series finale “Of Course He’s Dead“ on February 19, 2015.
Venture capitalism and investment
Beyond the entertainment world, Kutcher is also a venture capitalist. Kutcher has also successfully invested in several high technology startups. Some of his investments include Skype, Foursquare, Airbnb, Path and Fab.com. He is a co-founder of the venture capital firm A-Grade Investments. On October 29, 2013, Lenovo announced that it has hired Kutcher as product engineer. 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 has invested in an Italian restaurant, Dolce (other owners include Danny Masterson and Wilmer Valderrama) and a Japanese-themed restaurant named Geisha House with locations in Atlanta, Los Angeles and New York City.
Kutcher appeared as a guest Shark during the seventh season of Reality TV show Shark Tank, which premiered on September 25, 2015.
In 2009, Kutcher established an international human rights organization with his then wife Demi Moore. DNA Foundation, later known as Thorn, works to address the sexual exploitation of children and the proliferation of child pornography on a global scale.
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 2013, Kutcher teamed up with Evan Beard and Kendall Dabaghi to launch A Plus (URL aplus.com), where Kutcher is currently Chairman of the Board. Initially a product discovery service, it morphed in April 2014 to a social media-driven content platform focused on upbeat stories. It was officially launched in that incarnation in January 2015. It has reported 27.5 million monthly uniques in the United States, has an Alexa rank of about 3000 (1400 in the US), and is ranked by Quantcast as a top 50 site in the US in terms of unique visitors.
In mid-2003, Kutcher began dating actress Demi Moore. Kutcher and Moore married on September 24, 2005. On November 17, 2011, Moore announced her intention to end the marriage. After over a year of separation, Kutcher filed for divorce from Moore on December 21, 2012, in Los Angeles Superior Court, citing irreconcilable differences. The divorce was finalized on November 27, 2013.
Kutcher began dating his former That ‘70s Show co-star Mila Kunis during the first half of 2012. After they became engaged in February 2014, she gave birth to their daughter Wyatt Isabelle Kutcher in October 2014. Kunis married Kutcher during the first weekend of July 2015, in Oak Glen, California.
Interests and beliefs
Kutcher describes himself as fiscal conservative and social liberal. [George Clooney. Steven Soderbergh. Bill Maher. Bill Burr.] He has been a student of Kabbalah, a form of Jewish mysticism, for several years. 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 trips to Israel, Kutcher visited Kabbalah centers in Tel Aviv and in Tsfat. In 2013, Kutcher remarked that “Israel is near and dear to my heart..... coming to Israel is sort of coming back to the source of creation – trying to get closer to that. And as a creative person, going to the source of creation is really inspiring. And this place has been really inspiring for me – not only on a spiritual level, but also on an artistic and creative level.” 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, Kutcher became the 500th paying customer to sign up to ride Virgin Galactic‘s SpaceShipTwo.
Social media presence
On April 16, 2009, Kutcher became the first user of Twitter to have more than 1,000,000 followers, beating CNN in the site’s “Million followers contest”. However, there have been several reports that Twitter manipulated the contest’s results by preventing users from “unfollowing” Kutcher or CNN.
In November 2011, Kutcher received much criticism for his tweet in response to the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal calling the firing of Penn State Nittany Lions football coach Joe Paterno in “poor taste”. Kutcher subsequently turned over management of his Twitter account to his team at the Katalyst Media company.
On March 8, 2015, Kutcher sparked a national debate regarding the lack of equal access to diaper changing facilities in men’s restrooms with this Facebook post: “There are NEVER diaper changing stations in mens public restrooms.
The first public men’s room that I go into that has one gets a free shout out on my FB page! #BeTheChange”. This post received more than 244,000 ‘Likes’, 11,500 comments, and was reposted more than 14,000 times.
Kutcher has leveraged his social media presence, particularly on Facebook, to post and promote content published by A Plus, a social media-driven content platform and associated company that he is Chairman of.
In April 2011, Kutcher and then-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 may have understood 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 The Village Voice advertisers including American Airlines, Disney, the City of Seattle, and Domino’s Pizza withdraw their advertising from publications owned by the Voice’s parent company.