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The Transformation Of Mila Kunis From That '70s Show To Now

By the time Mila Kunis won her breakout role on "That '70s Show" as Jackie Burkhart, she'd already traded one life for another. Born in Ukraine, she immigrated with her family to Los Angeles when she was seven. Thrown into a new culture, she struggled to adjust and sharpened her language skills watching "The Price is Right." Soon, her parents got her into acting classes as a way to channel her energy and make new friends. From there, she wound up launching a career with an appearance in a Barbie commercial. She liked acting, so she kept it up, and at 14, she had her chance to audition for Fox's "That '70s Show."

It took some chutzpah; Kunis had to skirt the truth when asked about her age. But even though she wasn't technically old enough for the part, as we all know, she got it. Over the next eight years, she grew up before our eyes, taking Jackie from Michael Kelso's tagalong girlfriend to full-fledged member of the friend group.

When "That '70s Show" ended in 2006, Jackie Burkhart's transformation was complete. But as an actress, Kunis was far from finished. Here's what she's been up to since.

Kunis contemplated leaving Hollywood

Mila Kunis was convinced that she wouldn't be able to jump from TV to film after playing Jackie Burkhart on "That '70s Show," believing that she would be typecast. Resolving to leave the industry after her contract was up, she briefly attended college while making the hit series. Appearing on "The Jess Cagle Podcast with Julia Cunningham" (per Yahoo!), Kunis admitted, "I was very keen on getting a college degree. Not for any reason other than I thought I should or had to, because my whole family is college-educated. So, I was like, well, clearly, that's what one does."

Kunis attended UCLA before transferring to Loyola Marymount, although she doesn't recall attending any classes after transferring. The actress didn't know what she wanted to study and only took classes that interested her. She ultimately wanted to continue acting, so she discussed it with her parents and they suggested she drop out. 

"My attempt at college failed miserably and I dropped out and decided that this is what I wanted to do for a living," Kunis told Collider. Still, Kunis resolved to not "make my job who I am. I just want to be happy with my life," as she told Women's Health in 2009. With this approach, Kunis began building a solid career acting in a string of comedies.

Mila Kunis was unforgettable in Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Soon after "That '70s Show" wrapped, Mila Kunis had a shot at a role in the Judd Apatow movie "Knocked Up." While she didn't get the part, she must have had a memorable audition because she was invited back, this time to try out for Apatow's 2008 film "Forgetting Sarah Marshall." She was cast as Rachel Jansen, playing Peter Bretter's (Jason Segel) new girlfriend (the one who comes after Sarah). It was her breakout film role and put her on set with a cast of comedy all-stars, including Segel, Russell Brand, Paul Rudd, and Jonah Hill.

The role was fun and racy, and Kunis embraced it all — though she didn't have to do any nude scenes, despite how she appears onscreen. (The topless photo of Rachel that Peter finds in the bathroom wasn't really Kunis; the picture was a computerized creation.) For Kunis, the biggest challenge while filming was trying not to laugh at her castmates when they joked around. "I like to laugh and apparently I find everything funny," she told MovieWeb. Her way of handling it: "I'm just gonna go with my character laughs at it."

She learned to dance for Black Swan

For her next major film, Mila Kunis played a ballerina in 2010's "Black Swan," also starring Natalie Portman, Winona Ryder, and Vincent Cassel. Kunis had never danced ballet before and was surprised to land the role, but she went the extra mile to prepare. That meant intense training as a ballerina and losing 20 pounds to gain a super-skinny physique.

"You can only fake so much physicality, so you have to immerse yourself in this world, in the way that somebody walks, talks and handles themselves. So, it was three months of training, seven days a week, four or five hours a day, before production started, and then during production it was pretty much exactly the same," she told Collider.

While making the movie, Kunis tore a ligament, dislocated her shoulder, and injured her back. But her efforts made the difference. Kunis was nominated for Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards for Best Supporting Actress. And though she didn't wind up taking them home, she didn't mind that, either. "I love what I do but I don't need to win," she told Entertainment Tonight. "Like, I just need to work."

Kunis dated Macaulay Culkin for eight years

Mila Kunis and "Home Alone" star Macaulay Culkin dated between 2002 and 2011. Although Kunis never dished on intimate details, she credited the relationship with helping her not fall prey to the pitfalls of young Hollywood. "I don't know if I met him at 27 if it would have been a different relationship. We grew up together," Kunis told Women's Health. "You find a steady rock in your life and that's all you need. We have our ups and downs, but work through them."

After the couple split up, Kunis admitted on Howard Stern's show that Culkin's fans made it difficult to walk down the street together. They "just screamed when they saw him," Kunis said, adding, "They didn't know how to react. It wasn't like a normal response to a celebrity. Fans responded in a very abnormal way to him." This strange behavior may have motivated the couple to stay home, play video games, and eat dinner privately during their relationship.

Although their split was characterized as amicable, Kunis later admitted she was to blame for their breakup. On the "Dax Shepard's Armchair Expert" podcast, Kunis said, "I was an a****** in my 20s, and I'll be the first to admit it." Although neither Kunis nor Culkin ever elaborated on why they broke up, both have moved on with their lives. Kunis has been married to Ashton Kutcher since 2015, while Culkin and Brenda Song have two children together and are engaged.

Kunis experienced the collaborative process making Friends with Benefits

Although she wasn't interested in the film at first, Kunis got roped into making the romantic comedy "Friends with Benefits" with Justin Timberlake. "The original script was so, to me, dated and not what I wanted to do," Kunis told Vanity Fair. But after agreeing to make the film, Kunis got to work on the script with Will Gluck and Timberlake: "We would meet and hang, and Will would do the rewrites with us."

Kunis explained how she and Timberlake would improvise a scene and Gluck would base his rewrites on their improvisation. "It was the first time that I felt, in my career ever, to be part of a collaborative process of doing a rewrite," Kunis told Vanity Fair. It's clear that Kunis enjoyed being involved in this phase of the movie-making process.

Still, Kunis admitted that Timberlake's fame posed a challenge while filming on location. "Working with Justin was fine until you were on the streets of New York. It was all fine and dandy on a stage," Kunis told Vanity Fair. "He was young and excited about acting and super present and great. And then you went into the public with him and it was like The Beatles." His level of fame overwhelmed Kunis, but this experience may have prepared her for developments that would soon transpire in her personal life.

She became romantically involved with TV boyfriend Ashton Kutcher

Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher both ended long-term relationships in 2011, and the former co-stars reconnected in January 2012 at the Golden Globes. On the podcast "WTF With Marc Maron," Kunis admitted she noticed him first. "I was literally like, 'Oh, he's kinda hot' ... and then he turned around, and I was like, 'Oh my god, it's Kutch,'" Kunis 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."

Although they agreed to date casually, Kunis realized a few months down the road that she had developed feelings for Kutcher after learning he was seeing someone else. "I felt like I got punched in the gut," Kunis told Maron. She resolved to end their flirtation if Kutcher didn't feel the same, going straight to Kutcher's house to confess her feelings.

The next morning, Kutcher was at her front door, and asked her to move in with him. Although Kunis feared he wasn't ready for such a big step after ending his marriage to Demi Moore, Kutcher made it clear he wasn't willing to risk losing Kunis. They moved in together in April 2012 and became engaged in February 2014. Not long after, Kunis told Ellen DeGeneres that they were expecting their first child.

Mila Kunis co-founded a production company

In 2014 Mila Kunis, Susan Curtis, Cami Curtis, and Lisa Sterbakov launched Orchard Farm Productions and signed a first-look deal with ABC Studios. Two years later, Kunis wrote an impassioned essay explaining how sexism in Hollywood emboldened her to take control of her career and start a production company. "Throughout my career, there have been moments when I have been insulted, sidelined, paid less, creatively ignored, and otherwise diminished based on my gender," Kunis wrote in her op-ed, explaining how these experiences led to her co-founding a production company.

These micro-aggressions didn't cease just because Kunis took the reins of her career in hand by becoming a producer, but being one gave her the freedom to choose who she works with. After another producer made a thoughtless and sexist comment via email that "reduced my value to nothing more than my relationship to a successful man and my ability to bear children," Kunis and her production company pulled out of the project.

In her essay, Kunis resolved to call out these comments when they happened, hoping to use them as teaching moments, but acknowledged that she was in a privileged position to do so. "If this is happening to me, it is happening more aggressively to women everywhere," Kunis wrote. "I am fortunate that I have reached a place that I can stop compromising and stand my ground, without fearing how I will put food on my table."

She became a mom, both onscreen and off

By the time "Bad Moms" came out in 2016, Mila Kunis was already a real-life mother — with one young child and another on the way — with her husband and former "That '70s Show" costar, Ashton Kutcher. In the film, she plays a frazzled mom who's over-involved in the lives of her two school-age children. With a combination of help and pushback from castmates including Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Christina Applegate, and Jada Pinkett Smith, she learns to let loose. It was a lesson Kunis felt applied to her life offscreen, too.

"The reason I did the first ['Bad Moms' movie] is because I related to the ideals that I put on myself. I tried to be so perfect," she told "The Today Show." "I literally drove myself crazy with my first kid. [The movie] made me feel like, OK, you're not a failure."

Kunis' next few films after "Bad Moms" — including "A Bad Moms Christmas" and "The Spy Who Dumped Me" – were also comedies. But her work after those saw her transform again, as she would next play a character drawn into a mystery out of her past and a woman attempting to overcome a debilitating addiction to heroin.

Mila Kunis starred in Four Good Days

In the early years of her post-"That '70s Show" career, Kunis worked almost exclusively in comedies. Despite her comedic timing, great sense of humor, and talent for the genre, Kunis felt limited by the genre. Kunis fought to be considered for more serious roles like her critically acclaimed turn in "Black Swan." "I just auditioned for everybody," Kunis told ABC News. "All my 20s was about proving people wrong, so to speak, about putting me in little boxes."

In "Four Good Days," Kunis plays Molly, a heroin addict who must stay sober for four additional days after completing a three-day in-patient detox, to qualify for an opioid-blocker injection that might change the course of her cycle of addiction and save her life. The film gave Kunis an opportunity to showcase her range as an actress while co-starring with the incomparable Glenn Close, who plays Molly's mother.

At the 2020 Sundance Film Festival (via AOL), Kunis acknowledged that she used to naïvely believe addiction was a choice, and that she made the film because her perspective on addiction had shifted. "You learn and you grow and you see life evolve around you, you realize that's not the case," Kunis said. "I thought that this [film] was a beautiful depiction of that. I wanted to deep dive into it because I also wanted to understand what makes an addict an addict."

Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher raised millions in aid for Ukraine

Both Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher have been involved in philanthropic causes in the past. But after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, the couple started the GoFundMe campaign Stand With Ukraine to raise funds for humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, partnering with Flexport and Airbnb to distribute supplies and fund short-term housing for displaced refugees.

"This was one of the first times I've ever spoken out about being philanthropic because in this case there was no other way of getting this accomplished," Kunis told People. Kunis shared how after Russia invaded Ukraine, she received calls from people asking how they could help. "There were problems we knew we could help solve," she explained. "So Ashton and I said, 'Okay, let's do this.' Within 24 hours, we had GoFundMe on board."

Kunis and Kutcher committed to matching three million dollars to get the donations rolling. Kunis's efforts to help Ukrainian refugees landed her on People's 2022 People of the Year list, and Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2022. To date, the campaign has raised over $37 million. Kunis didn't do it for the accolades, but started the fund because she saw a need and wanted to help. "I've never been more proud to be from Ukraine," Kunis told People, adding, "I'm so honored my kids can carry on that heritage."

Mila Kunis starred in and produced The Luckiest Girl Alive

In 2022, Mila Kunis starred in and produced the film adaptation of Jessica Knoll's novel "The Luckiest Girl Alive." Kunis plays Ani Fanelli, a New York journalist who survived a school shooting as a teenager, only to be being ostracized by her community in the tragedy's wake. When Ani agrees to be interviewed for a new documentary about the shooting, she revisits the night she was sexually assaulted at a high school party. Knoll's life inspired this event in the novel and film.

Revisiting these traumas destabilizes Ani's picture-perfect life and makes Ani a voice for sexual assault survivors. Knoll's real-life experiences after revealing her sexual assault in an essay for Lenny Letter actually led to a different ending for the film. "It's very meta that it's a fictional story, a fictional character, but there are even more elements that are inspired by my real life," Knoll told Entertainment Weekly.

According to Knoll, Kunis embraced being a creative producer and was instrumental to crafting the new ending for the Netflix film. "I know the ending is polarizing, which is what I think makes this movie so interesting," Kunis told Entertainment Weekly. "A lot of people didn't like it, but I fought so hard for it to stay in. I'm really glad that we won this fight because it's so powerful."

Kunis and Kutcher appeared in That '90s Show

Mila Kunis told Parade in 2007 that playing her "That '70s Show" character again wasn't on her radar. "It's hard to even think about it, it feels like we just we finished it. Maybe one day, in the distant future, but I can't even imagine it happening anytime soon." In 2023, however, Kunis and Ashton Kutcher reprised their roles of Jackie and Michael from "That '70s Show," returning to Point Place, Wisconsin, for a brief cameo in the sequel series, "That '90s Show."

Kunis felt it was important to support the spin-off of the series that launched their careers. Kutcher told Esquire that Kunis insisted they reprise their roles. "[She] goes, 'You know, we owe our entire careers to this show,'" he recalled. "'It doesn't matter what the script is, we're doing it.'" Although Kunis was committed to supporting the new series, she admitted that acting with her husband made her nervous.

Kunis was also outspoken about where her character's life went, saying that Jackie wouldn't have ended up with Michael Kelso, and that their son was too old for the timeline. "My husband and I are together in [the new show], which is weird 'cause we shouldn't have been," Kunis told Access Hollywood. "You know what, I called B.S. I was like, 'My character would be with Fez.' I think that I ended up with Wilmer [Valderrama]'s character."

Kunis has done voice work throughout her acting career

While making "That '70s Show," Mila Kunis auditioned to voice Meg Griffin on "Family Guy" after the original voice actor, Lacey Chabert, dropped out of the series. Over 20 years later, Kunis has done voice work in 395 episodes of "Family Guy." Her longstanding relationship with the animated series has led to other voice roles.

Kunis has lent her vocal chords to characters on "Wonder Park," "Hell and Back," and "Robot Chicken." Seth Green, one of the co-creators of "Robot Chicken," is actually one of Kunis' best friends. "To see 'Robot Chicken' come together, you have to understand, that I've known about this show since I was 16," Kunis told Collider. "It's gone through so many forms and at one point Seth Green had it on the internet and at one point it was this and that and I've just seen it completely grow into something so amazing and I could not be more proud of him."

Kunis is an executive producer and voice actor on "Stoner Cats," an adult animated series with an all-star cast about sentient house cats living with a woman who combats Alzheimer's symptoms with medicinal cannabis. The web series recently made the news when the SEC filed charges against its creators for illegal sales of $8 million in unregistered NFTs. The production company agreed to stop selling the NFTs and pay a $1 million civil fine, although it neither admitted nor denied any wrongdoing in the matter.

Kunis and Kutcher faced public backlash after writing character letters for Danny Masterson

Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher wrote character letters in support of Danny Masterson to the judge presiding over Masterson's sentencing hearing for his two rape convictions. These letters were made public, presumably because Masterson, Kutcher, and Kunis are famous. Some have criticized the way Kutcher and Kunis characterized Masterson as a role model and brother figure as tone-deaf and hurtful to his victims.

After these letters elicited a major backlash, Kunis and Kutcher released an apology on Kutcher's Instagram account, explaining how Masterson's family asked them to write the letters. Legal Action Center deputy director Colleen McCormack-Maitland told Vox that character letters are not a rebuttal against a conviction. "The point of these letters is to help the sentencing judge understand who the person is, beyond what they might have read in an indictment or heard in testimony at trial," she explained.

Because of public ire about the perceived insincerity of the couple's apology, Kutcher resigned as the board chair of Thorn, an anti-child-sex-abuse organization he co-founded in 2009. "I cannot allow my error in judgment to distract from our efforts and the children we serve," Kutcher wrote in a letter released to Time magazine. Kunis also resigned from her position as an observer on the board in response to public outrage over their letters and subsequent apology.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, impacted by incidents of mass violence, or needs help with addiction issues, contact the relevant resources below:

Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Call or text Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 for support.

Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).