Ashton Kutcher’s Twin Michael Opens Up About Cerebral Palsy, Their Childhood, and More
Ashton Kutcher’s twin brother Michael Kutcher is speaking out in a rare interview.
Michael, 43, opens up to “TODAY Parents” about growing up with cerebral palsy and how his now famous brother stood up for him as a kid. He also reveals how angry he was at Ashton when the actor shared Michael’s diagnosis with the world in 2003 without warning.
When the twins were born, Ashton weighed 11 lbs., while Michael weighed only 4. In fact, their parents didn’t realize they were having twins until Michael was born, not breathing and with undeveloped lungs, a few minutes after Ashton.
Michael was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 3 years old after his mom noticed he was having “developmental difficulties.”
Childhood was tough, but Michael said Ashton, known to the family as Chris, was always looking out for him.
“I had all of the stereotypes that come with having a disability. I was called every name in the book on the playground. I had difficulty making friends. But I had Chris there to help me and support me."
When a group of bullies began teasing him and calling him the R-word, Michael says, “My brother picked a fight with them. He stood up for me. He wanted them to treat me with respect. And that meant a lot."
Ashton took it one step further, turning down sleepovers with friends who didn’t include Michael.
“Most of the time they’d say yes, but sometimes they’d say no and Chris would go, ‘Well, then I’m not coming,’” Michael said. “Chris would tell me, ‘I wish I could take all of this off of you — and take it myself.’”
Michael was shocked, however, when his twin decided to talk about his diagnosis on national television in 2003. “I was very angry. Very angry. I remember speaking to him about it. I didn’t want to be the face of CP. I never talked about it,” he said.
That moment ended up changing Michael’s life. He said, “Chris did me the biggest favor he’s ever done because he allowed me to be myself.”
Afterward, a woman asked him to speak about life with cerebral palsy at a gala. He decided to meet her for coffee, and he said, “She had her 5-year-old daughter with her. A sweet little girl named Bella with a smile so bright and big. Her cerebral palsy was quite severe and she couldn’t talk.”
He continued, “I realized I needed to let go of the shame I felt and be a champion for people like Bella. I was finally ready to tell my story and I knew because of my twin, I'd have a big reach."
Now, the married father of three is the spokesperson for the Cerebral Palsy Foundation and is an advisor on the Joshin app, which helps families find care for loved ones with disabilities.
Michael said, “I love who I am. I love the impact I’ve been able to make, the people I’ve been able to touch. And I wouldn’t have been able to do that If I didn’t have these obstacles, or as I like to call them — an opportunity.”
Ashton praised his brother in a statement to “TODAY Parents,” saying, “My brother’s daily actions remind me that life isn’t about running around challenges — it’s about running through them. Mike has a relentless work ethic and a deep compassion for others.”