When Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcherfirst went public as a real-life couple, the Twitterverse rejoiced.
Apparently Jackie and Kelso's roller-coaster teen love affair on That '70s Show was more meaningful to people than anyone could have anticipated—including Mila and Ashton.
The actors have never forgotten their humble sitcom roots, but they've made it clear that the set of their Fox sitcom was not where the magic happened. Not even when Mila shared her first kiss ever in a scene with her onscreen boyfriend.
"I think we had to both go through a lot in our lives to be the become the people that we were [when we finally got together]," Kunis explained to Howard Stern last year. "We would never be together based on the people that we used to be."
Then aren't we glad we didn't have to fret over a version of Mila and Ashton that wasn't meant to be, because these two seem so perfectly suited for each other now. And it would take such a match to be able to pull off what these two have managed over the last five years.
That is, be major Hollywood players without being at all Hollywood themselves.
Such is a major feat on so many levels, not least of which being the fact that they're both so outrageously good-looking.
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"I never looked at him as somebody that was good-looking, I never looked at him as somebody that wasn't," Kunis recalled thinking during the '70s Show days. It wasn't until years later that she saw him—or more accurately, the back of some tall guy—at an award show and was blown away.
"And then he just turns around and it was literally like if we were in a movie, the music would start playing," the actress said. "I think that he, for the first time ever, took my breath away."
She went home with him (that's about as normal-girl a reaction as one might have, right?), but while they would both prove to be down for the count in the end, they started out taking a cue from their respective movies and trying the whole No Strings Attached/Friends With Benefits game themselves.
Sure, the fact that they fell in love and were really meant to be is a bit more of a Hollywood ending than most people who embark on that noble experiment eventually get. But how admirably average of them to start out that way.
So they beat the odds there. Moreover, Kunis was only about a year removed from her eight-year relationship with Macaulay Culkin, whom she'd been dating since she was 19, and Kutcher was still mired in divorce proceedings when they first reunited—never a recipe for rebound success.
What their respective experiences led to, however, was a mutual desire to not make a big deal about their own relationship—not in public, that is—and that has continued to be a shared goal.
"You know, I've learned the hard way how valuable privacy is," Kutcher said in the April 2013 issue of Elle. "And I've learned that there are a lot of things in your life that really benefit from being private. And relationships are one of them. And I am going to do everything in my power to have this relationship be private."
But while privacy is paramount when it comes to their marriage (they wed very quietly) and two children—Wyatt Isabelle, 2 1/2, and son Dimitri Portwood, 4 months—Mila and Ashton haven't become recluses, either.
Rather, they hide in plain sight.
They do extraordinarily normal things, and with the expectation that they're going to be where you are—on a hike, doing yoga, watching a Dodgers game, eating eggs in the Valley—has come the acceptance of them as part of the La La Land scenery. And though they both clean up impressively, they keep it very casual in their day to day life. Mila has even said that she keeps her Tiffany diamond engagement ring in a safety deposit box, in case someone's inclined to "chop my hand off" to steal it.
So they've struck just the right balance between beloved Hollywood couple and regulars at the neighborhood café, probably because they're actually nice, interesting-seeming people who haven't detached from the world around them, despite all the success.
Ashton—who has also proved a savvy investor who's been tweeting since before it was, literally, all the rage—memorably opened the Screen Actors Guild Awards this year with some off-the-cuff political commentary that set Twitter ablaze. Mila took a comfortable break to focus on family after Wyatt was born and then got right back into it with Bad Moms—which was enough of a hit to get a sequel, Bad Moms Christmas.
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In fact, Kunis made her first red carpet appearance in months to tease the film at CinemaCon in Las Vegas yesterday...and she was as friendly and relatable as always.
"My girlfriends and I went out to dinner a month ago and I got home at 10:30 from a dinner, and I had three penicillins, which is a delicious, delicious beverage," Mila shared with E! News, recounting her current version of a wild girls' night out. "Hammered. Three drinks, I am now a very cheap date."
Since the subject came up a lot while she was promoting Bad Moms, Kunis got used to answering questions about her own approach to parenting—and she never shied away from the truth about how darn hard it is to nail the work-kids-husband juggling act.
"This is the only movie I've done between baby one and baby two, so I've changed my work schedule a little," she said on Today last summer. "I think that when I got pregnant with Wyatt, I put so much pressure on myself to figure out how am I going to balance work and life, and I realized it's impossible. I think it literally ate me alive.
"When you do a film, you work average 15 to 17-hour days, that's my baby's entire day that I'm missing—from before wake-up to after bedtime. You've got to pick a project that's worth it."
But while how much time to devote to the still-pretty-glamorous business of movie-making is not a conundrum that most moms and dads face, Mila and Ashton's approach to parenting is fairly recognizable.
"We both came from pretty solid poverty backgrounds and grew up very poor. Nothing's been handed to us," a 7-months-pregnant Kunis said on Australia's Kyle and Jackie O Show last August.
"On one hand it's beautiful, [our kids will] never know what it's like to have ketchup soup for dinner, but they'll never know how to appreciate things."
That being said, she and Kutcher were going to do their best to "raise a child not to be an a--hole." (A recent share on Kutcher's Facebook page pondering the question of whether families should put more money toward family vacations than toys suggests the effort continues in their household to this day.)
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The couple didn't hire a nanny until Kunis went back to work—so Mila would be up for late-night feedings and Ashton was on diaper duty. The Dude Where's My Car star also became "a master swaddler," Kunis informed Ellen DeGeneres in 2015. "He can swaddle anyone's baby. If your baby needs to be swaddled, he will do it. Call him. He is a pro."
They brought Wyatt along on dinner dates, even the ones at trendy vegan small-plates restaurants, buckling in the car seat and folding up the stroller just like any family. They've also packed up all the kid paraphernalia for longer excursions too, with Mila revealing last year that Wyatt already had a few stamps in her passport.
Despite Kutcher's multi-platform social media presence, they've kept the kids off of Instagram. When Wyatt was first born, Ashton memorably posted a handful of baby photos once and told fans they could guess which one was his. The couple have also benefited from the unofficial embargo on paparazzi pics taken of celebrities' kids that many outlets (including this one) agreed to, the new system going into effect before Wyatt was born.
While the shutterbugs will never fly away entirely, Mila and Ashton have been able to motor around somewhat more comfortably in order to take their kids on errands, to birthday parties and other places that everyone needs to take their kids to sometimes.
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Neither Kutcher nor Kunis is much one for showing off themselves off either, with Kutcher using his social media more for current event commentary and Mila simply going without.
"What I do and who I am are two different things and, to me, it was always really important to keep those things separate," Kunis explained her nonexistent social media footprint to Australia's Daily Telegraph. "I don't want people thinking they know me to the point where they feel comfortable coming in my house without being invited. For security reasons, it just wasn't worth it. I'd rather have my privacy over anything."
She also highlighted another reason why she and Ashton are one of those couples that look like they'd be fun to have a beer with—an early beer, so everyone can be back home in time to tuck the kids in.
"Clearly I'm the funny one, let's be honest," Mila teased. "I will say he makes me laugh every day. Sixty years from now, when we're in our rocking chairs and I'm wearing a muumuu, I hope he's still around and I'm still giggling, because the greatest gift you can give is making each other laugh."
Sounds like a couple who won't think they're too cool for the early bird special at the corner café.