Ashton Kutcher's Twin Brother Michael Recalls Anger Over Actor Sharing His Cerebral Palsy Battle

Ashton Kutcher once revealed in a TV interview that his twin Michael has cerebral palsy. His brother was initially far from happy about the attention. But then something changed.

By Corinne Heller May 21, 2021 4:07 PMTags
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They're alright now, but there was a stretch in 2003 when Michael Kutcher was none too pleased with his twin brother Ashton Kutcher Ashton Kutcher.

That year, the actor, then a cast member on That 70's Show, revealed in a TV interview that his brother has cerebral palsy. Michael had never spoken publicly about his disorder before.

"I was very angry. Very angry. I remember speaking to him about it," Michael, 43, told NBC's Today show on Thursday, May 20. "I didn't want to be the face of CP. I never talked about it."

Months later, a woman in the family's native Iowa asked him to speak at a gala about his life with cerebral palsy. He told Today he met up with her and her 5-year-old daughter, who suffers from a severe form of the disorder, saying, "I was finally ready to tell my story and I knew because of my twin, I'd have a big reach."

Michael himself was just 3 when he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy after battling developmental delays, he told Today. And Ashton spent their childhood supporting and defending when kids teased him about it. Michael recalled an instance where bullies called him the R word.

"My brother picked a fight with them. He stood up for me. He wanted them to treat me with respect," Michael said. "And that meant a lot."

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Celebrities With a Twin Sibling

By 2010, Michael was openly sharing his experience with the condition that affects between one and four out of every 1,000 children. "I have limited mobility in my right arm and my right hand," he explained to The Hill. "I have a very mild case of cerebral palsy. I wear glasses; I wear a hearing aid; I have slurred speech. To the naked eye, many people don't know that I even have cerebral palsy because it's so mild."

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Among the people he's affected with his candor as a public speaker: His beloved sibling. "My brother's daily actions remind me that life isn't about running around challenges—it's about running through them," Ashton told Today in a statement. "Mike has a relentless work ethic and a deep compassion for others."

A married father of three, Michael works as a spokesperson for the Cerebral Palsy Foundation and an advisor at Joshin, an app that helps families find care for a person with disabilities. And he is a longtime advocate for disability and organ donation, a topic literally close to his heart, having undergone a transplant after suffering heart failure at age 13.

"Chris did me the biggest favor he's ever done" Michael told Today, using Ashton's birth name, "because he allowed me to be myself."

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