"Michael & Jackie forever," a loyal commenter wrote just last week when Kutcher took to Instagram to pronounce himself "the luckiest man alive" thanks to his enduring partnership with his wife of now eight years, the pair having brought their own brand of fireworks to a July 4, 2015, vow swap.
And the couple never forgot their humble sitcom roots (they were happy to return as Mr. and Mrs. Kelso for That '90s Show earlier this year), though they've made it clear that the set of their Fox sitcom was not where the magic happened. Not even when Kunis shared her first-ever kiss 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 once explained to Howard Stern. "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 Kunis and Kutcher that wasn't meant to be, because these two seem so perfectly suited for each other. And it would take such a match to be able to pull off what these two have managed over the past decade. (And we don't mean their controversial personal hygiene habits.)
Namely, despite the mass interest in their lives, the very photogenic pair mastered the art of hiding in plain sight early on.
Once they were together, that is.
"I never looked at him as somebody that was good-looking, I never looked at him as somebody that wasn't," recalled Kunis, who was 14 when she was cast as Jackie in 1998. It wasn't until years later that she saw Kutcher—or more accurately, the back of some tall guy—at an awards 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."
Reader, she went home with him. But while they would both prove to be down for the count, they started out taking a cue from their respective movies and trying the whole No Strings Attached/Friends With Benefits game themselves.
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 relatable of them to start out that way.
Morever, 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 following the end of his six-year marriage to Demi Moore, so they were kinda rebounding with each other as well.
What their respective experiences led to, however, was a mutual desire to not make a big deal about their own relationship—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."
All these years later, that hasn't changed, even when outside forces conspire against him.
Back in September 2019, Kutcher seemingly subtweeted a response to the various headlines Moore's new memoir had been making, none of them painting the Punk'd visionary turned venture capitalist and movie star in a particularly flatting light.
"I was about to push the button on a really snarky tweet," he wrote. "Then I saw my son, daughter, and wife and I deleted it. [heart emoji]"
Then they went to Disneyland.
Because while privacy is paramount when it comes to their family, which includes daughter Wyatt Isabelle, 8, and son Dimitri Portwood, 6, they aren't exactly recluses. Rather, they've struck a nice balance between fan-favorite Hollywood couple and neighborhood locals, not least because they're interesting people who haven't detached from the world around them, despite all the success.
The couple have historically shared political leanings, and joined forces last year to raise more than $30 million for Kunis' native Ukraine after Russia invaded in February 2022. "We're gonna do everything we can," Kutcher said in a thank-you video, "to ensure that the outpouring of love that came from you all as a part of this campaign finds the maximum impact with those in need."
Of course, then they went to the Oscars. But they also do extraordinarily normal things, the expectation that they're going to be where you are—on a hike, doing yoga, watching (or making out at) a Dodgers game, eating eggs in the Valley—just a way of life in L.A. And though they both clean up impressively, they keep it very casual in their day to day life.
Kunis 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, though she's never without her wedding band, a $90 Etsy find.
Kunis, a Golden Globe nominee for Black Swan in 2011, took a break from work after Wyatt was born and then got back into it with the 2016 comedy Bad Moms. (And all the while she's enjoyed the nice-work-if-you-can-get-it spoils of voicing Meg on Family Guy for almost 25 years.)
While 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 was 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 in 2016. "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."
In 2017, making her first red carpet appearance in months to tease Bad Moms Christmas at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, she got real about wild nights out as a mother of two.
"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," Kunis shared with E! News. "Hammered. Three drinks, I am now a very cheap date."
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, her and Kutcher's approach to raising kids is firmly grounded in values they picked up long before they were famous.
"We both came from pretty solid poverty backgrounds and grew up very poo," a 7-months-pregnant Kunis said on Australia's Kyle and Jackie O Show in August 2016. "Nothing's been handed to us. 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 added, she and Kutcher were going to do their best to "raise a child not to be an a--hole."
The couple didn't hire a nanny until Kunis went back to work—so she would be up for late-night feedings and Kutcher 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. And when Kunis shot The Spy Who Dumped Me with Kate McKinnon in 2017, the whole family went to Hungary for the summer, she and Kutcher having decided that, whenever possible, they want the kids along for the ride.
Despite Kutcher's multi-platform social media presence, and a willingness to share a few more shots with Kunis than when they first started out, the pragmatic duo have kept Wyatt and Dimitri off of Instagram. When Wyatt was first born, her dad memorably posted photos of different babies and told fans they could guess which one was his.
The couple have also benefited from the decline in outlets that will publish paparazzi photos of celebrities' kids, a de facto agreement spearheaded years ago by Kunis' eventual Bad Moms co-star Kristen Bell allowing them to move about somewhat more comfortably while taking their kids on errands, to birthday parties, school and other places that everyone needs to take their kids to.
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 Kunis 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 Kutcher 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," she 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.
(Originally published March 29, 2017, at 3 a.m. PT)