Celebrity big brothers come with perks and pitfalls, Ashton Kutcher’s twin, Michael Kutcher, revealed.
The That ’70s Show alum, now 43, revealed his brother’s cerebral palsy diagnosis in 2003, but Michael wasn’t thrilled his famous sibling opened up about his neurodivergence in a TV interview.
“I was very angry. Very angry. I remember speaking to him about it,” Michael told Today on Thursday, May 20. “I didn’t want to be the face of CP. I never talked about it.”
Michael said his CP affects his vision, speech, hearing and mobility, but he has a mild case, which makes it possible for people to not even realize he is different. However, Michael has stopped trying to hide his CP, and he has long since forgiven Ashton, whose family calls him by his real name, Christopher.
“Chris did me the biggest favor he’s ever done because he allowed me to be myself,” Michael explained.
It wasn’t long after the reveal that a woman asked Michael to speak about his life at a gala. He met with her and her daughter, who was nonverbal due to her CP. Michael quickly realized that Ashton’s fame could allow him to bring attention to nonprofits that helped people who were suffering.
“I realized I needed to let go of the shame I felt and be a champion for people [with severe disabilities],” he said. “I was finally ready to tell my story and I knew because of my twin, I’d have a big reach.”
Michael now works as a spokesperson for the Cerebral Palsy Foundation and is an advisor for the Joshin app, which helps families find qualified caretakers for people with disabilities. His desire to help others makes his brother, who is five minutes older, very proud.
“My brother’s daily actions remind me that life isn’t about running around challenges — it’s about running through them,” Ashton said in a statement. “Mike has a relentless work ethic and a deep compassion for others.”
In 2017, Michael told Us Weekly about another health struggle: cardiomyopathy. The Iowa native needed a heart transplant at age 13 when his heart quadrupled in size, and he was only expected to live a couple of days without a transplant. Ashton wanted to give his brother his own heart.
“It’s just … I can’t find the words,” Michael told Us at the time. “It’s a connection that you can’t explain. In all seriousness, we’re just very connected. … It’s an honor or deep appreciation and a deep love for someone who would sacrifice that for you. I really can’t put words to it.”
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