Even major Hollywood stars have been known to get grand romantic gestures hopelessly wrong. In 2019, for instance, Ashton Kutcher thought that he’d found the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for his fellow A-lister wife, Mila Kunis. Yet it turned out that the actor’s surprise wasn’t quite as well received as he may have first hoped. Here’s a look at the lovebirds and their slightly underwhelming February 14.
It’s perhaps fair to say, too, that Kutcher and Kunis’ relationship was something of a slow-burner. The couple first met way back in the late 1990s, after all, when they both landed roles in sitcom That ’70s Show. Kutcher was about to leave his teenage years behind at the time, while Kunis had only just entered hers.
Despite the five-year age gap, however, Kutcher and Kunis became friends. In fact, as Kutcher told Howard Stern in 2017, he even used to help Kunis with her science homework. And in the first season of That ’70s Show, the stars had to smooch on screen when their characters got together. This was not only Kunis’ first peck with her future husband, though; it was also her first kiss ever.
Speaking to People magazine in 2001, Kunis shared her memories about the aforementioned lip-locking. She said of Kutcher, “I was like, ‘Oh, he’s so cute. It’s the Calvin Klein model!’ Then I was like, ‘I have to kiss him?’ I was so nervous and uncomfortable. I had the biggest crush on him.”
But despite Kutcher and Kunis playing love interests on screen, there was nothing to suggest that they would eventually become a thing in real life. Kutcher, for one, saw a string of Hollywood actresses during his time working on the show, including Dark Angel’s Ashley Scott and future Mad Men star January Jones. He also dated Brittany Murphy, who was his co-star in 2003 rom-com Just Married.
Meanwhile, in 2002 Kunis entered into a relationship with former child star Macaulay Culkin. And despite the fact that years had passed since Culkin had last appeared in the Home Alone franchise, his light was apparently still shining brightly when he and Kunis got together. The actress told Howard Stern in 2016, for instance, “You couldn’t walk down the street with him.”
Then, after making the most of his A-list status, Kutcher eventually settled down in 2003 with one of the leading actresses of the 1990s: Demi Moore. Kutcher was 25 at the time, while the Ghost star was 41. And two years later, the pair walked down the aisle together in an intimate ceremony at which Moore’s former husband, Bruce Willis, was in attendance.
However, in 2010 tabloids began claiming that Kutcher had strayed from Moore on numerous occasions. And a year later, the once-happy couple decided to go their separate ways. In a diplomatic statement, Kutcher tweeted, “I will forever cherish the time I spent with Demi. Marriage is one of the most difficult things in the world. And, unfortunately, sometimes [marriages] fail.”
Coincidentally, this was also the same year that the public learned of Kunis and Culkin’s split. The couple had actually separated in 2010, although they had chosen to keep this development under wraps for as long as possible. Kunis’ rep later stated, though, that the actress and Culkin had parted ways amicably and that they still wanted to maintain a strong friendship.
Despite these relationship traumas, however, Kutcher and Kunis’ respective careers thrived. And 2011 saw the actors find success with separate romantic comedies based on similar concepts. Kunis, for her part, starred alongside Justin Timberlake in Friends with Benefits, while Kutcher shared the screen with Natalie Portman in No Strings Attached. Both flicks center on couples whose casual sexual affairs grow into more meaningful romances.
Then in 2012 Kutcher and Kunis got tongues wagging thanks to the number of times that they had been spotted sharing each other’s company. Initially, the stars claimed that their relationship was still purely platonic; the cat was eventually let out of the bag, however, when the pair were photographed engaging in various public displays of affection.
And during a 2016 interview on The Howard Stern Show, Kunis recalled the moment that she and Kutcher had suddenly realized they were made for each other. She said, “He just turns around, and it was literally like if we were in a movie, the music would start playing, and the violins would go.” The adorable incident to which Kunis was referring took place at an awards ceremony.
Kunis then elaborated on how it had felt to see Kutcher that day. “I think, for the first time ever, he took my breath away,” she said. “I was like, ‘F***, he’s good-looking.’” After that, the actress revealed, Kutcher had asked her to join him at his place for a party, and she had ended up staying the night. “[It was the] first time I ever slept over while I was single,” she admitted to Stern.
Then, after attending various family weddings as a couple, Kunis and Kutcher decided that they, too, wanted to walk down the aisle. In early 2014 E! News went on to confirm that the long-time pals had gotten engaged. And by the end of the same year, the couple had also welcomed their first-born, daughter Wyatt, into the world.
What’s more, the lovebirds shared the screen once again in 2014 when Kunis guested on Kutcher’s hit sitcom Two and a Half Men. In a very meta scene, Kunis’ character Vivian jokes, “I bet you only date hot actresses.” And Kutcher’s Walden replies, “God no, I’d never date an actress. They’re all crazy.”
But, of course, Kutcher was more than happy to be with Kunis. And this was proved in 2015 when the two became husband and wife at a Fourth of July ceremony that was shrouded in secrecy. Kutcher later told Ellen DeGeneres that it was a “ninja effort” to ensure that their wedding remained a private affair. He explained, “We really didn’t want helicopters at our wedding, and it’s a legitimate concern. I was, like, posting things on social media that were in different locations to avoid that, because we didn’t want to be screaming our vows at each other.”
However, it’s perhaps a wonder that Kutcher and Kunis ever got hitched at all, given the pair’s previous opinions on the subject. Kunis explained to Stern, “We started dating with the idea [that] we were both never going to get married. A year later, we were like, ‘Tomorrow, let’s [get married].’”
Moreover, Kunis revealed that she and Kutcher have always been “incredibly open” about their feelings towards each other. And she admitted, too, that she’s glad they took the time to transform their relationship from a platonic bond to a romantic connection. She added to Stern, “We would never be together based on the people that we used to be.”
Then in 2016 Kutcher and Kunis added to their family unit with the birth of a son, whom they named Dimitri. And when appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show that year, Kutcher revealed that their firstborn couldn’t have been more delighted with the new arrival. He said, “Wyatt thinks the baby is her baby, and at some point I’m going to have to explain to her it’s not really her baby. I don’t know how I’m going to do that. She loves the baby so much.”
Plus, during the same interview, Kutcher decided to pay tribute to his wife’s natural abilities as a parent. He told DeGeneres, “She’s the greatest mom. Like, I go to work every day, and I come home, and she’s just perfect, and it seems like everything went amazing [with the baby].”
But Kutcher and Kunis haven’t just told various talk show hosts how in love they are; they’ve proved it in public, too. Yes, it’s fair to say that the Hollywood couple aren’t afraid of a bit of PDA. In 2014, for instance, Kutcher and Kunis shared a smooch after the famous Kiss Cam had selected them from the crowd at a Los Angeles Clippers game.
In fact, Kutcher and Kunis can’t seem to attend a sporting event without showing the cameras just how much they adore each other. In 2016 the pair appeared the picture of romance as they enjoyed the Los Angles Dodgers’ encounter with the Chicago Cubs. And two years later, the Kiss Cam found the couple once again during a game at the Los Angeles Kings’ home arena.
Plus, Kutcher and Kunis aren’t averse to the odd romantic gesture, either. Take Kunis’ first pregnancy, for instance, when Kutcher ensured that his partner’s unusual cravings would always be catered for by filling a “secondary fridge” with weird and wonderful food items. Kunis explained on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2014, “I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I need a pickle.’ [Kutcher] was like, ‘Hold on a second’ and disappeared in the backyard and came back with the most amazing dill pickle of all time.”
However, not every act of romance may bowl the recipient over, as the Hollywood couple probably know. Take the RV that Kunis purchased as a birthday surprise for Kutcher, for example, which the pair had decided to use for their post-nuptials getaway with Kutcher’s parents. Said choice of transport turned the newlyweds’ first vacation as a married couple into a disaster resembling a National Lampoon movie.
Yes, just a few hours into the journey – and when the outside temperature was 110 degrees – the RV’s air conditioning went kaput. Then, on day two, the couple had to walk three miles while Kutcher’s father drove, and Apple Maps took them onto a mountainside fire road. And if that wasn’t enough catastrophe for one trip, Kutcher’s mother also accidentally sent the group to an RV park that was an hour away from their intended Napa Valley destination.
Another romantic mishap occurred in 2019, when Kutcher decided to treat his wife of four years to a thoughtful Valentine’s Day gift that sadly backfired. During an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in February that year, Kunis revealed that her husband had presented her with a couple of lovebirds on the special day – or what he believed to be lovebirds, at least.
Yet while a pair of birds may seem like a curious Valentine’s gesture, said gift does have particular significance when it comes to the Kutcher-Kunis clan. Kunis told DeGeneres, you see, that she and her two kids, Wyatt and Dimitri, had spent time together birdwatching from the window in their kitchen. The star explained, “It was the most beautiful thing. We were fascinated with these little birds.”
It’s perhaps easy to see why Kunis was delighted and touched by Kutcher’s thoughtful gift, then. However, it turns out that the Hollywood actor perhaps hadn’t done as much research as he should have before heading to the pet shop. And the couple found this out the hard way when they visited a “bird lady” whom their long-time friend DeGeneres had suggested to them.
Hilariously, Kunis explained that the expert had informed her and her husband that the so-called lovebirds weren’t actually lovebirds at all. They were, in fact, parakeets. And DeGeneres didn’t exactly come to Kutcher’s defense when she learned of his mistake. She told Kunis, “[Parakeets are] like $10. Lovebirds are more expensive.”
Yes, DeGeneres was spot on about the disparity in cost between the animals. Anyone looking to take home a parakeet should expect to pay anywhere between $10 and $35 at the average pet store. Lovebirds, meanwhile, are far pricier, with values starting from $80 and going right up to a whopping $500 each.
To be fair to Kutcher, though, the type of parakeet that he had accidentally ended up bringing home – the budgerigar – does look rather similar to the lovebird that he had meant to buy. That said, the lovebird is in fact a variety of small parrot. And its real name is one that appeared to tickle Kunis as she recalled the story: the Agapornis.
But Kutcher’s well-intentioned trip to the pet store wasn’t entirely in vain. After all, Kunis told DeGeneres’ audience that she had still very much appreciated the effort to which her loving husband had gone. She said, “It’s the thought that counts, guys. And it’s such a beautiful thought.”
Plus, by the sound of it, Kunis is actually just as enamored with the budgies as she would have been with a pair of lovebirds. The Bad Moms star explained, “So, now we have [two] really beautiful little parakeets, and one’s, like, teal, and one’s blue. But they’re not lovebirds, guys, ’cause that’s not what lovebirds look like, we learned.”
Incidentally, the pets that Kutcher acquired purely as a result of a lack of research aren’t entirely inappropriate for an occasion such as Valentine’s Day. That’s because trust and loyalty are two characteristics parakeets are said to possess. Plus, the birds are thought to be strictly monogamous creatures.
What’s more, Kunis and Kutcher have certainly had their fun with the not-so-romantic Valentine’s gift. Kunis told DeGeneres that she and her husband often joke about how affectionate the two parakeets are with each other, for example. While laughing, the actress said, “They’re so friendly! We’re like, ‘Oh, look, they’re so in love.’”
It’s also fair to say that the mishap wasn’t all Kutcher’s fault. The actor had received some poor advice from the pet store that he had chosen to visit, after all. Kunis told DeGeneres, “[Ashton] called a Petco-like store and they were like, ‘Yes, come in. We have lovebirds.’ So, he walked in, and they’re like, ‘These are lovebirds!’”
But, of course, Kutcher may well have avoided the entire misunderstanding if he had just stuck to the type of Valentine’s treats that Kunis had requested earlier on in their relationship. During a 2013 appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the Ted actress had explained that although the holiday isn’t a massive deal for her, she still appreciates a good, old-fashioned gesture. “I love flowers,” she hinted.
Kunis continued, “So, flowers are nice. Chocolates – who doesn’t like chocolate? Super stereotypical.” And, fully embracing the true spirit of the romantic holiday, the Black Swan star also added, “I want the biggest bear and a thousand roses. If we’re going to do it, we might as well do it full out.”
However, Kutcher’s Valentine’s Day gift fail doesn’t appear to have affected his relationship in the long run. Less than two weeks after the February holiday, he and Kunis attended a highly exclusive post-Oscars bash that had been organized by the Queen of Pop, Madonna. And the pair still looked very much in love as they posed for photos with each other.
Perhaps, then, the lovebirds – or rather parakeets – seem to have done the trick, since the Oscars party marked Kutcher and Kunis’ first official public appearance together in 15 months. The A-list pair had last smiled for the assembled cameras at the Breakthrough Prize Awards back in 2017 – in only the second time ever that they had graced the red carpet as a couple.