Mila Kunis biography
Actress Mila Kunis was born in Chernivtsi, Ukraine, in 1983. At the age of 7 she immigrated with her family to Los Angeles, where she began taking acting lessons. After appearing in several television commercials, Kunis landed a co-starring role in the Fox sitcom That '70s Show in 1998. She also did voice work for the cartoon series Family Guy. Kunis has since branched out into films. She's co-starred in Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008), Black Swan (2010), Friends with Benefits (2011) and Ted (2012).
Mila Kunis was born Milena Kunis in the Ukrainian city of Chernivtsi on August 14, 1983. At the age of 7, Kunis immigrated to the United States with her parents, Mark and Elvira, as well as her older brother, Michael, and eventually settled in Los Angeles.
It proved to be a rough start for the Kunis family, who arrived in their new country with just $250 in their pocket. But Kunis's parents, who both gave up professional careers to uproot themselves, were determined to make a better life for their children. Mark, a former mechanical engineer, soon found work as a cab driver, while Elvira, who had taught physics in Ukraine, wound up running a pharmacy.
"I didn't understand the culture," Kunis has said about first arriving in the United States. "I didn't understand the people. I didn't understand the language. My first sentence of my essay to get into college was like, 'Imagine being blind and deaf at age 7.' And that's kind of what it felt like moving to the States. But I got over it pretty fast."
In an effort to help their young daughter meet other kids, Mark and Elvira Kunis enrolled Milena in a children's acting program at the Beverly Hills Studio. There, she met Susan Curtis, a talent manager, who took the reins of Kunis's career and soon landed the young actress in a number of high-profile TV commercials.
Other opportunities quickly followed, with spot work on a host of television programs, from NBC's The John Larroquette Show to The WB Television Network's 7th Heaven.
In 1998, Kunis (who had simplified her first name to Mila) caught her first big break when, at 14, she landed the role of Jackie Burkhart in the new Fox sitcom That '70s Show. She was cast as a whiny, self-absorbed rich girl, allowing her to perfect and showcase her comic timing. Her work on the program soon led her to Fox's Family Guy cartoon, where she supplied the voice for the character Meg Griffin.
Even while she managed a busy television career, Kunis also branched out into film. She co-starred with Kirsten Dunst in the drama Get Over It (2001). A year later, was cast alongside Macaulay Culkin in American Psycho II: All American Girl. As a result of working together, Culkin and Kunis began dating, and stayed together until 2010.
Following the end of That '70s Show in 2006, Kunis started taking on more film work. In 2008 she landed a breakout role as a hotel concierge named Rachel in the comedy hit Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which also starred Jason Segel and Russell Brand.
Audiences and critics raved about her performance.
More critical acclaim came her way for the 2010 thriller Black Swan, in which she co-starred with Natalie Portman. Her performance earned Kunis, who dropped 20 pounds and trained for seven weeks as a ballerina, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award nominations for best supporting actress. That same year, she teamed up with Denzel Washington in the post-apocalyptic Book of Eli.
In 2011, Kunis was back giving audiences a laugh with the comedy Friends with Benefits, which paired the actress with Justin Timberlake. In 2012, she co-starred with Mark Wahlberg in another comedy film, Ted, directed by Seth MacFarlane, whom she's worked with for years on the set of Family Guy (MacFarlane created the show).
Despite all of her success, Kunis, who didn't know a word of English when she first arrived in the United States, says she hasn't forgotten her roots. She lives in Los Angeles, not far from her parents, and when she visits, often speaks Russian with them.
"We came to this country with literally nothing, and so any level of success is important to us," Kunis has said. "[My parents] never wanted me to become an actress because it's such an unstable and unpredictable profession. When you're immigrants, and you have to work hard for everything just to survive, it's only natural that you worry about having a stable job and income. But I think now they're more or less convinced that I'm doing pretty well and they don't have to worry about my career prospects any more."