Why we're worried about Kaley Cuoco's career

Actress Kaley Cuoco hit pay dirt in the late 2000s when she landed the role of Penny in CBS' The Big Bang Theory. The popular series lasted a whopping 12 years following its September 2007 premiere, launching Cuoco's career and bank account to new heights. By the show's end in May 2019, the California native was taking home nearly $1 million per episode. Yep, we're jealous too.

Of course, the show meant more to Cuoco than just money. She became extremely close with the rest of the cast, especially in regards to her on-screen boyfriend, Johnny Galecki, who she secretly dated in real life for almost two years during the show's run. The bonds Cuoco developed on TBBT made it difficult for her say goodbye to the show, as she told CBS This Morning, "Yeah, it is kind of like a death in a way. You know? I mean, it's been a long, long time together."

Now that Cuoco has officially said au revoir to TBBT, we can't help but wonder where her career will go from here. We don't want to be worry warts or anything like that, but we do have some concerns about the actress' future, all the way from potential typecasting to anxiety about whether her post-TBBT gigs are the right fit. But wait — that's not all. Take a seat and let us tell you all of the compelling reasons why we're worried about Kaley Cuoco's career.

Keeping it simple

It's no secret that Kaley Cuoco's life for the past 12 years has been full of glitz and glamour thanks to The Big Bang Theory. But while some actors might be itching to keep the gravy train going, it sounds like Cuoco wants her post-TBBT years to reflect simplicity. As for how the actress plans to achieve this? Look no further than Kentucky, a locale Cuoco and her husband, Karl Cook, visit frequently thanks to the state's thriving equestrian scene. "There's going to be a lot more horses in the future," she told Extra in May 2019. "We're actually heading to Kentucky next week. We usually spend every May in Kentucky — we rent a house, we horse-show, we drink bourbon." Sounds amazing, sign us up.

We're not sure if Cuoco and Cook plan to make a more permanent move there anytime soon, but we find it interesting that she sold her Los Angeles area home shortly before the series' finale. Hmm.

Real estate aside, we wouldn't be surprised if Cuoco puts her career on hold to hang with horses, a passion she shares with Cook. "I'm an equestrian. I love horses," she said during a September 2018 appearance on The Talk (via Business Insider) "I'd actually really like to challenge myself a little bit more in that area." Not to mention, Cuoco also revealed that she and Cook might start their own "horse show" one day. Follow your heart, girl!

Is it the right time to start a family?

After Kaley Cuoco tied the knot with equestrian Karl Cook in June 2018, questions swirled surrounding whether the actress was ready to start a family. The television star debunked the speculation in October 2018, revealing to Entertainment Tonight: "I'm not quite there yet, but I know that I will be 'cause I love kids. But I'm a worker bee right now — kind of my career is my focus, and my husband. But, we love kids and we love animals so we're meant to have children." Translation: The timing hasn't been exactly right. 

As for her potential baby plans post-The Big Bang Theory? Now that the show is officially kaput, it's possible that the actress will have more time in her schedule to start procreating with her hubby. A supposed insider addressed this likelihood in an interview with E! News, stating: "Kaley and Karl talk about having children. They would love to move to a simpler lifestyle and live on a ranch with their horses. Kaley wants her children to be raised riding horses and having a similar country lifestyle that both her and Karl love." Sounds pretty idyllic, no?

There's no denying Cuoco's life would change if she decides to have a baby one day, but it remains to be seen how this milestone might affect her career, including whether she'd take an extended maternity leave. Either way, we have a feeling the actress will figure it all out.

She'll cost you a pretty penny

Kaley Cuoco's financial life hit an upswing thanks to The Big Bang Theory, a fact CNBC highlighted in its 2018 list of "The 10 highest-paid actors and actresses on TV." Cuoco came in at number four, reportedly bagging $26 million in earnings the previous year. Although Cuoco started off making $60,000 per episode as Penny, she eventually worked her way up to $1 million, an astonishing figure in the world of scripted television. The actress did take a pay cut in Season 11, however, forfeiting $100,000 of her salary to help give co-stars Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik a boost.

With an estimated net worth of $55 million, we're a tad concerned that Cuoco might be too expensive to hire at this point. The television star is used to receiving a big paycheck, after all, and we're not sure if she's willing to take on lower-paying roles. That being said, however, it's possible that Cuoco would be more apt to take on low-budget projects given her hefty bank account. File this one under TBD, folks.

Broken up over The Big Bang Theory

Leaving behind a successful and long-running show can be tough, a sentiment Kaley Cuoco knows all too well. The actress elaborated on this heartache in an interview with Haute Living, telling the publication: "I feel I go through these waves of depression about it. It's been like a death. It's hard to let go of something I'm so used to, that's been a part of my life for so many years. … I'm very excited for the future, but it's like letting go of a comfort blanket."

Cuoco also admitted that she would have happily continued on with the show, sharing with Extra: "It's broken my heart. I am so sad that it's ending. For the record, I would have done 20 more years… I was bad, but everyone was crying."

Although Cuoco's pain is completely understandable (12 years is a long time, folks), we're worried that she won't be able to move on from the show. If the actress remains stuck in the past, it could hinder her from accepting other cool opportunities. Chin up, girl.

Wait, what is she doing?

Shortly before The Big Bang Theory finale in May 2019, news of Kaley Cuoco's next project came to light — a digital series called The Great Travel Hack. We were a bit surprised by the choice because not only is the show unscripted, but it doesn't seem to fit inside Cuoco's wheelhouse. 

Let us explain: the show, which will air on YouTube, is a competition show created by Shell (yes, like the gas station) that follows two teams as they road trip from Los Angeles to New York. The catch? Each team must use the "lowest amount of CO2 emissions possible" during their trip, according to The Hype Magazine. As for the actress, she'll follow along with the teams as they complete their respective journeys. Interesting.

"This is a hot topic right now, obviously, affecting our entire world and we're not going to change the world overnight … It's five episodes, it gets the point across, and I really enjoyed being part of it," Cuoco told The Hype Magazine about the show's environment friendly premise. "And I learned a lot myself."

While we love the environment too (go green!), we can't see this show doing wonders for Cuoco's acting career. All in all, it seems like an odd pick for her first project after TBBT.

A pet project might not be the best idea...

Some diehard fans might already know this, but Kaley Cuoco is the proud owner of a production company called Norman Productions, a project that happens to be named after her beloved dog, Norman. A year or so before The Big Bang Theory ended in May 2019, her company optioned a miniseries based on the 2018 book, The Flight Attendant. The story follows "Cassandra Bowden, a flight attendant, who wakes up, hungover, in her hotel room with a dead body next to her," and the days after her grim discovery, according to E! News.

Not only will Cuoco executive produce the series, but she'll also play the lead role of Cassandra. "It's the first time I've grabbed anything on my own and started it and done it from the beginning, so if it sucks I am moving out of the country and you will never hear from me again," she joked to Extra. "And if it's great, I'm going to sit here with you and we can talk about it."

We're all for Cuoco exploring her creative side, but we're not sure if a pet project is the best way to do it. Take Angelina Jolie, for instance, who suffered a major flop when she released the 2015 movie, By the Sea. Jolie wrote and directed the work, an effort that was slammed as a "pretentious vanity project" and received many negative reviews. Fingers crossed that the same fate doesn't befall Cuoco. 

The typecasting dilemma

Being typecast is a real concern for many successful actors out there, especially if they've starred on a long-running series. Just ask David Schwimmer, who was terrified that he'd always be seen as "Ross" from Friends. "Even that first year [of Friends], I immediately became worried about being typecast for the rest of my life," he told Vulture in May 2016.

Schwimmer's fear is reasonable when you consider that Ross is still his most notable role to date. Typecasting — the phenomenon of pigeonholing an actor to their most popular character — is a tale as old as time, so we wouldn't be surprised if the same thing happens to Kaley Cuoco, aka Penny from The Big Bang Theory

As Schwimmer noted in his interview, however, typecasting isn't something that an actor can "control." He explained to Vulture: "I'm just going to play the long game. I hope to be acting until I'm 80, or am physically able to do so. And hopefully in the meantime I'll be able to change people's minds or let them see that I have more to offer."

The moral of the story? Typecast actors must prove their skeptics wrong, so hopefully Cuoco is up to the task.

Her work outside TBBT wasn't too hot

Unfortunately for Kaley Cuoco, her career outside of The Big Bang Theory wasn't too successful. Although the actress has a long list of credits to her name (she has acted since the 90s), many of the projects were critical flops. One example? Her 2014 movie, Authors Anonymous, was panned by critics across the board, with film critic Glenn Kenny calling it a "remarkably limp and obvious ensemble comedy." Ouch.

As for her other films, like The Wedding Ringer, Hop, and Burning Bodhi, those works didn't perform well either. We don't want to be Debbie Downers here, but we're somewhat concerned about whether Cuoco can succeed as an actress outside of TBBT's Penny. 

That being said, it doesn't sound like Cuoco is too concerned about her acting career given her goal of producing. "I want this to be a big company," she told Cosmopolitan about her production company, Norman Productions. "I want to be sitting down a few years from now and have so many projects going. That's what I'm excited about." Translation: The star has bigger fish to fry.

Her skin isn't too thick

To survive in Hollywood, it's important to have thick skin and a strong will to ignore the haters, an attitude Kaley Cuoco has struggled to master throughout the years. The actress opened up about her lack of confidence in an April 2014 interview with Cosmopolitan, revealing to the outlet how social media impacts her mental health. "I'll read something from someone in Indiana who's like, 'She looked disgusting in that dress,' and it's going to ruin my night," she shared. Yikes.

Although Cuoco's frustration is understandable (who wants to get called out?), she is a little too "obsessed" with the negativity. "I started reading and thought, Maybe I need to make more of an effort and not go out in my UGGs and be disgusting," she told the mag. "So I started putting on makeup. And they started writing, 'Wow, someone really likes being in front of the camera' and 'Her hair's done now for coffee.' I couldn't do anything right. Why am I reading this s**t? But I'm obsessed. I openly admit to being totally insane about that."

Maybe Cuoco is more zen these days, but we can't say we're hopeful for the future if she hasn't been able to overcome this hang-up. You have to be secure in yourself if you want to overcome all of the critics in the entertainment industry — it's just par for the course, unfortunately.