The Untold Truth Of Kaley Cuoco

Kaley Cuoco has been acting since she was a young girl, but her fame has never been as red-hot as it is now. The 36-year-old actor started her career as a child model, and by 7, was appearing on screen, Variety reported. By the time she hit her teens, she had appeared in a number of smaller TV roles, as well as two feature films — "Virtuosity" and "Picture Perfect." She continued to work steadily in fare like TV film "Growing Up Brady," before breaking out on the sitcom "8 Simple Rules ... For Dating My Teenage Daughter." Cuoco also had prime roles on "Charmed" and the animated "Bratz" TV series around that time, but it was her career-defining role as Penny on "The Big Bang Theory" that catapulted her to worldwide fame.

Cuoco remained on "The Big Bang Theory" from 2007 until its end in 2019, all the while appearing in other projects, such as the film "The Wedding Ringer" and TV movie "Drew Peterson: Untouchable." After "The Big Bang Theory," Cuoco began voicing the titular character on the "Harley Quinn" animated series and took on the challenge of a more dramatic comedy with "The Flight Attendant," which earned her two Primetime Emmy nominations in its first season. Since then, Cuoco has landed on everything from Variety500 (Variety's list of top entertainers) to The Hollywood Reporter's "Women in Entertainment Power 100." In celebration of the popular star, here are some untold truths of Kaley Cuoco's life and career.

She credits her TV dad with teaching her how to lead a set

Kaley Cuoco appeared on "8 Simple Rules ... For Dating My Teenage Daughter" for all three seasons of the show's run, but tragedy struck when lead actor John Ritter died early into filming Season 2. In a conversation between Cuoco and fellow actor Elizabeth Olsen, published in Variety, Cuoco called Ritter her "entire world." Following Ritter's untimely death, the show was retitled "8 Simple Rules," and various characters were brought in to replace his patriarch, although the dynamic was never the same. Cuoco had become especially close to Ritter, and she recalled he once told her, "I really think you're going to go places," Variety reported.

One thing that stuck with Cuoco was how kindly Ritter treated people on set — something that she has tried to emulate as someone who is now number one on the call sheet. "The respect and the kindness and the joy he brought to that set, it was unbelievable," she told Variety. "In the future, if I was that No. 1, I knew how I was going to run my set." This is not the only time she has publicly praised Ritter's leadership, either. In an interview with Gold Derby, Cuoco remembered how her TV dad treated everyone as important, no matter their role. While Ritter never got to see how far she'd climb, we are sure he would be proud of his TV daughter for attempting to follow his lead.

Kaley Cuoco played tennis competitively

Though she started acting at a very early age, Kaley Cuoco always made sure to have other interests and hobbies, so that being an actor didn't define her — something for which she has her mom to thank. "Acting was just another part of my life, as it still is today," she told Cosmopolitan in 2014. "It's 1 of the 10 things I love doing. It's never just been my life. As cheesy as it sounds, all my eggs were never in just one basket. I had a thousand baskets going on." While her hobbies are numerous, she seemed to be drawn to tennis, and even married a tennis pro — her first husband, Ryan Sweeting.

Cuoco was highly competitive with her first husband. "He'll be like, 'I'll play left-handed today...' and I'm like, 'No, play for real,' and he's like, 'Play for real? What is wrong with you?'" she told "So, he'll play full-out and of course I'm just crushed and devastated and furious ... I wanna win ... I won't even get close." Though maybe not as talented as a professional tennis player, Cuoco has some impressive skill on the court. As a young woman, she became ranked at the national level, reaching number 54 in Southern California's Girls' 14 Singles tennis in 1998, The Blast reported. It's safe to say she's still into the sport, too. Googling "Kaley Cuoco tennis" reveals plenty of photos of the actor playing the sport as an adult.

She wasn't sure how she'd be received after her breakout role ended

"The Big Bang Theory" premiered on CBS in 2007 and eventually rose to the top of the heap in ratings. It was still going strong in its 12th season when Jim Parsons — who played Dr. Sheldon Cooper — decided to call it quits. It was a shock for Cuoco, who has maintained she was game to continue playing Penny. Still, she knew that if Parsons wanted out, that was the end for them all. "That was the one thing we all agreed on — we came in together, we go out together," she told Variety. However, she's still holding out hope for a reunion in the future (per Variety).

For Cuoco, one of the big challenges of moving on from the role that made her famous was how to convince people she could do other things. She told Women's Wear Daily that she wasn't sure if she would be "taken seriously after" the end of the popular sitcom, which caused her to branch out and find her own content. She optioned the source material for her series "The Flight Attendant" before even reading the book, according to Variety, and hit new heights in terms of awards and acclaim. "I believe in my heart that no one would have cast me in this part even if I'd given the audition of my life. I felt like I had to prove I could do something else," she told Britain's iNews.

Kaley Cuoco has her own production company

Like so many big-name actors, Kaley Cuoco has her own production company that has a hand in many of her projects. According to Glamour, Cuoco started the company — Yes, Norman Productions, named after her beloved rescue dog — in 2017, while she was still working on "The Big Bang Theory." She already had "The Flight Attendant" optioned, which likely helped her secure a multi-year deal with Warner Brothers TV (per Deadline). "Warner Bros. Television is my extended family and I'm so excited to work together and bring this amazing book to life with them," Cuoco told Deadline at the time. In May 2021, she signed a new deal with them, Deadline reported.

Despite Cuoco's busy acting career — which includes films "Man From Toronto" and "Meet Cute" — Yes, Norman has a number of other projects in development. Per Glamour, the company has optioned the book "A Season With Mom" and is also creating a limited series in which Cuoco will play the legendary Doris Day. IMDb also has Cuoco listed as a producer for the film "Role Play," in which she will star opposite Billy Bob Thornton and David Oyelowo. "I've been able to spread my wings in such a different way," she told TV Guide. "I feel sad because I feel like I came so late to the game with this whole producing thing. And the other side of it is, I feel good that it started with 'The Flight Attendant' and I learned so much."

She is best friends with her The Flight Attendant co-star

By all accounts, the cast of "The Big Bang Theory" was very close, and Kaley Cuoco even dated her co-star, Johnny Galecki, with whom she remains friends (per Us Weekly). That said, Cuoco's friendship with her "The Flight Attendant" co-star Zosia Mamet seems to be a one-of-a-kind bond. Mamet (who plays Annie, the best friend of Cuoco's Cassie) told The Hollywood Reporter that the pair met at a chemistry read and immediately hit it off. They even have matching tattoos that reference that first meeting, in which Cuoco gave Mamet a boop on the nose. They both have the word "boop" tattooed on their arms, E! News reported.

In an interview with Glamour, Cuoco admitted that Mamet was her prime source of motivation during the filming of the show's second season. Mamet lived with Cuoco during that time, which also coincided with a personal rough patch for Cuoco as she went through her second divorce (this one from Karl Cook). "There were mornings where I was like, 'I can't get out of bed. I can't go to work.' And she would get me out of bed, get me dressed, and put me in my car. Multiple times," Cuoco told Glamour. "She visited me on set on days off ... because she knew I was having a hard time. It makes me very emotional because she's become one of my closest friends. I don't know what I would've done [without her]."

She did her first sex scene for The Flight Attendant

Though she had been acting for decades by the time "The Flight Attendant" rolled around, Kaley Cuoco had never filmed a true sex scene prior to appearing on the HBO Max show. It makes sense, given how much of her career has been spent working on wholesome network television shows like "8 Simple Rules ... for Dating My Teenage Daughter" and "The Big Bang Theory." In an interview with W magazine, Cuoco admitted that, "It's a little different when you are doing sitcom sex scenes" and said she "did not know what I was doing in Flight Attendant."

The scene in question occurred in the very first episode of Season 1, and Cuoco had to rely on her more experienced co-star, Michiel Huisman, for guidance. "He'd been in 'Game of Thrones,' so he'd done all these scenes, and I just had no idea," she said in a Hollywood Reporter roundtable with five other female actors. "When they called 'cut,' I'd be hovering over him like I was on a toilet. I'm like, 'I'm not touching anything, I'm not looking at anything.' I didn't know what to do." While Huisman chided her for making things "weirder," Cuoco appears to have gotten the hang of things. She has since filmed multiple sex scenes for the show, including ones with actors Santiago Cabrera, who played her character's Season 2 boyfriend Marco, and Mo McRea, who played her CIA handler Benjamin Berry.

Kaley Cuoco is dating, but refuses to get married again

While Kaley Cuoco is definitely not a loser in love, she is certainly not a winner in marriage. The popular actor has been married twice before, both times for relatively short periods, and has sworn off ever being wed again. Despite that, she continues to date and is currently in a relationship with "Ozark" cast member Tom Pelphrey. Per Page Six, the pair made their first public appearance in May 2022 when they attended Greg Berlanti's Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony. "He loves her like nobody's business, and that's all that matters to me," Cuoco's co-star and best friend Zosia Mamet said, ET reported.

While she was a cast member on "The Big Bang Theory," Cuoco dated co-star Johnny Galecki, which did not become public knowledge until the pair ended their two-year relationship. Her other famous boyfriends have included singers Jaron Lowenstein and Bret Bolinger, model Al Santos, and actors Thad Luckinbill, Kevin Zegers, Josh Henderson, and Paul Blackthorne. She was once engaged to an addiction specialist named Josh Resnik, and even briefly dated "Superman" himself, Henry Cavill. Her first marriage to tennis player Ryan Sweeting lasted for less than two years, per People, and her second marriage to equestrian Karl Cook lasted only slightly longer, from June 2018 until September 2021. "I would love to have a long-lasting relationship or a partnership. But I will never get married again," Cuoco told Glamour in 2022.

She is open about her plastic surgeries

It is no secret that most celebrities get at least a couple of nips, tucks, and tweaks throughout their careers. From botox and fillers to more invasive surgical procedures, gossip mags and social media accounts have made it a mission to expose what work famous people have had done. Occasionally, we come across a celebrity who believes in transparency and who openly discusses their plastic surgery — and Kaley Cuoco is one of them. Not only has Cuoco discussed the procedures she's had done, she's also affirmed the positive effects they've had on her sense of self.

"Recently, I had a filler in a line in my neck I've had since I was 12," Cuoco told Women's Health (via ABC News). "As much as you want to love your inner self ... I'm sorry, you also want to look good. I don't think you should do it for a man or anyone else, but if it makes you feel confident, that's amazing." Two larger procedures — a nose job and a breast enhancement — have helped make Cuoco more confident and she calls her breast implants "the best thing I ever did" in the Women's Health interview. She also called the procedure her "best decision" in a 2014 Cosmopolitan interview, in which she said she was 18 at the time she got her implants and that she has never had any regrets.

Kaley Cuoco found it challenging to play multiple versions of a character

In "The Flight Attendant," viewers are taken inside the mind of Kaley Cuoco's Cassie Bowden in a way that is both unique and informative. We learn about Cassie through her "mind palace," a space the show's writers created to mimic the narrative style of the series' source material. "It's a structure that you can build in your head to help you concentrate on things, remember things, visualize things," the show's developer, Steve Yockey, explained to The Hollywood Reporter.

The mind palace was taken to a whole new level in Season 2 when the show introduced multiple versions of Cassie, including a young Cassie, an angry Cassie, a flashy party girl Cassie, a thoughtful and mature Cassie, and a depressed Cassie. For Cuoco, the gimmick proved to be challenging, as it often required her to act opposite herself. "As an actor, I like to be in the moment. I am incredibly reactive. I would not call myself a preparer," Cuoco told Collider. "Shooting this way, the technicality of it and having to work against my mirror image and my doubles, we had to throw that out the window. I had to be very exact in my movements and in my words." In a separate interview with Variety, Cuoco said that the team sought guidance from the creative forces behind the series "Orphan Black," which had a similar storyline when it introduced a series of clones for its main character.

She's a Bachelor Nation superfan

Stars, they're just like us, and Kaley Cuoco is no exception. Like most of us, Cuoco is a huge fan of reality television, specifically the "Bachelor" franchise. In 2021, she dressed up as a "Bachelorette" for a photo shoot and interview with W magazine, appearing in a sparkly red dress and holding a single long-stemmed red rose. The photo shoot was designed for celebrities to honor their "favorite small screen characters," and the associated text made it clear that for Cuoco, that title went to Kaitlyn Bristowe, who appeared as a contestant on the 19th season of "The Bachelor" and as the main star on Season 11 of "The Bachelorette."

"She was so cool. She was very to the point, she was authentic, she was not fake. I loved that she was just herself," Cuoco told the magazine. "There've been some really classic people in the past that have been on the show, but she really was my favorite. I liked that she had an edge. She cussed, she had sex. I just found her to be like a girl's girl." That interview wasn't the only time Cuoco has been publicly connected to the franchise, either. She once asked former "Bachelor Nation" host Chris Harrison about the "condom budget" on "Lights Out with David Spade," and even made a virtual appearance on "Bachelor Live" to talk to former Bachelor Ben Higgins, with whom she once told E! News she was "obsessed."

She credits therapy and her horses for keeping her mentally healthy

While it is easy to think of the rich and famous as being immune to problems, that is obviously not the case. They are human just like the rest of us, which means they experience a range of emotions and deal with their own share of hardships. Kaley Cuoco has found a few different ways to cope with the stress of life and to remain mentally healthy, and one of those is embracing her love of horseback riding. She has credited her horses with keeping her "sane," per Glamour, and reportedly has 25 of them at her Coachella Valley horse trailer, Variety reported.

In addition to her horses, Cuoco has incorporated traditional therapy into her life over the last couple of years. In a Glamour interview, she discussed how she started therapy for the first time after filming Season 2 of "The Flight Attendant" fresh off the heels of separating from her second husband. "My therapist and I are working on forgiveness and forgiving myself for making mistakes," she explained. "I think that's been the hardest thing is just accepting that I'm normal and that I'm not superwoman. I highly recommend therapy to everyone out there. Even if your life is going really well. I can't imagine life without it."

Kaley Cuoco loves animals, particularly rescue dogs

As evidenced by her aforementioned dozens of horses, Kaley Cuoco is a massive animal lover. She has posted on her social media about horse rescue programs, and even once offered to purchase a horse that was abused by its trainer. "I'll buy that horse outright and show it the life it should have. Name your price," she posted on Instagram in a since-deleted post, after finding out the horse was punched (via Insider). According to People, Cuoco even held one of her marriages in a horse stable — which makes sense, given that the man she married, Karl Cook, is a professional equestrian.

In addition to horses, Cuoco has also adopted rabbits, pigs, a goat, and many, many dogs. In fact, she has so many dogs that she refuses to disclose the actual number, fearing it may exceed the maximum legal amount, Variety reported. Her appetite for rescuing pups started with pit bulls roughly 15 years ago. "I just found them to be so incredible. I realized what great dogs they were, and how horribly they were seen. And I just didn't want that to happen anymore," she told the Los Angeles Times. Cuoco's production company is named after her deceased pit bull Norman and, though the names of all of her dogs aren't publicly known, we know a few. At minimum, she has another two pit bulls named Shirley and Blueberry, a terrier mix named Ruby, and an old mastiff mix named Larry.

She has many hobbies

Based upon interviews, it's commonly known that Kaley Cuoco tends to fill her time with activities both active and creative. We have already discussed a couple of Cuoco's hobbies, like tennis and horseback riding, but she has a plethora of other interests that lead us to question when exactly the woman sleeps. She enjoys kickboxing, spinning, and yoga. "Doing yoga five times a week has transformed my body," she told Shape back in 2015. "I love being toned and having muscle; it's so sexy and beautiful. And I owe it 100 percent to yoga." In a separate interview with Women's Health, she expressed a preference for hot yoga, in particular, and name-checked CorePower Yoga as her studio of choice.

One of Cuoco's most intriguing interests is her love of mugs, which has led her to become both a collector of these items as well as a creator of them. "I cherish my mug collection. People know now that's probably what I'm going to give them," she told Glamour. "My love language is gift giving, and I don't mean how much money you spend on someone. I take such pride in matching the gift with the person. I think so hard on what they will like and what color." She also said that she makes a matching mug for herself every time she gifts one. She is also creative when it comes to music, as she both sings and plays the drums, Business Insider reported.

Kaley Cuoco has a massive net worth

While we always take reports of net worth with a grain of salt, it is widely known that Kaley Cuoco is very rich. Celebrity Net Worth has her overall net worth listed as $100 million, much of that accrued while working on "The Big Bang Theory." While her salary for Season 1 was reportedly $60,000 an episode, according to Screen Rant, she and her co-stars were bumped up to $200,000 per episode as of Season 4. Given that each season of the show filmed between 17 and 24 episodes, that is already a nice chunk of change. However, Cuoco's salary continued to rise, maxing out at $1 million per episode starting in Season 8. Per Deadline, she also got a lump sum signing bonus and a larger share of the back-end profits. Her salary declined slightly for the show's final two seasons, though, as she and a few co-stars took a $100,000 pay cut.

According to calculations done by Cosmopolitan, Cuoco's overall "Big Bang" earnings totaled an estimated $163 million, not counting residuals. While we don't know her salary for "The Flight Attendant" or her other acting projects, Cuoco is more in demand than ever and is likely able to cash in on her popularity. She also brings in cash with her endorsements, which have included Marshalls, Toyota, Starbucks, and Priceline. "I like knowing that I'm (financially) set, because I've taken it upon myself to do that," Cuoco once told Women's Health.