After bursting onto the scene back in 1998 with That '70s Show, Ashton Kutcher has been making us laugh in his comedic roles ever since. However, behind all the laughs and goofy gags, there's also a sensitive side to the actor, and in 2005 he made a heartbreaking revelation that he once contemplated suicide in order to help his twin brother.
Born in 1978 to Larry and Diana Kutcher, Kutcher is one of three children, with an older sister, Tausha as well as fraternal twin brother, Michael. His brother was an unexpected addition to the family, and was born over-oxygenated and weighing just 4lbs, meanwhile Ashton weighed 10.5lb, earning him the playful nickname "Jabba the Hutt" from Michael. Eventually Michael was diagnosed with a mild form of cerebral palsy shortly before entering kindergarten, due to irreversible neurological deficiencies.
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Throughout his childhood, Michael dealt with medical issues surrounding his speech, eyesight and motor skills development, but his struggle with the heart disease cardiomyopathy was his — and his family's — biggest obstacle. Speaking about the difficulty of that time, Kutcher said he "didn't want to come home and find more bad news [about Michael]," adding "I kept myself so busy that I didn't allow myself to feel."
However, after Michael's condition grew progressively worse, the chances that his twin would survive without a heart transplant were dwindling. Finally, when the actor was just 13-years-old he visited his brother at University of Iowa Hospital to learn that his heart had stopped, and he was on a pump which gave him a 48 hour window to undergo a heart transplant. Kutcher's first thought was to sacrifice himself in order to let his brother take his own heart.
Talking in 2005, Kutcher recounted the experience. "I'm standing on the balcony, thinking about jumping off, and my dad comes out and says: 'What are you thinking about?' He said. "I tell him. He comes over and says 'you can't do that' - and right then the doctors come rushing out saying: 'We have to prepare the OR. A woman died in Florida in a car accident, and there's a heart on the way.'"
Thankfully, Michael's surgery was a success and on his website, states that his brush with death "inspired him to take control of the future he once thought he’d never have."
These days the 38-year-old has certainly taken control of his future, and currently works in sales, but also as an advocate and public speaker for Reaching for the Stars (a foundation of hope working with children with cerebral palsy), the Starkey Hearing Foundation, and Organize — a foundation which encourages citizens to sign up to an organ donation registry.
Meanwhile, Ashton also does his fair share for charity, donating and supporting multiple organizations, and even also co-founding the international human rights organization, Thorn (originally called DNA) back in 2009.
There's no two ways about it, the Kutcher twins are total inspirations.
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(Source: Twin Cities)