Kaley Cuoco is an American actress best known for portraying the character of Penny in the hit CBS television series 'The Big Bang Theory'. Along with Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki, who star in the series as Sheldon Cooper and Leonard Hofstadter, she is currently one of the highest paid actors on television. Starting out as a child actress, she has built her career steadily with regular appearances in movies, telefilms and on television. Some of her other well-loved television roles include Bridget Hennessy on the ABC sitcom '8 Simple Rules' and Billie Jenkins on the television series 'Charmed'. Her film credits include 'Picture Perfect', 'Alley Cats Strike', 'Crimes of Fashion', 'The Hollow', 'To Be Fat like Me', 'The Last Ride, 'The Wedding Ringer' and 'Burning Bodhi', among many others. Apart from her acting roles, she has appeared in a number of commercials and has voiced many characters from animated television shows and movies. She has been named into the top 20 on Maxim magazine's 'Hot 100 Women' list twice. She has a star on the Hollywood 'Walk of Fame'.
Childhood & Early Life
Kaley Christine Cuoco was born on November 30, 1985, in Camarillo, California, to Gary Carmine Cuoco and Layne Ann. Her father is a realtor and her mother is a homemaker. She is the eldest daughter of her parents and has a sister named Briana.
She was an athletic child and started playing tennis at the age of three. She later became a regionally ranked amateur tennis player, but left the sport at the age of 16 to pursue acting seriously.
As a child actress and model, she was homeschooled throughout her early years and never attended a regular school. She earned her high school diploma when she was 16 years old.
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Kaley Cuoco started her career at the age of six, when she modeled for commercials for brands like Barbie dolls. In 1992, at the age of seven, she appeared in the TV movie 'Quicksand: No Escape'.
In 1994, she appeared on the television shows 'My So-Called Life' and 'Northern Exposure'. She made her feature film debut the next year, portraying Karin Carter in the science fiction action film 'Virtuosity'.
She portrayed Little Ellen Morgan, the younger version of the character played by comedian Ellen DeGeneres, in one episode of the ABC television series 'Ellen' in 1996. The following year, she appeared in the romantic comedy film 'Picture Perfect', starring Jennifer Aniston, and also had a role in the made-for-television Disney fantasy film 'Toothless'.
In 2000, she bagged a recurring role in the CBS sitcom 'Ladies Man'. The same year, she also had starring roles in the Disney Channel Original Movie 'Alley Cats Strike' and the made-for-television movie 'Growing Up Brady'.
For the next couple years, she appeared on a number of television series such as '7th Heaven', 'First Monday', 'The Ellen Show' and 'The Nightmare Room'. In 2002, she was cast in the major role of Bridget Hennessy in the ABC sitcom '8 Simple Rules', a role she played for three seasons of the show.
She returned to the big screen in 2004 with a starring role in the independent film 'Debating Robert Lee'. That year, she was also cast as the co-lead in the ABC telefilm 'Crimes of Fashion' along with Megan Fox, and played the female lead in another ABC production, the teen horror film, 'The Hollow'.
Throughout 2004, she continued to appear on television in the series 'The Help', 'Complete Savages', 'Punk'd' and '10.5'. The same year, she started voice acting for the tomboyish short-tempered dog Brandy Harrington in the animated TV series 'Brandy & Mr. Whiskers'.
In 2005, after the sitcom '8 Simple Rules' ended, she bagged another recurring role in the supernatural drama series 'Charmed', which aired on The WB. She portrayed Billie Jenkins in the eighth and final season of the cult hit show. She also did another voice acting role in the animated series 'Bratz' and appeared in three episodes of the series 'Loonatics Unleashed'.
In 2007, following a guest appearance in an episode of the show 'Prison Break', she landed a lead role in the CBS sitcom 'The Big Bang Theory', which became an instant hit worldwide. She portrayed Penny, a Cheesecake Factory employee who moved to California to become an actress and became friends with scientists Sheldon Cooper and Leonard Hofstadter, played by Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki.
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Over the years, she has continued to appear in films, such as 'To Be Fat like Me' (2007), 'Killer Movie' (2008), 'The Penthouse' (2010), 'Hop' (2011) and 'The Last Ride' (2011). She hosted the 'Teen Choice Awards' in 2011 and the 'People's Choice Awards' in 2012 and 2013.
Some of her recent movies include 'Authors Anonymous' (2014), 'The Wedding Ringer' (2015) and 'Burning Bodhi' (2015). She has also lent her voice to the films 'Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip' and 'Why Him?'.
The character of Penny from 'The Big Bang Theory' has been Kaley Cuoco's most loved role so far. While the show received mixed response initially, it is now considered one of the best shows on television. She and the other lead actors reportedly earn about $1 million per episode.
Awards & Achievements
Since her first appearance in 'Quicksand: No Escape', Kaley Cuoco has received 30 award nominations and has won 8 awards. In 2003, she received a 'Teen Choice Award' for her performance in '8 Simple Rules'.
For her role in 'The Big Bang Theory', she has received one 'Critics' Choice TV Award', two 'People's Choice Awards' and one 'Satellite Award'. In 2014, she received a star on the Hollywood 'Walk of Fame'.
Kaley Cuoco has been linked with a number of celebrities in the past years, starting with her '8 Simple Rules' co-star Thad Luckinbill in 2002 and Canadian actor Kevin Zegers in 2003-04. She was in a relationship with Jaron Lowenstein between 2005 and 2006, and also dated Al Santos in 2007.
While she plays the on-screen love interest of Johnny Galecki in 'The Big Bang Theory', they secretly dated from 2008 to 2010. She later mentioned that they separated amicably and are still friends. She was engaged to addiction specialist Josh Resnik from October 2011 to March 2012.
In September 2013, she got engaged to professional tennis player, Ryan Sweeting, and married him in Santa Susana, California on December 31, 2013. However, they separated in September 2015, and later divorced in May 2016.
She is currently dating equestrian Karl Cook.
Kaley Cuoco has Italian ancestry from her father's side and English and German ancestry from her mother side. Her surname 'Cuoco' translates to 'cook' in Italian.
After she fell off a horse in September 2010, she missed two episodes of 'The Big Bang Theory' and can be seen seated most of the time during the rest of the season. A number of people think she is the daughter of actor William Shatner as the two have regularly appeared on Priceline.com commercials as father and daughter.
She is an avid horseback rider and owns a horse named Bojangels. She has also adopted two stray dogs. Apart from horseback riding, she still plays tennis occasionally, and loves kickboxing, bowling, and playing the drums.