Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher are usually incredibly private about their personal lives and their family.
However, in an emotional acceptance speech for the prestigious Robert D. Ray Pillar of Character Award, Kutcher made sure to honour his badass partner – and thanked her for being an incredible role model, as well as for teaching him what it means to demonstrate good character every single day.
Kutcher began his speech by joking that he is probably the first person to receive the honour who had been arrested at age 18 for “felony burglary for trying to break into his high school,” for which he was given a deferred judgment, got “pulled over by a state trooper while tripping on mushrooms,” which led to no charges, and had had his “name splashed across every gossip magazine as an adulterer like five years ago.”
“It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you learn from the mistakes that you make and how you perceive the world that's coming at you,” he said. “Because life doesn't happen to you, it happens for you. Every single time. And as long as you have love and kindness and optimism and a pursuit of something greater in your heart, you're the lucky one.
“So this award is for you. It is for my family, it's for all four of my parents, it's for my wife, who kicks my ass on character every day.”
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Kutcher continued: “I'm telling you, this morning, I woke up and [Kunis] kicked my ass on character.
“I thought I was awesome because I got up early and helped with the kids before she woke up and I let her sleep a little bit and then she's like, ‘Well, now you're gonna act tired? I do it every day.’
“But it was a character moment, right? Because she's right.”
Kutcher and Kunis are parents to two-year-old Wyatt and four-month-old Dimitri – whom the actor credits for teaching him some of his most important life lessons yet.
“But the greatest, greatest lesson in character in my life are my kids,” he said in his speech. “When I had these kids, my wife and I had these kids and we got to share that amazing, amazing, amazing honour, my first response was, I wanted to call my parents and say, ‘I'm sorry, because I never knew how much you loved me.’”
Kutcher went on to address how “lucky” he feels to have been co-parented by such “amazing” people – even after their divorce. And this, in turn, led to him addressing his own 2013 divorce from Demi Moore.
“I had the great fortune of getting a divorce because I felt the impact of it and I felt how much loss is in there and how much love is in there and that it's not neat or clean or messy,” he said.
“And I understood, finally, my parents' divorce in a whole different way.”
Finally, Kutcher paid tribute to his twin brother Michael.
“I was born a twin and from the moment I came into this world I had to share it with someone,” Kutcher told everyone gathered at the Ron Pearson Centre in Iowa’s Des Moines. “I shared every birthday, every Christmas, I shared my bedroom, I shared my clothes, I shared everything I had and I didn’t know that there was another way because I always had my brother with me.
“My brother was born with cerebral palsy and it taught me that loving people isn’t a choice and that people aren’t actually all created equal. The Constitution lies to us. We’re not all created equal. We’re all created incredibly inequal to one another, in our capabilities and what we can do and how we think and what we see.
“But we all have the equal capacity to love one another, and my brother taught me that.”
Fighting back tears, Kutcher finished by saying: “When I got older, I spent years and years feeling bad about it, our inequalities.
“He also taught me that he had gifts that I didn't have. Extraordinary gifts that I didn't have, and that every time I felt sorry for him in life, I made him less. He taught me that and he gave that to me.”
Images: Rex Features