Many of Hollywood’s biggest stars can speak more than one language – including Mila Kunis. She’s obviously fluent in English, but can you guess which language is her mother tongue?
Mila Kunis speaks Russian fluently. The Golden Globe-nominated actress grew up in the Soviet Union before moving to the US at age seven. Russian is her native language, and she still uses it to speak to her family.
Keep reading to learn more about Kunis’ Russian skills and devotion to her Soviet roots.
Mila Kunis’ Upbringing
Mila Kunis can speak English fluently without an unusual accent, so it’s surprising to learn that she spent her childhood in the Soviet Union. Her home town Chernivtsi is located in today’s Ukraine, but her parents decided to leave for the US when she was seven.
They went from having successful careers and financial security to working odd jobs to make ends meet and support their children. The actress grew up Jewish and cited antisemitism as one of the reasons why her parents decided to leave the Soviet Union.
Kunis picked up English pretty quickly, especially after she started attending acting classes, but had a hard time adjusting in the beginning. She summed up her second grade by telling the LA Times, “I cried every day. I didn’t understand the culture. I didn’t understand the people. I didn’t understand the language.”
Mila Kunis’ Russian Skills
Mila Kunis is fluent in Russian since she spent the first seven years of her life living in the Soviet Union. The Black Swan star still uses this language with her parents and grandparents, and she demonstrated her speaking abilities in several interviews.
Kunis admitted that she can’t read Russian despite speaking it fluently. She also acknowledged that most of her American friends consider Russian a harsh language, and said that a couple of people compared it to Klingon because she usually sounds angry when speaking.
We’re yet to see Mila Kunis play a major Russian-speaking role, but she demonstrated her skills while promoting movies in Russia. The most notable example is Friends with Benefits press conference in Moscow when she defended her co-star Justin Timberlake in her native language.
After a reporter asked the famous singer why he gave up music for acting, Kunis jumped to his defense. She responded saying, “Why movies? Why not? What kind of question is that? Why are you here?” in fluent Russian.
Kunis interacted in her native tongue while promoting Oz the Great and Powerful with James Franco on a popular Russian talk show. She also spoke Russian in an episode of Family Guy titled Spies Reminiscent of Us.
Keeping Her Heritage Alive
Mila Kunis tied the knot with her That ‘70s Show co-star Ashton Kutcher in 2015, a few months after giving birth to their daughter Wyatt Isabelle. Their family expanded in 2016 when they welcomed son, Dimitri.
Kunis is keeping her Soviet heritage alive through her children, and she wants them to speak her mother tongue. During an appearance on Ellen DeGeneres’s show, the actress revealed that Kutcher started taking lessons with a private tutor before their daughter was born so he could speak to the baby in Russian.
Kunis told MTV that she wants their kids to be fluent in Russian, and added she’ll even consider sending them to a Russian pre-school. We’re yet to see if they’ll put this plan into action, but Kutcher revealed that their daughter can speak English and Spanish, and that’s she’s learning Russian.
Kunis and Kutcher have a pretty unique parenting style, and their main priority is to avoid spoiling their kids and teach them the value of money and hard work.“It’s so important because we both came from pretty solid poverty backgrounds and grew up poor and are very much self-made and are very aware of what a dollar is worth. Nothing’s been handed to us,” explained Kunis during an appearance on The Kyle and Jackie O Show.