With a Hollywood career lasting more than two decades and a number of smart investments away from the screen, Ashton Kutcher has enjoyed great financial success. How did he make his money?
Ashton Kutcher first made significant money as an actor, both in TV and movies. He was one of the highest-paid stars in TV during his time on “Two and a Half Men”. Kutcher has greatly increased his wealth in the past decade by investing his money; he was one of the first major investors in Uber, as well as several other tech startups.
For more on Ashton Kutcher’s journey to riches and some of his jobs along the way, keep reading.
Ashton Kutcher’s first jobs were a world apart from the Hollywood glitz and glamour he would enjoy later. Following legal troubles during his senior year at high school, Kutcher lost any hope of the college scholarships that he had been anticipating to help him obtain a degree.
Still, he enrolled at the University of Iowa to study biomechanical engineering.
To pay his tuition fees, he took a job working in his hometown at the Cedar Rapids General Mills plant, in the cereal department. His work included menial tasks such as sweeping up cereal dust. He also resorted to selling his blood plasma to get enough money to pay his way.
While at an Iowa City bar, Kutcher was approached by a model scout who suggested that he should enter a local modeling competition. Kutcher won and part of his prize was entry into a larger contest, which he lost to Josh Duhamel.
Even so, it launched a brief modeling career, appearing for major brands such as Calvin Klein.
With some money in the bank from his summer job and modeling work, Kutcher decided to make a daring move to Hollywood. He had discovered his passion for acting in high school drama classes and left college to move to California.
His big break came when he was cast as Kelso in “That ’70s Show”, a show that launched a number of careers, including that of his future wife, Mila Kunis.
The show’s popularity helped Kutcher get his early movie opportunities, such as in 2000’s “Dude, Where’s My Car?”. Although he was somewhat typecast as dimwitted characters early in his career, Kutcher rebelled against this with roles in movies such as 2004’s “The Butterfly Effect”.
While Kutcher undoubtedly made a good living from these roles, he likely never made more money than during his run on “Two and a Half Men”, where he replaced Charlie Sheen in the show.
Kutcher enjoyed a four-season run and was reportedly the highest-paid sitcom star on TV, earning about $700,000 per episode during the show’s final season.
Kutcher didn’t see his Hollywood success as a reason to rest on his laurels but an opportunity to expand. He is considered one of the biggest Hollywood investors in new technology, having invested money in start-up brands such as Uber and Spotify.
Together with Guy Oseary (the manager of U2 and Madonna) and successful businessman Ron Burkle, Kutcher co-founded A-Grade Investments in 2010.
The trio invested $30 million of their own money into the company and, within six years, had grown the fund to an estimated $250 million. The group’s success led to further investment from some of Hollywood’s rich and famous.
Kutcher has spoken about why he believes technology is a smart investment. He says that most technology is based on the concept of improving people’s quality of life, something that everybody wants, so it can only be a wise investment if the company offers a good product.
For all his success on the screen over the past two decades, it’s his work as a venture capitalist that has provided the bulk of Ashton Kutcher’s wealth.