Michael Kutcher is happy to have found his voice.
In an interview with “Today” Parents, the twin brother of actor Ashton Kutcher opened up about living with cerebral palsy, and having his brother reveal the diagnosis to the world in a 2003 interview.
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“I was very angry. Very angry. I remember speaking to him about it,” Michael said. “I didn’t want to be the face of CP. I never talked about it.”
But that feeling of anger soon went away, as the 43-year-old explained, and he is now thankful for Ashton — known to his family as Chris — talking about his condition.
“Chris did me the biggest favour he’s ever done because he allowed me to be myself,” he said
Months after his cerebral palsy was revealed, Michael got a call from a woman in Iowa who asked if he would like to speak at a gala for the disease.
While he wasn’t sure at first if he wanted to speak at the event, he agreed to meet the woman for coffee.
“She had her 5-year-old daughter with her. A sweet little girl named Bella with a smile so bright and big,” Michael recalled. “Her cerebral palsy was quite severe and she couldn’t talk.”
He went on, “I realized I needed to let go of the shame I felt and be a champion for people like Bella. I was finally ready to tell my story and I knew because of my twin, I’d have a big reach.”
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Talking about growing up, Michael said that his family was very supportive, but he still faced many challenges outside the house.
“I had all of the stereotypes that come with having a disability. I was called every name in the book on the playground. I had difficulty making friends,” he said. “But I had Chris there to help me and support me.”
Ashton was always there, though, to stand up for him.
“My brother picked a fight with them. He stood up for me. He wanted them to treat me with respect,” Michael said. “And that meant a lot.”
Looking at his life now, Michael said, “I love who I am. I love the impact I’ve been able to make, the people I’ve been able to touch. And I wouldn’t have been able to do that If I didn’t have these obstacles, or as I like to call them — an opportunity.”