The Big Bang Theory star Kaley Cuoco will certainly have a lot more time on her hands now that the show she’s been on for over a decade has wrapped. The sitcom centered on a group of scientists and their blonde waitress neighbour initially kicked off in 2007, and put Cuoco on the map. However, she had been a regular on television before then, and actually got one of her first major television roles when she was just starting out, on 8 Simple Rules.
Cuoco has appeared in a few movies over the years as well, but her busy television schedule hasn’t allowed her to focus on a big screen career that heavily. Perhaps now that she’s no longer playing Penny, she’ll be able to pursue different opportunities. Or, perhaps she’ll find yet another television show to become a regular cast member on.
Regardless of what her next career move is, she’s earned her fair share of fans over the years — so here are 20 things you may not have known about the star.
20 She Was A Child Star
For those who only know Cuoco from The Big Bang Theory, it can be easy to assume that was one of her first roles. However, she’s been in the industry since she was a child. She got her start in commercials and had quite a few smaller roles on television throughout the ‘90s and ‘00s before eventually becoming a regular.
19 She Did Several Barbie Commercials As A Child
When auditioning for commercials as a child actor, it seems that Cuoco’s blonde hair was a major asset. Over the course of her childhood, she actually ended up appearing in about six Barbie commercials. Now, the only question is, was she able to take home a few dolls at the end of the shoot? That would be a cool perk for a kid.
18 She's Besties With Former 8 Simple Rules Co-Star Amy Davidson
Often actors leave a set and never really stay in touch, but that’s not what happened with Cuoco and Amy Davidson. The two co-starred as sisters on 8 Simple Rules, and the experience struck up a strong friendship. Though the show has been long off the air, they’re still BFFs who regularly spend time together.
17 She's Totally Obsessed With Horses
If you follow Cuoco on IG, you’ve probably seen her many selfies taken with horses and while out riding. She’s a huge horse lover, and even ended up marrying an equestrian, Karl Cook. She’s been into horseback riding since her teenage years, and even occasionally enters in various competitions under an alias to showcase her skills.
16 She's A Pro On The Tennis Court
Before Cuoco made her mark in Hollywood, she debated taking a different career path entirely — into the world of professional sports. As a teenager, she actually competed in tournaments and was once ranked in the top 10 for the National Open Championship as a junior. Nowadays, she just plays for fun — but she’s probably far more skilled on the court than your average celebrity.
15 She Secretly Dated Her Co-Star Johnny Galecki For Years
Many celebrities try to keep their relationships a secret for as long as possible in order to avoid the paparazzi and public scrutiny. It’s an even trickier situation when you work on the same show together. That’s why Cuoco and her The Big Bang Theory co-star Johnny Galecki ended up keeping their romance on the down low for the full two years they were dating.
14 She Got Surgery At 18 — And Couldn't Be Happier With Her Choice
There are many, many celebrities who hide their decision to get surgery, but Cuoco isn’t one of them. When she was just 18, she opted to go under the knife to gain some extra curves, and she’s been open about the fact that it was a great decision for her. It was all about a boost in confidence for the star.
13 She Was Home Schooled
Cuoco got her start in the industry as a teenager, which made attending regular school difficult. So, in order to allow her to pursue her dream, her parents decided to home school her. She actually ended up getting her high school diploma at just 16 so she could focus on her acting ambitions.
12 She Wasn't The First Pick For Penny
It’s hard to imagine anyone else in the role of Penny, but it turns out, Cuoco wasn’t the first choice for the role. Actress Amanda Walsh was first cast opposite the brainy men on the show, playing a different character entirely. The writers and producers didn’t love the character, so they rewrote her, and casted someone else entirely — Cuoco.
11 She Almost Lost Her Foot In A Horseback Riding Accident
Though Cuoco is skilled on horseback, that doesn’t mean she’s able to avoid all accidents. Back in 2010, she fell off a horse during one of her riding sessions. The creature got spooked and ended up stomping on her foot and leg, and the damage was so bad she nearly had to get her foot amputated. Luckily, the doctors managed to save her limb in surgery.
10 She's Musically Talented
Cuoco hasn’t really played any super musical characters yet, but she certainly could. The actress is apparently musically inclined, and even supported one of her favourite charities, the Humane Society, by recording a cover of a song. Maybe one of her next roles will be as a singer or rock star, and allow her to show off her pipes.
9 At One Point, She Was Making $1 Million Per Episode Of The Big Bang Theory
When a show is successful and on the air for a while, the stars often are able to negotiate for major raises. That’s exactly what Cuoco did. At one point, she managed to snag a cool $1 million per episode for playing Penny on screen, which is quite a big deal for episode after episode. She can certainly be picky about the projects she chooses nowadays!
8 She Has Her Own Production Company
Back in 2017, Cuoco decided she wanted to flex her creative muscles in a different way in the industry and step behind the camera. So, she created her production company; Yes, Norman Productions. One of her first major projects was to adapt the book The Flight Attendant, which has been announced as a TV movie according to IMDB.
7 She's A Huge Animal Lover With Many Pets
Cuoco is a huge animal lover who frequently shows her support for animal-centric charities. And, she also makes sure her home is overflowing with furry friends. She has several rescue dogs as well as rabbits and even a miniature horse, Shmooshy. She often shares pictures of her menagerie and they’re all totally adorable.
6 She Has A Younger Sister, Briana
There are a few celebrity siblings in the entertainment industry, and Cuoco might eventually be one of them. She has a younger sister, Briana, who competed on a season of The Voice and appeared in an episode of The Big Bang Theory. She hasn’t yet managed to strike it big like her sister, but who knows — perhaps one day they’ll walk the red carpet together on the regular.
5 She Voiced An Animated Dog
Cuoco certainly has a memorable and expressive voice, so it may not come as a surprise that she’s done some voiceover work. She was chosen to voice Brandy Harrington, a dog, on the Disney channel show Brandy and Mr. Whiskers. We wouldn’t be surprised to see even more voiceover work in her schedule soon, if that’s what she wants to pursue.
4 She's A Vegetarian
Given how passionate Cuoco is about animals, it makes sense that the star is actually a vegetarian. It may make navigating craft services on set a bit more difficult, but it’s something she believes in. You won’t find her captured by the paparazzi tucking into a steak on date night or chowing down on a burger — unless it’s a veggie burger, that is.
3 Baths Are Her Go-To For Stressful Situations
Everyone deals with stress in a different way. For Cuoco, the ideal solution is to hop into the bath tub and simply soak for a while until all her worries disappear. Baths are a great solution for stress and anxiety, and Cuoco probably has a super luxe master bathroom set up for ultimate relaxation.
2 She Was A Bold Flirter In Her Single Days
While Cuoco is married now, there was a time when she was a young, single girl in Hollywood. And, as she told Playboy back in 2011, she was never the type to wait for a guy to make the first move. She confessed that she was super bold and not afraid to approach guys and get her flirt on.
1 She's A Huge Britney Spears Fan
There are many celebrities who absolutely love the princess of pop Britney Spears, and it turns out that Cuoco is one of them. When she’s driving to her auditions now that she’s no longer a series regular, she might just find herself blasting a little Britney to boost her confidence en route.
References: E! Online, Us Magazine, Ranker, Fame 10, Useless Daily