You may not know her name, but you certainly know her face. CBS’s The Big Bang Theory is now entering its twelfth (and final) season and its stars are having the time of their lives. Thanks to the popularity of the show, you’ve seen actress Kaley Cuoco’s face everywhere. Kaley plays the popular Penny (no last name… at least we didn’t know it until she married) on the show and was the lone main female in the cast until the additions of Melissa Rauch (Bernadette) and Mayim Bialik (Amy). Thing is, while the show shot Kaley to stardom, she’s actually been around in Hollywood since she was a little kid.
As The Big Bang Theory comes to a close later next year, Kaley can now look forward to branching out and expanding her talents (whether she chooses to stay on the small screen, or move to the big screen). She has literally grown up before our eyes, so it will be interesting what she does with her life after the award-winning comedy series. But for now, we’re going to reflect on her past and all the things you didn’t really know about the actress. Here are 25 interesting things you probably never knew about Kaley!
25 Horses Are Her Jam
This woman is a MAJOR equestrian, and you can tell just by glancing at her Instagram feed. Kaley has been horseback riding since she was only 15-years old (she is also a trainer). While she appears to be obsessed with all horses, the one that has her heart is her horse Bojangles. Bojangles has turned into a star on Kaley’s Instagram, and her husband, Karl Cook, even appears and poses with the horse. Kaley once captioned under a picture of Bojangles and Cook, “Not sure who I’ll miss more.”
24 She Was In A Barbie Commercial When She Was Little
Everyone all recognizes Kaley from Big Bang Theory, but she has been on TV since she was very young. Before starring on the award-winning comedy, she starred with the late John Ritter on the comedy series 8 Simple Rules For Dating My Daughter which some do recognize her from. But way before that, Kaley actually starred in a Barbie commercial. Of course, judging by her cuteness, amazing talent, and her knack for the camera, she completely slayed in the commercial.
23 Yes, She Has Dated Her Co-Stars Before
In the non-famous world, no one seems to make a fuss when Debra from HR starts dating Patrick from Accounting at your place of work, but when you’re as super famous as Kaley, your love life becomes front page news. Kaley’s most high-profile relationship was actually with her Big Bang Theory co-star Johnny Galecki, who also happens to be her on-air love and husband. They were together for a while, but in the end, they decided friendship was a better relationship. They’re still very close friends and still have insane chemistry on the show.
22 She's A Child Prodigy
On the comedy series, Kaley’s character Penny is always picked on for her less-than-genius intellect by the other characters on the show (while everyone else is a doctor and/or scientist, Penny is an actress/former waitress/pharmaceutical rep). However, on in real life, Kaley actually finished high school at the very young age of 16. She was homeschooled, which enabled her to get all her schoolwork done while attending auditions. The list of incredibly intelligent actors in Hollywood is a short one, and she’s high on that list.
21 She Was A Young Ellen DeGeneres
Kaley certainly has the versatile abilities to play most roles in Hollywood. She was even that way when she was young and actually played a young Ellen DeGeneres. Before the comedian was a world-famous talk show host, she starred in a 1990’s sitcom titled Ellen. In Season 4, Kaley actually played a young Ellen during a memory episode. Kaley played Ellen at camp when she was a child. Kaley had short hair like the older actress and her comedic timing was spot on.
20 Kaley Was Once A (Nationally) Ranked Tennis Player
Before Kaley became a famous actress she was actually an amateur tennis player who competed in junior leagues. Back in 2000, she was ranked sixth during the 2000 USA National Open Championship among junior and college tennis players. Kaley was actually married to tennis star Ryan Sweeting for a period (now it makes sense how they met). Kaley still plays tennis occasionally, but only recreationally. Hey, if she ever decides she wants to leave the acting game, good to know she has a cool backup.
19 Yes, She Too Has Tattoos She Regrets
Some of us all have ink we regret. Whether you were young and now hate that butterfly tattoo you have on your ankle, or you got a date that is no longer significant in your life, tattoos that we no longer love can be a real pain. Kaley had a tattoo on the bottom of her neck of hers and ex-husband’s wedding date in Roman numerals. “The [wedding] tattoo was a mistake,” Kaley told Ellen DeGeneres on her talk show. “I had to cover it.” Kaley ended up covering up the tattoo with a moth tattoo.
18 She So Closely Resembled Maureen McCormick, That She Was Hired To Play A Young Marcia Brady
A lot of actresses have tried to channel the famous character Marcia Brady from the hit 1970’s television series The Brady Bunch, who was played originally by actress Maureen McCormick. Well, in the 2000 biography drama Growing Up Brady a made-for-television movie, Kaley actually played Maureen. The movie was actually based off of the 1992 autobiography Growing Up Brady: I Was A Teenage Greg, written by Barry Williams, who played Greg Brady on the show. We seem to think that Kaley made an excellent Marcia Brady (even if she was just playing the actress who played the character).
17 The Six Degrees Of A Backstreet Boy
When you’re young and beautiful, chances are you may star in a cheesy horror flick or five. Just ask any actress, like Renee Zellweger and Jennifer Aniston. Kaley falls in line with those uber famous actresses. Only in Kaley’s case, she actually starred with one of the most famous members of the hit boy-band, Backstreet Boys – Nick Carter. The movie was called The Hollow and it was a 2004 direct-to-video release. She also starred in another horror movie that didn’t perform too well called Killer Movie with Leighton Meester and Nestor Carbonell.
16 You May Recognize Her Voice From A Lot Of Cartoons
A great deal of A-list actors are now lending their voices to cartoons (ever watch the Netflix hit series BoJack Horseman? There’s a whole slew of A-listers lending out their voices there) but Kaley was doing back before it got super popular. After her series 8 Simple Rules was canceled, Kaley lent her voice to numerous characters in the series based off of Bratz and she even lent her voice to a Looney Toon in Loonatics Unleashed. Even after she became massively famous, she still would lend her voice to a Canadian cartoon called 6Teen.
15 She Once Got Into A Very Serious Accident While Riding
If you follow Kaley on Instagram, you know she’s not shy about sharing any for her personal details about her life. Especially if she gets hurt. Back in 2010, Kaley actually broke her leg during a Saturday horse-riding lesson. What happened was, her horse was dangerously spooked and the actress ended up falling off. Her horse then tried to get out of the way by leaping over her, but accidentally ended up landing on her left leg instead. “I looked, and I’m like, wow, my foot’s facing me,” she said when talking about it. “And I was like, that’s not normal.”
14 The Girl Has Some Serious Pipes
On The Big Bang Theory, there was an episode where Penny was jokingly singing, and it terrified all the other characters who actually heard her voice. But in real life? Kaley actually has some great pipes. After she broke her leg and almost lost her foot, Kaley and her then-boyfriend Christopher French (who was in a singing group called Annie Automatic) sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. They then recorded the song for the Human Society of the United States in order to support animal adoption. Now, why didn’t they put THAT on the comedy series?
13 She's A Take-Charge Sort Of Woman
If you’ve ever watched The Big Bang Theory, there was always one that really stood out about Kaley’s character Penny: she really intimidates men. Her character was built that way. Sure, her character may be sweet, friendly, and approachable, but once the audience starts seeing her in a long-term relationship, you notice something about her. While she is extremely loving, she also somewhat intimidating to the men in her life. Apparently, her character gets that from Kaley in real life. Men have often been intimidated by Kaley because she “usually has to take charge in a relationship.” Just means she’s a very strong woman.
12 She Took Slack For Loving Being A “Housewife”
Kaley made waves in 2017 for “not considering herself a feminist”. When asked by a journalist in Redbook if she considers herself a feminist, she responded in a way that some people didn’t respond well too. “Is it bad if I say no?” she said. “It’s not really something I think about. Things are different now, and I know a lot of the work that paved the way for women happened before I was around.” She then said that she’s a typical “housewife” who cooks for her husband five nights a week, and how much she loves it. Of course, people weren’t too happy about it, but Kaley let the criticism roll off her back.
11 You Can Find Her Pup On Instagram
In this day and age, you can actually find people’s pets on social media. So you can naturally expect an animal lover like Kaley to make social media accounts for her beloved pets. If you follow Kaley, you’ll notice her unusual Instagram handle: @normancook. The name is actually named after her adopted pup, Norman. At first, the account was actually Norman’s (she, of course, ran it) but Kaley eventually took over the account name for herself! It’s actually a really charming story.
10 She (And Her Big Bang Cast) Once Started A Flash Mob
Once upon a time, flash mobs were the ultimate must-see. You saw them all over romantic comedies, and if you were really lucky, you actually saw them in real life. Back in 2012, the entire cast of The Big Bang Theory actually started a flash mob in order to surprise the showrunners on the comedy series. And their song of choice? Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”. Kaley, of course, led the cast, which surprised the heck out of showrunners Chuck Lorre, Bill Prady, and Steve Molaro during a live taping.
9 Her Hubby Is An Actual Billionaire
Earlier this summer, Kaley actually tied the knot with equestrian Karl Cook in a wedding ceremony in San Diego. She posted a bunch of photos of the beautiful day (and fun filled day) on her Instagram account. What a lot of people don’t know is that Cook is actually a billionaire, but that wasn’t the draw for Kaley (who is rich herself). Both of them are obsessed with horses and animals, so the union seemed like the absolute perfect match. And if you go on either of their Instagram accounts, you can see how very much in love they are.
8 Animals Are Her World
Outside of acting, Kaley’s passion is animals. “If there is one variety of pet owner that Kaley Cuoco absolutely cannot stand, it’s the indifferent type,” an LA Times article started out. “The ones who, unlike their furry companions, lack loyalty. The ones whose commitment to their animals is conditional.” Kaley rescues all sorts of animals, not just dogs and horses. When she commits to an animal, she’s in it for the long haul. She is heavily involved in animal rescue work (that started out with pit bulls and then expanding to more exotic animals).
7 Instead Of A Honeymoon, She Had Shoulder Surgery
The one thing you hope would never happen at all in your lifetime, is getting majorly hurt on your honeymoon, which is supposed to be one of the happiest times of your life. Five days after she and Cook married, she underwent shoulder surgery. “When your ‘honeymoon’ is shoulder surgery and your husband looks just as happy lol on the road to recovery,” the actress posted under a picture of her in the hospital on Instagram. “Thank you for all the love and support!” She also commented, “Thank god my hair color is on point.”
6 She Gets Just As Star Struck As All Of Us
It’s hard to believe that even A-list celebrities get star struck around famous people. Turns out, Kaley gets just as wide-eyed and speechless around certain actors and actress. One being actress Kathy Bates, who guest starred in The Big Bang Theory last season. Bates played the mother of character Amy during the Season 11 season finale and Kaley, like everyone else, was desperately star struck. She said that she was too afraid to ask for a selfie, so she just stood NEAR her while a co-worker took a picture. She would then post that pic on Instagram and admit her fear of asking for a photo with the famous Bates.
5 She Is A Complete And Utter(ly) Charming Goof-Off
Everyone who follows Kaley understands one thing about her: she’s a giant goofball, and she’s not afraid to show it off in her photos. Almost every other picture of her is of her playing around with her animals, her beloved puppies, and her enchanting horse. It’s clear that she’s utterly charming and that everyone around her is drawn into her sunny orbit. You can see it in the faces of her friends, family, and her husband whenever she poses with them and attempts to get them to crack up laughing. It’s simply darling.
4 She's Obsessed With Social Media Which Makes Her A Fan Favorite
Kaley isn’t like most actresses (the ones that aren’t involved in reality television). While she’s somewhat active on Twitter, her main dish is Instagram. Kaley is constantly sharing photos with her fan base and interacts with them on a daily basis. She loves sharing photos of her life and of her pets with fans (and her friends and co-stars who are on Instagram). It’s completely adorable how much she shares (without over-sharing). It really feels like she’s in the real lives of her fan base.
3 She Has Her Own Production Company
In Hollywood these days, it seems like every A-list actor or actress has a production company. Kaley is one of those very actors. And, you guessed it, it was named after her rescue pup Normal. Her production company, who also includes Chuck Lorre Productions veteran Suzanne McCormack, is called Yes, Norman Productions. Kaley started the company back in 2017 and it’s responsible for developing and producing both TV and film projects. It also has an exclusive multi-year pod deal with Warner Bros. (the studio behind The Big Bang Theory).
2 John Ritter’s Passing Still Hurts
Years ago, Kaley played the late actor John Ritter’s daughter in the comedy series 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Daughter (which was later shortened down to the title 8 Simple Rules). Ritter passed away in 2003 on the set of the comedy series from an aortic dissection during rehearsal on set. Every year on the anniversary of his death (September 11th), Kaley posts tribute to her on-air father. It was clear that the two were extremely close and she still thinks about him to this very day.
1 She’s Just As Down To Earth As You Would Expect
Every co-worker that Kaley has ever had have always been completely enthralled with both her talent and her as a person. She and her co-workers have always been able to joke around with each other (especially on Instagram). She’s done so much work with and for the SPCA, that it’s easy to see how amazing she actually is. Thing is, you don’t expect someone as stunning as she is to be as caring for her fans and to the people who are constantly around her on a day-to-day basis. It’s incredibly refreshing.