Mila Kunis has been a household name in Hollywood ever since she landed a role on That ’70s Show as a teenager. Since then, she’s starred in popular comedies like Bad Moms, Ted and Friends With Benefits (who isn’t jealous that she got to smooch Justin Timberlake, the man of our middle school dreams). She even garnered a Golden Globe nomination for her supporting role in Black Swan, the star’s darkest film to date. For a while, it seemed like Kunis was absolutely everywhere — effortlessly switching from comedy to psychological thriller to voice acting role — but today, you probably won’t see her walk a red carpet.
As it turns out, the Ukrainian born star and her husband Ashton Kutcher (who used to play her TV boyfriend) have been focusing on a number of projects behind or away from the cameras. This is the real reason it seems like Mila Kunis disappeared from Hollywood.
Even before Kunis started her family, she didn’t have a very hopeful outlook on aging in Hollywood. If sun damage supposedly ages skin faster, the spotlight might as well be nuclear. Tinsel Town is notoriously unkind to women, and Kunis was gearing up for the backlash (even if she was, at the time, only 29 years old).
In a 2013 interview with Playboy (via Us Weekly), Kunis admitted that “for a woman” things get — in the words of James Franco — “weird when you’re older.” She admitted it’s harder to land roles, when that’s not really the case for a man. Even though there are the Meryl Streeps of the world, she wasn’t banking on becoming one of them.
“Listen, I’d love to [be like Meryl Streep], but I wouldn’t presume or assume to be that,” Kunis said (via Us Weekly). “If I’m lucky enough to have a career remotely close to hers, great. If I’m not, I’m not going with the expectation of having one. …It all depends on whether people care to see me in five years or not, and you can’t predict that. It’s weird that at the age of 29 I’m talking about aging in this industry, but the truth is I don’t think I can do this for the rest of my life.”
Kunis might be spending less time on-screen than when she was a teenager starring in That 70s Show, but the Golden Globe-nominated actress is still frequently on set. In her 2013 interview with Playboy (via Us Weekly), the star admitted that her dream was actually a role behind the scenes. “I want to be a producer,” she said (via Us Weekly). “That’s really what I want, because I love this work in a weird, sick way. But I also want a life. I want a family — just, like, one day, not tomorrow.”
Not long after her Playboy interview, Kunis made her dream a reality. According to Deadline, the star launched her own production studio, Orchard Farm Productions, and signed a deal with ABC to produce “TV projects for broadcast and cable.” She’s since served as executive producer for 2014’s The Angriest Man in Brooklyn and 2017’s A Bad Mom’s Christmas.
Kunis is the proud mother of a young daughter and baby boy, and she planned to be a very hands-on parent since the beginning. In a 2014 interview with W Magazine, the Ukrainian beauty admitted that she was excited to become a full-time mom, though she wasn’t sure if she’d be sick of it after a year of not working.
The idea of staying at home to raise her children is a stark contrast from the way Kunis grew up. According to A Plus, she came to the United States from the Ukraine on a religious-refugee visa when she was a child. While both of her parents worked full-time jobs in the States, at least they did work in a single location. Kunis, however, told Playboy (via Us Weekly) that she’s “never in the same place for more than two months. How am I ever going to have a family like that?” Instead, she wanted to be a more “present mom.”
“If that means I do one movie a year, if people still want to see me and hire me and I don’t suck by that point, great,” she told Playboy (via Us Weekly). “But my only source of happiness can’t be dependent on something so fickle. And I find this industry to be incredibly fickle.”