Ashton Kutcher got emotional while speaking about both his own recent health scare and his twin brother Michael‘s lifelong struggles with cerebral palsy.
The actor and his brother did their first sit-down interview together for the premiere episode of Paramount Plus’s The Checkup With Dr. David Agus, during which they spoke candidly about Michael’s disorder and needing a heart transplant. In a clip from that episode, Kutcher recalls going to visit his brother in the hospital with tears in his eyes. “So then my dad comes, picks me up, and it’s like, we’re going to go see your brother and I’m like…everything is not okay,” he shared. “And he flatlines in the room. And I know that noise because now I’ve been visiting occasionally and watching the thing go and it flatlines out. And they’re like, ‘You’ve got to [go],’ and they’re grabbing me, and they take me out and I’m like, ‘what the hell is going [on]?’” In the video, Michael goes to hold his brother’s hand as Kutcher wipes away a tear.
The Butterfly Effect star first shared his brother’s diagnosis with the public during a 2003 TV interview. Michael told Today Parents in 2021 that he had always tried to hide his cerebral palsy, so when Kutcher first shared it with the world, “I was very angry. Very angry. I remember speaking to him about it. I didn’t want to be the face of CP. I never talked about it.” But ultimately, he added, the actor “did me the biggest favor he’s ever done because he allowed me to be myself. My brother’s daily actions remind me that life isn’t about running around challenges—it’s about running through them.”
Kutcher is now also facing a very serious challenge of his own, revealing this summer on an episode of Running Wild with Bear Grylls: The Challenge that he had been diagnosed with a rare form of vasculitis, a condition that causes inflammation of the blood vessels. The disease left him temporarily unable to see, hear, or walk, and feeling “lucky to be alive.” In a clip from The Checkup, the actor once again addresses that scary experience, explaining, “I was unable to walk and suddenly can’t see…When you have this face to face with death you instantly lock in to what are you doing with today.” He told Grylls he has since been able to “fully recover,” but it took him a year to “build it all back up.” Kutcher added, “You don’t really appreciate it until it’s gone. Until you go, ‘I don’t know if I’m ever going to be able to see again, I don’t know if I’m ever going to be able to hear again, I don’t know if I’m ever going to be able to walk again.’”