Kaley Cuoco‘s career is out of this world. She’s one of the highest paid actresses in television, raking in a cool $1 million per episode for The Big Bang Theory for a total of $26 million in 2017. To her fans, Cuoco is the gorgeous, goofy girl next door whose character, Penny, exudes a gravitational pull on par with the legendary Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston) of Friends — right down to the obsession with her haircuts.
Unfortunately, Cuoco is also a near-constant tabloid presence thanks to her shockingly honest admissions about her personal life, which includes a marriage that ended in an ugly, high-profile split after just 21 months. However, Cuoco’s already remarried to a man she describes as her "perfect match."
As of this writing, The Big Bang Theory is in its final season, leaving Cuoco’s career thereafter up in the air. Can this A-Lister make the transition from a mega-hit to another successful project? Has she finally found peace in her personal life, as well? We’ll explore those questions as we dive into why we’re worried about Kaley Cuoco.
She needs to smash that block button
Cuoco shares a lot on social media, and she does what a lot of celebs don’t — she actually reads the responses. "I’m obsessed," she told Cosmopolitan in 2014. "I openly admit to being totally insane about that." Following her wedding to tennis pro Ryan Sweeting in 2013, she posted photos from the ceremony for her millions of followers on Instagram and Twitter. Following her announcement that she was divorcing Sweeting (more on that in a moment), she deleted every single one of them, but not before reading every comment.
"My husband threatened to throw my phone in the pool," she said. "I’ll read something from someone in Indiana who’s like, ‘She looked disgusting in that dress,’ and it’s going to ruin my night." It pains us to say this, because we adore Cuoco’s accessibility and candor, but she may need to grow some thicker skin or establish boundaries if she’s going to successfully survive her fame.
"I really am an open book," she told Cosmopolitan. "But if I wasn’t in the public eye, I’d be the same exact person. I’d be telling my 18 followers: This is my picture of my wedding." Sometimes you just need to stop caring about what the masses say, Kaley.
A marriage and a tattoo? Sure, why not?
Kaley Cuoco seems to rush headlong into life’s biggest decisions. Case in point: She married Ryan Sweeting less than six months after meeting him, and when she was fresh off a fling with Man of Steel star Henry Cavill. "I knew people were going to think it was ridiculous," she told Cosmopolitan. Less than two years later, she filed for divorce, and the aforementioned social media scrub ensued.
But there was a token of the marriage that wasn’t so easily erased: a tattoo. Cuoco threw caution to the wind on that decision too, inscribing her wedding date between her shoulder blades in large Roman numerals. Her solution for the outdated ink was equally impulsive. She covered up the digits with a large, dark moth.
In an interview on Ellen, Cuoco explained what the tat meant to her. "The significance is it was big enough to cover the numbers," Cuoco joked. "It’s just what I picked out while I was there." It’s a funny anecdote and all, and of course, there are so many other folks out there with regrettable tattoos that Cuoco is hardly alone. But learning a lesson from these two major life moments apparently still wasn’t in the cards for the sitcom star.
In terms of romance, Cuoco has one speed: fast
Seven months after her divorce from Ryan Sweeting, the lead-up to which included a downright nasty back-and-forth in the tabloids from "sources" speaking on behalf of both parties, Kaley Cuoco got engaged to tech billionaire Scott Cook’s son, Karl Cook (above). Granted, the two dated for almost two years before Cook proposed, but that puts the start of their relationship just seven months after Cuoco announced her intention to divorce Sweeting.
That seems fast by any standard, and even Cuoco acknowledges it. Speaking with People in March 2018, she said, "We connected very quickly, but I only found out over time how similar we both were, how similar that we are." To that point, Cuoco said that part of what she loves about Cook is that he indulges her impulsive nature. "He lets me wake up in the morning and say, ‘I want to go and rescue rabbits.’ And he’s like, ‘Alright, let’s get a coffee and let’s go.’ And that is him. We are the same, our views are the same, our morals are the same, he is my perfect match."
Compare that to how Cuoco once described her connection with Sweeting, like in 2013, when she told Entertainment Tonight, "From day one, I just knew immediately and it’s been magic." As of this writing, Cuoco and Cook are undoubtedly enjoying the warm glow of the honeymoon phase. We’re just worried that history could repeat itself for the seemingly easily love-struck star.
Mixing business with pleasure
Prior to her relationship with Karl Cook, Kaley Cuoco’s longest reported relationship was with Big Bang co-star and onscreen husband Johnny Galecki. The pair dated for nearly two years, but kept the relationship private to not distract from the show. Galecki explained their current relationship to CBS Watch! Magazine (via Today) in 2013, three years after their split. "We’re dear friends, still" he said. "She’s not an ex. She’s a part of my life."
Naturally, the news of the secretive fling sent the tabloids into a frenzy, including speculation that Galecki may have had something to do with Cuoco’s divorce from Ryan Sweeting. It got to the point where Cuoco had to label what some folks viewed as suspicious photos of two castmates canoodling at the 2016 People’s Choice Awards with the hastag #notdating. Awkward.
Though Cuoco has obviously moved on with Karl Cook, the odd nature of her relationship with Galecki has still popped up, like in this photo of Galecki and Cook hugging on The Big Bang Theory set that Cuoco shared with the caption, "Ummmmmm then this happened. @sanctionedjohnnygalecki get off my man!" Clearly, Cuoco enjoys having a laugh at the slight cringe factor of the situation, but we’re worried it could get to a point where the awkwardness outweighs the fun.
Does she have body image issues?
Cuoco has talked openly about her evolving relationship with her body, but her rhetoric is often self-deprecating. That’s worrisome because it reveals Cuoco’s insecurities and also reinforces superficial standards to those who look to her as a role model.
In 2014, she told Cosmopolitan that her her boob job at age 18 was "the best decision of my life," but told Ellen DeGeneres in 2016 that "everything’s going downhill," including her implants. When discussing her cover shoot for Shape magazine in 2015, Cuoco told Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show that she dieted on "egg whites, almonds, [and] air," adding, "I was so hungry."
In 2016, Cuoco did a shoot for Women’s Health, highlighting the diet and exercise regime that helps keep her in shape. She shared that as she gets older, she has to work a lot harder to maintain her physique, but then she also said that for dinner that night she was headed "to In-N-Out and doing one of their grilled cheeses, massive fries, and a shake," which she described as "a cheat."
This is classic Cuoco quirkiness, but we worry that it could also be misinterpreted as a flippant attitude toward health and wellness by those who struggle with body image issues on a daily basis.
Is booze an issue?
This one comes with a bit of an asterisk, because we’re not implying that Kaley Cuoco has a problem with alcohol, but she did once make some worrisome statements about hitting the bottle during an interview with Jimmy Kimmel. First, Cuoco said that she once had an awkward encounter with the TSA over several wine-openers she packed into her carry-on, because that’s not an odd thing to need immediately after getting off a plane, right?
Then she went on to confess that she’s a "huge drinker," adding that she recently switched from wine to bourbon, and that she especially loves drinking on planes. "Everyone is like so less annoying when I get to that point, that drinking point — everyone’s great around me," she said in what could be interpreted as her using alcohol as a coping mechanism for social anxiety.
Again, this is a fun anecdote that she told on a talk show, so it’s unclear what amount of embellishment was going on, but at the very least, we’re slightly worried that Cuoco doesn’t seem to understand the concept of "that drinking point" being considered plastered.
She’s still not done fighting trolls
In July 2018, Kaley Cuoco started using social media (above) to document the shoulder surgery she had right after her wedding to Karl Cook. She’s taken the timing of the procedure in stride and joked about it making for an ideal honeymoon, but like all things on the internet, it went awry when commenters turned nasty, slamming a series of workout videos she posted a few weeks later.
Wearing her sling to showcase her proper post-surgery workout techniques, Cuoco also wore a sort-of sheer top that some people felt revealed too much. True to her internet-comment-obsessed form, Cuoco engaged with her haters instead of just letting it go and moving on with her life. "FYI because of my shoulder, I can only get certain bras over my head," Cuoco fired back at one commenter who questioned her choice of undergarment (via People). "NOT THAT ITS ANYONES BUSINESS," she added.
To another Insta-critic, she wrote, "Don’t be jealous. It’s not flattering."
Of course, even celebrities are entitled to defend themselves from online attacks, but at what point does engaging with trolls do more to fan the flames than to snuff them out? We’re worried Cuoco might be burning precious mental energy on the wrong kind of fight.
Life after The Big Bang Theory
This wordy, nerdy comedy has had a great run, but after 12 seasons and more than 200 episodes, it will live on only in reruns. The end of the series was reportedly sparked by star Jim Parsons’ decision to call it a day, according to Entertainment Weekly.
Kaley Cuoco, who signaled prior to Season 11 that she wasn’t sure she was going to renew her contract, has definitely had a change of heart. In an Instagram post addressing the news, the actress wrote, "No matter when it was going to end, my heart would have always been broken in two." She also described herself and the cast as "drowning in tears" over the series’ end.
Sure, that sounds melodramatic, but Cuoco’s career has hinged on Big Bang since 2007, and it hasn’t always been smooth sailing. Rumors of cast in-fighting, salary disputes, and Cuoco’s alleged diva behavior have persisted, despite statements to the contrary. Combine that with the fact that history tells us when a hit television series ends, its stars’ acting opportunities often flounder, and Cuoco has reason to worry.
Will she end up like so many of the cast members of shows such as Friends, Gilmore Girls, How I Met Your Mother, Full House, and more? Or can Cuoco break that cycle and deepen her acting career? Only time will tell.