The No Strings Attached actor opened up about his twin brother’s diagnosis with cerebral palsy during a 2003 interview.
However, according to Michael, who was diagnosed with the disorder that affects a person’s ability to move when he was three, he hadn’t wanted the world to know about his disease - or be known as the “face of CP”.
“I was very angry. Very angry. I remember speaking to him about it,” Michael told Today. “I didn’t want to be the face of CP. I never talked about it.”
Despite his initial anger, Michael, who now works as a representative for the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, told the outlet that he now looks back on the moment with gratitude, as it allowed him to embrace who he really was.
Using Kutcher’s real name Chris, his twin brother said: “Chris did me the biggest favor he’s ever done because he allowed me to be myself.”
According to Michael, after his diagnosis became public knowledge, he was contacted by a woman who had wanted to know if he would speak at a gala about his life experience with the disease.
Reflecting on the meeting, the 43-year-old recalled how the woman had brought her five-year-old daughter Bella, who also had cerebral palsy.
It was in that moment that Michael said he realised he needed to “let go” of his shame and become a champion for others with the disease.
“I realised I needed to let go of the shame I felt and be a champion for people like Bella,” he said. “I was finally ready to tell my story and I knew because of my twin, I’d have a big reach.”
While speaking with Today, Michael also opened up about what it was like growing up with the actor as his brother, revealing that his twin frequently stood up for him against bullies.
One moment from their childhood when the brothers were riding their bikes stands out to Michael, who recalled how his brother had tried to pick a fight with bullies who were taunting his twin.
According to Michael, the fact that his brother had wanted the other children to treat him with respect “meant a lot”.
Michael also revealed other gestures that his brother did to make him feel included, such as ensuring his twin also received invitations to sleepovers.
“Most of the time they’d say yes, but sometimes they’d say no and Chris would go: ‘Well, then I’m not coming,’” Michael recalled, adding: “Chris would tell me:‘I wish I could take all of this off of you - and take it myself.”