Kaley Christine Cuoco (/ˈkwoʊkoʊ/ KWOH-koh; born November 30, 1985) is an American actress and producer. After a series of supporting film and television roles in the late 1990s, she landed her breakthrough role as Bridget Hennessy on the ABC sitcom 8 Simple Rules (2002–2005). Thereafter, Cuoco voiced Brandy Harrington on Brandy & Mr. Whiskers (2004–2006) and appeared as Billie Jenkins on the final season of the television series Charmed (2005–2006). She later starred as Penny on the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory (2007–2019), and received a Satellite Award, a Critics' Choice Award, and two People's Choice Awards for the role. Since 2020, Cuoco has starred in and served as executive producer for the HBO Max comedic thriller The Flight Attendant, which received widespread critical acclaim. For this performance, she has received nominations at the Primetime Emmy Awards, the Golden Globe Awards, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, and the Critics' Choice Awards.
Cuoco made her film debut in the thriller television film Quicksand: No Escape (1992). Her film work includes Virtuosity (1995), Toothless (1999), Can't Be Heaven (1999), Alley Cats Strike (2000), Growing Up Brady (2000), Crimes of Fashion (2004), The Hollow (2004), Lucky 13 (2005), To Be Fat like Me (2007), Cougar Club (2007), Killer Movie (2008), The Penthouse (2010), Hop (2011), Authors Anonymous (2014), and The Wedding Ringer (2015). She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2014 and in October 2017 founded Yes, Norman Productions.
Cuoco was born in Camarillo, California, the elder daughter of Layne Ann (née Wingate), a homemaker, and Gary Carmine Cuoco, a realtor. Her father is of Italian descent while her mother is of English and German ancestry. Her sister, Briana, is an actress and singer who competed on the fifth season of The Voice and has a recurring role on the HBO Max series, The Flight Attendant and on Harley Quinn as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl. As a child, Cuoco was a ranked amateur (aspiring) tennis player, a sport she took up when she was 3 years old. She stopped playing at the age of 16 to pursue a career in acting.
1995–2006: Early work and 8 Simple Rules
Cuoco made her first feature film appearance as the young Karin Carter in the 1995 action thriller Virtuosity. From 2000 to 2001, she appeared on the CBS sitcom Ladies Man and in 2000 she portrayed former The Brady Bunch star Maureen McCormick in the TV film Growing Up Brady as well as starring in the Disney Channel original film Alley Cats Strike. In September 2002, she began a starring role as Bridget Hennessy on the ABC sitcom 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter (afterwards 8 Simple Rules). Bridget was the oldest child, despite Cuoco being six years younger than Amy Davidson, who played her younger sister.
In addition to the final season of 8 Simple Rules, Cuoco had starring roles on the NBC miniseries 10.5, the ABC Family original film Crimes of Fashion, the independent film Debating Robert Lee,and in the film The Hollow at the same time. She also voiced the character of Brandy Harrington, a 14-year-old anthropomorphic mixed-breed dog, on the Disney Channel animated series Brandy and Mr. Whiskers. She voiced the character of Kirstee Smith in Bratz from 2004 to 2005. In the eighth season of the TV series Charmed, she appeared as Billie Jenkins, a powerful young witch with the powers of telekinesis and projection. Executive producer Brad Kern stated that Cuoco's character was initially brought in as a possible spin-off.