The Big Bang Theory

Top 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Kaley Cuoco

You know her as Penny on The Big Bang Theory and you may have been a fan when she was in 8 Simple Rules, but how well do you know the actress, Kaley Cuoco? In this countdown we take a look at the top 5 facts you may not know about this talented actress!

#5: She Played a Young Ellen DeGeneres

All right, so you’re a serious Kaley Cuoco fan and have been since before the “Big Bang Theory.” You loved her back in the days of “8 Simple Rules.” You even thought she totally succeeded in rejuvenating “Charmed” and feel she could’ve carried the series forward. Not to brag or anything, but you predicted her rise to success way back in 2000 after seeing her performance in “Alley Cats Strike”. But did you know that in 1996, she played the titular character from the show “Ellen,” Ellen Morgan, in a brief flashback scene? While the appearance was a one-off, Cuoco would go on to visit Ellen DeGeneres on her talk show many times in later years.


#4: She’s an Excellent Tennis Player

Kaley Cuoco has proven herself to be a talented and successful actress. Another highly competitive area in which she excels… is tennis. As a kid, she ranked regionally in Southern California, and went on to compete at the national level before leaving the sport at the age of 16 to focus on acting. Nonetheless, as lifestyle magazines and entertainment websites love to remind us mere mortals, she stays very active and physically fit. In addition to working out regularly, she is also a competitive horseback rider and owns a horse named Bojangles. Funnily enough, her ex-husband was a professional tennis player, and her most recent flame, Karl Cook, is an equestrian rider.


#3: She Makes the Big Bucks

When Cuoco first signed on to star as Penny in “The Big Bang Theory,” she was reportedly making $60,000 per episode. For the average person, that already sounds like a lucrative gig. But as the show has grown in popularity, so too has her salary and those of her fellow co-stars. As of 2014, Kaley Cuoco, Jim Parsons, and Johnny Galecki each earn a reported $1 million per episode, which, at 24 episodes per season, means they make $24 million per season! Thanks to this “Friends” level salary, Cuoco has ranked among the highest paid television actresses in the mid-2010s. The only one who’s been able to give Cuoco a run for her money is Sofia Vergara of “Modern Family.”

#2: She Was Home-Schooled & Graduated Early

Kaley Cuoco’s character Penny is surrounded by bona fide geniuses. Over the years, she’s evolved to become a stronger character, but generally speaking, her lesser intelligence has often served as a punch line. She’s the “everywoman next door” who emphasizes the extreme brainy qualities of the neighboring nerds. As Sheldon loves to point out, Penny’s education ended with her dropping out of community college. Imagine if Sheldon knew about Cuoco’s real-life education… being home schooled. While the critical, academic-prioritizing super genius and socially inept physicist would likely react with horror, he might change his tune upon discovering that she managed to earn her high school diploma early, at the age of 16. Cute Fact: Ashley Tisdale took her to prom!

#1: She Wasn’t the First Choice to Play the Female Lead

A decade and well over 200 episodes later, it might seem unbelievable, but the leading female role on “The Big Bang Theory” almost went to another actress. In fact… it DID go to another actress. A pilot was initially shot with Canadian actress Amanda Walsh in the lead role, but the test audiences allegedly didn’t respond well to the character. Perhaps it’s because the character wasn’t really Penny – her name was Katie and her character was described as being more “edgy” and “streetwise.” Ultimately, however, she just came across as mean. The role was rewritten and recast with Kaley Cuoco replacing Walsh, and the rest… is geek history. Do you agree with our list? Can you name any other impressive Kaley Cuoco facts? For more charming 10s and accomplished top 5s, be sure to subscribe to MsMojo.

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