Mila Kunis’s heart is with her homeland.
The actress recently spoke out against Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, her native country. Alongside husband Ashton Kutcher, she launched a fundraiser for relief efforts that has already raised more than $20 million of their $30 million goal. And that’s just the beginning of her advocacy for the country.
In a recent interview with Maria Shriver for The Sunday Paper, Mila spoke more about her origins and how her family has reacted to the conflict. She shared:
“I was born in Chernivtsi, Ukraine, and I came to the States in 1991 with my family and we were the last of my family to migrate. When we came to the States, I was 7-and-a-half, 8… I very much have always felt like an American. People were like, ‘Oh, you’re so Eastern European.’ I was like, ‘I’m so L.A. What do you mean?’ My whole life I was like L.A. through and through. Then this happens — and mind you, we have friends in Ukraine, Ash and I went and met with [President Volodymyr] Zelenskyy right before COVID. I’ve been there, but have always considered myself very much an American.”
She went on:
“This happens, and I can’t express or explain what came over me, but all of a sudden I genuinely was, I was like, oh my God, I feel like a part of my heart just got ripped out. It was the weirdest feeling.”
The That 70’s Show alum also shared about explaining the significance of her heritage to her kids, saying:
“I turned to my kids and I was like, ‘You are half-Ukrainian, half-American!’ Like, I literally was like, ‘Look, you!’ And my kids were like, ‘Yeah mom, I get it.’ And I was like, ‘No! You are Ukrainian and American.’ I was like, ‘You are half Iowa, half Ukraine.’ And they’re like, ‘Okay, I get it.’”
It was more surprising for her than anyone. When she was younger, Mila didn’t fully “get it” herself, she admitted:
“It’s been irrelevant to me that I come from Ukraine. It never mattered. So much so that I’ve always said I’m Russian, right? Like I’ve always been, ‘I’m from Russia’ for a multitude of reasons. One of them being when I came to the States and I would tell people I’m from Ukraine, the first question I would get is, ‘Where is Ukraine?’ Then, I’d have to explain Ukraine and where it is on the map, and I was like, ‘Oh my god, that’s exhausting.’ … Oh, hell no, I’m from Ukraine; I mean, everything’s changed.”
That said, she does have empathy for the Russians she once identified with. She asserted:
“I don’t think that we need to consider the people of Russia an enemy. I do really want to emphasize that. I don’t think that that’s being said enough in the press. I think that there’s now, ‘If you’re not with us, you’re against us’ mentality. I don’t want people to conflate the two problems that are happening. I don’t think it’s the people of Russia. I don’t want there to be a thing of ‘all Russians are horrible human beings.’ I don’t want that to be the rhetoric. I do encourage people to look at it from the perspective of, ‘It’s the people in power, not the people themselves.’ “
Those are some very wise words. We’ve already seen many Russians speaking out against the violence. We hope that those pleas — and the efforts of those like Mila — can make an impact on halting the conflict.
Check out more of Mila and Maria’s conversation (below):
[Image via Ashton Kutcher & Mila Kunis/YouTube]
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