Kaley Cuoco Credits Her Entire Career to ‘The Big Bang Theory’

Kaley Cuoco has been acting since she was a child and has played supporting and lead roles on various TV shows over the years, but it wasn’t until she landed her role on The Big Bang Theory that she believes her career really took off. Now that she’s 34, and is finished with her 12 years on the show, she is determined to continue to act, even if she has to pave her own way.

Kaley Cuoco’s early roles

Kaley Cuoco
Kaley Cuoco | Rich Fury/Getty Images

Cuoco started appearing on TV in 1992, making one episode appearances on shows such as Northern Exposure and My So-Called Life. In 1996, she even played a younger version of the titular character on Ellen DeGeneres’ sitcom, Ellen.

Cuoco later went on to reoccurring roles in the shows Ladies Man (2000-2001), and 8 Simple Rules (2002-2005). She also appeared in the last seasons of WB’s hit fantasy drama Charmed as Billie Jenkins, the young protege of the Halliwell sisters.

Kaley Cuoco’s journey on ‘The Big Bang Theory’

Some fans may not know that Cuoco almost didn’t get the part of the token gal pal on The Big Bang Theory. The part was originally written older and gruffer, and she just wasn’t the right fit. When they reimagined the character that eventually became Penny, the contacted her again and brought her in to play the part.

She went on to play Penny for 12 successful seasons of the show. The last episode aired in May of 2019, and in her interview with Access Live just a few months before, she was already dreading the end.

“It’s terrible… we’re so sad. I’m devastated. I’m barely keeping it together,” she said.

She went on to say that even though the last episode wasn’t written yet, there were already plans in place to pre-shoot it before doing the live taping in front of an audience. The producers wanted to be sure they had what they needed, in case the actors got too emotional on the final day.

When asked if she sought advice from any of her famous friends that have had a similar experience, she said she did run into Jennifer Aniston and asked her about the Friends finale. She said Aniston was sweet and told her “your life is changing” and then, Cuoco joked, called security.

In a recent interview, now that the show is put to bed, and she got her wish of that elevator finally getting repaired, she told Entertainment Weekly: “Big Bang was an unforgettable 12 years, I’ll owe my entire career to that show and getting me out there. It’s set in my heart.”

What is Kaley Cuoco doing now?

On top of her TV roles, Cuoco has a strong voice acting career playing characters on Bratz and Disney’s Brandy & Mr. Whiskers. She has most recently worked on the animated series Harley Quinn, streaming exclusively on DC Universe,  as the titular character.

The show starts off with Quinn splitting from the Joker, voiced by Alan Tudyk, and going off with her friends to find her strength again. Lake Bell voices Poison Ivy, and Tudyk also voices Clayface.

Cuoco says the show is politically incorrect and she loves it. “We want to do the show for a long time. We all thought this would just be a fun little thing, but it’s kinda blown up,” she said.

She also started her own production company, Yes, Norman Productions, and got a new project in motion before The Big Bang Theory wrapped. She is following in the footsteps of her idol, Reese Witherspoon, and producing and starring in her company’s first show, The Flight Attendant. She fell in love with the novel and jokes that she scooped up the rights before Witherspoon could get to them. 

She told Access Live of her plans: “We cannot let things just happen, no matter if you’re coming off from the biggest show in the world, it’s not going to be handed to you. I don’t plan to stop any time soon. You gotta keep going.”

The show is currently filming and will air on HBO sometime this year.