Kaley Christine Cuoco (born November 30, 1985) is an American actress. She first came to attention for her role as Bridget Hennessy on the ABC sitcom 8 Simple Rules (2002–2005). Cuoco later starred as Billie Jenkins on the final season of the supernatural drama series Charmed (2005–2006). She has gained recognition for her role as Penny on the CBS comedy series The Big Bang Theory (2007–present). Cuoco has also appeared in the films Lucky 13 (2005), The Penthouse (2010), and Hop (2011).
Kaley Cuoco was born in Camarillo, California to realtor Gary Carmine Cuoco and homemaker Layne Ann Wingate. Gary is of Italian descent while Layne is of English and German descent. Her younger sister Briana is a dancer and made appearances on the online web series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries as Mary Bennet and also was a contestant on NBC's The Voice, Season 5. As a child, Cuoco was once a nationally-ranked amateur tennis player, a sport she took up when she was 3 years old. She stopped playing at 16 in 2002.
Cuoco made her first feature film appearance as the young Karin Carter in the 1995 action thriller Virtuosity.
In 1999, Cuoco appeared on the CBS sitcom Ladies Man and in 2000 she portrayed former Brady Bunch star Maureen McCormick in the TV movie Growing Up Brady as well as starring in the Disney Channel Original Movie Alley Cats Strike. In 2002, 16-year-old Cuoco began a starring role as Bridget Hennessy on the ABC sitcom 8 Simple Rules. Bridget was the oldest child, despite Cuoco being 6 years younger than Amy Davidson, who played her younger sister. After co-star John Ritter's death, the show returned on November 4, 2003, with a one-hour episode entitled "Goodbye", which was dedicated to Ritter's memory. Subsequent episodes dealt with the family's reaction to his death and them moving on from it. Due to low ratings, ABC cancelled the series on May 17, 2005.
In addition to the final season of 8 Simple Rules, Cuoco had starring roles on the NBC miniseries 10.5, the ABC Family original movie Crimes of Fashion, the independent film Debating Robert Lee, and in the film The Hollow. She also voiced the character of Brandy Harrington, a 14-year-old anthropomorphic mixed-breed dog, on the Disney Channel cartoon Brandy and Mr. Whiskers. Cuoco voiced the character of Kirstee Smith in Bratz from 2004 to 2005. In the eighth season of the cult TV show Charmed, Cuoco appeared as Billie Jenkins, a powerful young witch with the powers of telekinesis and projection. When the sisters assume new identities during the season's first few episodes, she keeps their secret and does some of their magical legwork for them. Billie spent most of the season trying to find her eldest sister Christy Jenkins, whom the Triad had kidnapped 15 years before. Billie is eventually reunited with her sister, but does not know that she has been turned evil under the influence of demons. After Christy briefly sways her to betray the Charmed Ones, Billie sides with them in the series finale and is forced to kill her sister in self-defense. Executive producer Brad Kern stated that Cuoco's character was initially brought in as a possible spin-off.
In September 2007, Cuoco began starring in the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory, playing Penny, a Cheesecake Factory employee and aspiring actress who lives across the hall from scientists Leonard Hofstadter and Sheldon Cooper. Prior to the 2010–2011 season, she earned $60,000 an episode for the series, the same as her co-stars. In 2010, the cast negotiated a raise for each actor to make $200,000 per episode. On September 13, 2010, she broke her leg in a horse-riding accident and missed two episodes of the series. In late October 2012, Cuoco enlisted the help of her sister Briana, a dancer, to organize a flash mob on the set of the show, in which she and the cast and crew surprised the studio audience by suddenly lip-synching and dancing to Carly Rae Jepsen's then-ubiquitous song "Call Me Maybe". A video of the event was posted on YouTube and became a viral success. A clip from the performance was also played during Cuoco's January 8, 2013 appearance on the late night talk show Conan. As of August 2013, Cuoco and her co-stars from The Big Bang Theory Johnny Galecki and Jim Parsons, each earn $325,000 an episode.
Cuoco starred in the Lifetime film To Be Fat Like Me, which premiered on January 8, 2007. She played a minor role in the Prison Break episodes "The Message" and "Chicago", as well as starring in the comedy horror spoof Killer Movie in 2008. She also appeared in the 2010 film The Penthouse. Cuoco was named number 77 on FHM-Us's 100 Sexiest Women in 2005, number 21 in 2008, and number 6 in 2013. She was also named number 28 on Maxim's annual Hot 100 list in 2010, and number 13 in 2011. In 2011, Cuoco appeared in Allure magazine's annual "Naked Truth" feature. That same year, she appeared in the films Hop and The Last Ride. She was also chosen to host the Teen Choice Awards in 2011, as well as the People's Choice Awards in 2012 and 2013. Cuoco became a regular on priceline.com commercials as William Shatner's character's daughter. She was the violet-suited genie in a series of Toyota RAV4 commercials, which included a commercial at Super Bowl XLVII.
While working on The Big Bang Theory, Cuoco dated her co-star Johnny Galecki for roughly two years. They kept their relationship private until they broke up. Cuoco and Galecki have since remained on good terms. She became engaged to addiction specialist Josh Resnik in October 2011, but they had ended their engagement by March 2012. Cuoco subsequently became engaged to professional tennis player Ryan Sweeting in September 2013, after three months of dating. They married on December 31, 2013 in Santa Susana, California.