Ukrainian-born Mila Kunis says her heart is "ripped out" amid war
Los Angeles, California – Mila Kunis, who was born in Soviet Ukraine, is speaking candidly about the impact the war in her homeland has had on her and the way she identifies.
The 38-year-old actor, who was born in Chernivtsi – about 170 miles southwest of Lviv – said Friday that although she’s "always considered myself very much an American," something changed in her following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s deadly invasion of Ukraine late last month.
"This happens and I can’t express or explain what came over me, but all of a sudden ... I was like, oh my God, I feel like a part of my heart just got ripped out. It was the weirdest feeling," the Friends with Benefits star told Maria Shriver during the latter’s Conversations Above the Noise web series.
"I came to the United States in 1991 with my family. And we were the last of my family to migrate," said Kunis, noting that much of her family was either in concentration camps during World War II or migrated shortly before.
"So when we came to the States, I was 7 1/2, 8, I very much have always felt like an American. There’s no part of me that ever – people are like, 'Oh, you’re so Eastern European.' I was like, 'I’m so LA, what do you mean?'"
"My whole life, I was like, 'I’m LA through and through.' And then this happens."
Family and friends in Ukraine
Kunis said that she and husband Ashton Kutcher visited Ukraine shortly before the pandemic, and even met with President Volodymyr Zelensky.
She noted her family to this day has "lots of friends still there."
"I was talking to ... one of my best friends, who came here not that long ago and has his whole family still in Odessa, and I was like, 'How is it over there?'" said Kunis.
"A) They refuse to evacuate – male, female, children all stayed. And B) they all go to work every day. So they’re in their bomb shelter at night, they wake up in the morning, they take whatever weapon ... they have to protect themselves in the city and they go to their office to continue working."
"It is a different breed of people."
Kunis and Kutcher (44) last week launched a GoFundMe, through which they hope to raise $30 million for the eastern European country. The couple themselves even donated $3 million to "Stand with Ukraine."
Cover photo: IMAGO / APress