Kaley Christine Cuoco was born on November 30, 1985, in Camarillo, California. Kaley was both an athletic and theatrical prodigy; she first appeared in front of the camera at only 8 months old and, by age 3, she was playing tennis, which was her first career aspiration. At 6, Kaley began modeling and took roles in Los Angeles-area stage productions of Annie and Fiddler on the Roof.
Kaley's debut came in the TV movie Quicksand: No Escape (1992), starring Donald Sutherland and Tim Matheson. She continued her small-screen work on such mid-1990s shows as Northern Exposure, My So-Called Life, and Ellen (on which she played the young Ellen).
In 1995, Kaley made her feature debut in Virtuosity alongside Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe, and then appeared in Picture Perfect (1997), starring Jennifer Aniston.
Kaley next appeared in a slew of TV movies, including Toothless (1997), Mr. Murder (1998), Alley Cats Strike (2000), and Growing Up Brady (2000). In 1999, Kaley joined the cast of TV's Ladies Man as Bonnie Stiles, which earned her more attention, but the show was cancelled in 2001. After that disappointment, Kaley struggled through audition after audition for a year and had trouble finding work.
Kaley's luck turned around when she was cast, in the spring of 2002, to play Bridget Hennessy on 8 Simple Rules... for Dating My Teenage Daughter (later shortened to 8 Simple Rules). It was only after Kaley joined the cast that she learned that TV veteran John Ritter (of Three's Company fame) had just signed up. "I've taped sitcom pilots that went nowhere, and I was sure this was another dud," Kaley later admitted. "But the second I met John, I knew I'd never been more wrong."
8 Simple Rules turned out to be a hit and was renewed for a second season. As the whole cast became like a family in real life, Kaley grew especially close to the good-natured Ritter. Just like the father he played on TV, Ritter was critical of many of Kaley's boyfriends -- advice which turned out to be right on the money, as Kaley often discovered for herself.
But in September 2003, tragedy struck. Five days after spending the day at Disney's California Adventure with Kaley and her then-boyfriend, Kevin Zegers, and other ABC stars, John Ritter died suddenly from an aorta tear. Kaley's first instinct was to quit 8 Simple Rules, feeling it had been, in effect, the "John Ritter Show."
But Kaley soon reconsidered, feeling that Ritter would have wanted her to move on. 8 Simple Rules was renewed with added cast member James Garner. "We've just become a family all over again," Kaley says. "We don't want to lose anyone again."
In the meantime, Kaley's career has picked up. In 2004, she appeared in the TV miniseries 10.5 and starred in the TV movie Crimes of Fashion. Kaley's recent credits also include feature films like The Hollow (2004), Lucky 13 (2004), Debating Robert Lee (2004), and Bratz (2005).
Kaley continues to live with her parents, Gary and Layne Cuoco, and her sister, Briana, at home in California, where she is home-schooled.