Mark and Elvira Kunis immigrated to the United States from Ukraine in 1991
Mila Kunis has two incredibly supportive parents: Mark and Elvira Kunis.
The family, including Mila's older brother Michael, immigrated to the United States from Ukraine in 1991 when Mila was just 7 years old. She spoke to the Los Angeles Times in 2008 about how her parents came to the States with just $250.
“It was right at the fall [of the Soviet Union]," she said. "It was very communist, and my parents wanted my brother and me to have a future, and so they just dropped everything. They came with $250.”
While Mila said she "adjusted fairly quickly and fairly well” to the move, she also admitted to the outlet that she "blocked out second grade completely." She explained, "I have no recollection of it. I always talk to my mom and my grandma about it. It was because I cried every day. I didn’t understand the culture. I didn’t understand the people. I didn’t understand the language."
In the years since, Mila has enjoyed a successful acting career with the support of her parents. In fact, Mark and Elvira initially enrolled her in acting classes when she was just 9 years old.
So, who are Mila Kunis' parents? Here’s everything to know about Mark and Elvira Kunis and their relationship with the actress.
Mila and her parents were religious refugees from Ukraine
Mila was born in the then-Soviet city Chernivtsi (which is located in present-day Ukraine) and lived there for seven years until her family immigrated to the United States as religious refugees.
While her parents were ready for the move, her grandfather was initially resistant. However, he jokingly changed his mind once he saw a special American delight: Disneyland.
"His brother had moved to L.A. in the '70s," Mila told PEOPLE in November 2022. "When my grandfather visited, he took him, and it, of all places, transformed his perspective on the possibilities of the West. He came back to Russia and said, 'We're leaving.' "
The Luckiest Girl Alive actress also shared how she planned on passing down her Ukrainian Jewish heritage to her children, making sure they grew up eating her mother's food and understanding Russian.
She added that while she is originally Ukrainian, she is also "very American" since she was raised in L.A., though she'd "never been more proud to be from Ukraine."
“I'm so honored my kids can carry on that heritage. When you're little, all you want to do is assimilate," she told PEOPLE. "As horrible as so many things are in the world today, the ‘you're different, and that's a cool thing’ sense of identity is new. I'm grateful for that.”
Mila’s parents did not tell her they were moving to the United States
Mila's parents may have been determined to uproot their family for a better life, but they weren't ready to loop a 7-year-old Mila into that plan.
“My parents took it upon themselves to lie to me and tell me we were moving up the street ... and then one day we weren't moving up the street, we were on a train and then we got to Moscow, and then we got on a plane and all of that was very new to me," she said. "A train was new, the plane was new. I had Coca-Cola for the first time. The entire experience was very new.”
She explained that Mark and Elvira didn't want to tell her for fear that she would tell other people they were moving to America on a refugee visa, which she said "just wasn't something you flaunted."
Mark and Elvira both changed their careers
When they moved to the U.S., Mark and Elvira found new jobs. Mila explained to The Daily Telegraph in 2011 that their degrees were nontransferable, but they didn't have time to seek out new educations.
When they first came to the States, Mark held several jobs, from driving a cab to delivering toilets and painting houses. "He did every job so that my brother and I could be fed," Mila said. "They didn’t have time to go back and get their degrees because who was going to feed the children?”
In April 2017, Mila told HouzzTV, “Knowing how hard I work now for what I have puts things in perspective for how much harder my parents had to have worked to have given my brother and I the life that we had.”
Mila’s parents believed in her acting abilities early on
Mila said that her parents believed in her talent so much so that when she was 9 years old, they spent $890 on acting classes for her — even though they only had $900 in the bank.
“There’s absolutely no rhyme or reason for what my mother did or why she did it," Mila said on The Howard Stern Show in 2019. "Mind you, I never got birthday presents, never got holiday gifts. Like we weren’t a family of givers in that regard — it’s one of those kismet moments that you can’t explain."
Mila shared that she also landed the first commercial she went out for at age 9.
Mila’s parents “never took a dime from her”
Mark and Elvira have always remained financially independent from their daughter. In her interview with Stern, he pointed out that her parents "never took a dime from her," and Mila confirmed they still hadn't, even after her Hollywood success.
"To this day I’ll be like, ‘Let’s go out to dinner for your birthday, Dad!’ And then he calls the restaurant before we get there and puts his card down," she said. "I’m a grown woman, I would love to treat you and mommy to something, and they’re like, ‘No.’ ”
Mila surprised her parents with a home makeover
“They’ve done so many things for my brother and I,” Mila shared during the episode. “And so I desperately want to give them something that I think they deserve.”
The makeover was done by designer Breeze Giannasio, with Mila helping. “Seeing my parents’ reaction to their condo for the first time made everything worth it,” she shared.
Mila is incredibly proud of her parents
Mila takes pride in both her parents for the sacrifices they made for her while she was growing up. Though Elivira worked full-time, Mila said she always came home to a fully attentive mother, and "magically" the family "had dinner on the table every night," she shared on HouzzTV.
As for her dad, Mila said he is "one of the most prideful men you'll ever meet" and would never ask her for help. "He would never ask for a handout. And when times got tough, he just worked,” she said.
For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on People.