Kaley Cuoco Recalls Chopping Off Her Hair During The Big Bang Theory, And Her One Major Regret

Kaley Cuoco on The Ellen DeGeneres Show
(Image credit: Warner Bros. Television Distribution)

Kaley Cuoco was on The Big Bang Theory for twelve seasons, which meant we saw her looks change from sexy and innocent to more mature. The Flight Attendant actress noted that Penny evolved on the show by seeing her cute girl next door look evolve to dressing up more professionally later on. When looking back at her time on The Big Bang Theory, she remembers that time she chopped off her hair and the major regret she had with that choice.

Fans of The Big Bang Theory were used to seeing Penny with her signature long blonde hair whether it was left wavy, straight, or with bangs. Then in Season 8, Kaley Cuoco drastically changed her look by getting a pixie cut that people couldn’t stop talking about. An excerpt from Jessica Radloff’s new book The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series was shared in Glamour about why the Eight Simple Rules actress cut off her hair. Cuoco shared:

I just fucking cut my hair off and didn’t tell anyone. I did it for an independent film called Burning Bodhi, and basically showed up to our Big Bang wrap party with short hair. Chuck [Lorre] hugged me and said, ‘Wow, look at your hair!’ and I said, ‘Do you like it?’ I don’t know if I was being rebellious. I mean, I did do it for the movie, which was my excuse to cut it. At that point we were heading into our eighth season and something needed to shake up.

The Big Bang Theory co-creator Chuck Lorre said that Cuoco’s choice luckily was just a small bump on the show but not a massive one. He felt like if he was given the heads-up about the haircut, he would have told The Wedding Ringer actress about how ratings dropped on shows like Dharma & Greg as well as Keri Russell’s infamous haircut on Felicity. I guess if audiences aren’t satisfied with the new look of the main character scene after scene, this can cause them to turn in the other direction.

There’s a common perception that cutting your hair short means you’ll spend less time on it. Unless you’re like Uncle Jesse from Full House, how much time is spent on short hair? Kaley Cuoco got a rude awakening when she discovered she would still spend plenty of time in the hair and makeup chair despite the new ‘do, leading her to regret the decision:

I was bored and sick of the hair, and what’s funny is I thought by cutting my hair, I would spend less time in the hair and makeup chair, even though I loved the hair and makeup team. And then in my attempt to spend less time on my hair, that decision bit me in the ass and it took way longer to do my short hair. I was like, This is the worst decision! What was I thinking?! I thought I was cutting off all this time, because I hated going in and getting ready. That’s why I was wearing my hair up so much in season six and seven. So then I cut it and it ended up being more work because it wasn’t easy to style.

Twelve years on a TV show really is a long time. While she had a hard time rewatching newer episodes in the wake of The Big Bang Theory wrapping in 2019 , she previously opened up about looking back at her style rewinds to the early years. It goes to show that styles can change over time and what you choose to look like one year can change the next.

Despite Kaley Cuoco regretting her pixie cut look, she still said that she had fun with that look and liked how it suited her. Because Penny in Season 8 started working in a pharmaceutical company, she needed a more business-friendly look to go with it. I personally loved the haircut as it was a nice change to the Penny we normally saw and it made her look more mature. 

You can see Penny’s evolutionary style on The Big Bang Theory on your HBO Max subscription as well as by reading Jessica Radloff’s book about the hit sitcom, available now. For some current and upcoming viewing options, be sure to stop by our 2022 TV premiere schedule.

Carly Levy
Entertainment Writer

Just your average South Floridian cinephile who believes the pen is mightier than the sword.