Macaulay Culkin says he lost out on 'hundreds of millions of dollars' by turning down 'The Big Bang Theory'

Raechal Shewfelt
Editor, Yahoo Entertainment

Audiences find ratings powerhouse The Big Bang Theory delightful, but Macaulay Culkin — not so much.

The former child star said Thursday that the team behind the Emmy-winning series had reached out to him multiple times. He always said thanks but no thanks.

“They pursued me for The Big Bang Theory,” Culkin told Joe Rogan on the podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience.” “And I said no. It was kind of like, the way the pitch was, ‘All right, these two astrophysicist nerds and a pretty girl lives with them. Yoinks!’ That was the pitch. And I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m cool, thanks.’ And then they came back at me again, and I said, ‘No, no, no. Again, flattered, but no.’ Then they came back at me again, and even my manager was, like, twisting my arm.”

Macaulay Culkin appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on March 2. (Photo: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

If the Home Alone star had appeared on The Big Bang Theory, it would have provided a genius opportunity to market the episodes as a night of child stars from the ’90s, since several actors, including Johnny Galecki, Mayim Bialik, and Kaley Cuoco, all fit in that category. It also would have meant a lot for Culkin’s bank account, he said.

“Listen, I’d have hundreds of millions of dollars right now if I did that gig,” Culkin said. “At the same time, I’d be bashing my head against the wall.”

CBS did not immediately return a request for comment.

Kaley Cuoco, Johnny Galecki, Mayim Bialik, and Jim Parsons star in the May 10 episode of The Big Bang Theory. (Photo: Michael Yarish/CBS via Getty Images)

The Big Bang Theory, which returns for a 12th season in September, is the home of several of TV’s highest-paid actors. For instance, series lead Jim Parsons earned $27.5 million from the show and other endeavors between June 1, 2016, and June 1, 2017, according to Forbes. Galecki and Cuoco, who earned $26.5 million and $26 million, respectively, were right behind him.

But Culkin seems to be doing OK for himself. After starring in the blockbuster Home Alone movies, as well as My Girl and Uncle Buck, before he was even a teenager, he doesn’t really need to work, he said.

“If it’s a cool, neat little gig or something, like, yeah, sure,” Culkin said about whether he acts these days. “But, like I said, I don’t pursue it any kind of way. I don’t have agents anymore or things like that.”

Culkin explained that he’s not interested in “the pursuit” of acting, such as auditioning.

“I don’t like being on the circuit kind of thing,” he said.

He is interested in writing and painting, which he does “a lot,” and spending time with his girlfriend, Brenda Song. (Don’t worry, Mila Kunis. He’s OK.) Culkin has also launched a website,, that he described as Goop meets the Onion, where he hosts a podcast.

Apparently, he does not make much time in his schedule for TV.

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