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Girl Smarts Kaley Cuoco says she doesn't 'need' her husband for anything — and that's a good thing

They included squats and hauling what looks like a giant sled across a parking lot as she sweats and makes the kind of fierce warrior face even an actress can’t fake.

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play Kaley Cuoco says she doesn't 'need' her husband for anything — and that's a good thing (JASON KIM )

Kaley Cuoco’s doctor is upset with her. A few weeks afterThe Big Bang Theory star’s post-wedding shoulder surgery this summer, she began posting videos of her one-arm workouts.

They included squats and hauling what looks like a giant sled across a parking lot as she sweats and makes the kind of fierce warrior face even an actress can’t fake.

In person, Kaley is a friendly, thoughtful, blonde ball of sunshine. She greets me warmly in her adorable office wearing leggings, a tee, Givenchy slip-ons-she can’t bend down to tie shoes while her shoulder heals-and a baseball cap. She’s got hummus, veggies, fruit, and water laid out. She looks strong and healthy.

It’s just...she’s not a huge fan of the brace she’s supposed to wear, so she sneaks it off now and then.

 

Kaley’s doctor isn’t the only person irked by her workout videos lately. Because she’s a star of one of the most-watched shows in the world, and because some people view women’s bodies as public property, the Instagram comments aren’t pretty.

Lots of folks think she looks great. Others are angry at her for-gasp!-not wearing a bra in one of the post-surgery vids. One observer advises Kaley that breasts are for a woman’s husband and for feeding children. So how does the 32-year-old actress handle that level of scrutiny without freaking out? Well, she’s been wildly famous since TBBT began its run in 2007, so she’s been in this game for a minute. (The show’s 12th and final season will end in 2019.)

play (WOMEN'S HEALTH)

 

But the real secret to her sanity is her workout routine. Kaley loves exercise that gets her heart pumping and her whole body moving. She lifts weights and says she’s grown to love yoga, which is now one of the key components of her ever-evolving fitness regimen.

“If I get a little bit bored, I’ll switch over to SoulCycle, which I love too,” she says. “It’s all or nothing. I’m hot or cold. I’m not a gray area. So if I’m doing yoga, we’re doing it every day this week....Then I’m like, ‘Oh my god, I have to switch.’ Then I’m going crazy on SoulCycle....‘Okay, I have to switch.’”

Even though her longtime nutritionist advocates moderation, it’s not something that comes naturally to Kaley, who would rather have the whole carafe than a petite half-glass of wine.

play (JASON KIM )

 

This all-or-nothing passion has sustained her in both acting and athletics. In her younger years, tennis had her heart. She was barely bigger than a racket when she first picked one up, and she spent several years playing matches all over Southern California and beyond.

“I just loved the sport,” she says. And she went all in: the summer camps, the competitions, and more. At some point, Kaley’s passion for acting superseded her love of tennis.

As a young teen with two budding careers, she ultimately had to choose. Acting won, but for the natural-born athlete, a life without the rigor of sport was never going to cut it. Kaley’s mom had grown up around horses, and she suggested her animal-loving daughter give riding a try.

“Cut to nine horses later, showing all over the country, having my own barn...it’s totally changed my life, for so many reasons.”

In fact, her love of horses and show jumping led directly to her meeting her second husband, champion equestrian Karl Cook. He’s well known in that world, so Kaley was aware of him before they met. At a horse show, she literally bumped into him. She says he had no idea who she was. Pretty refreshing for Kaley, who lives in a world where strangers make her boobs their business.

Karl himself is both a renowned athlete and the son of Scott Cook, the cofounder of Intuit (the folks who brought you Quicken, TurboTax, and more). So he’s no stranger to the public eye.

“We bonded a lot over having the same kind of outlooks on life, insecurities, dating. He comes from a very well-to-do family, so there’s all these [preconceived ideas] of being spoiled, and blah, blah, blah. And he’s just the opposite.”

Since he hadn’t watched TBBT or known about her career, he actually got to know her first. “It was great because he never kissed my ass at all, and he never cared about any of that. He loved that I loved horses. It became a big talking point for us.” Kaley is clearly delighted to be married. But as one of the highest-paid actors on television, and one of the two highest-paid women in her field, she remains a fiercely independent creature.

 

“I want to see him,” she says. “I like knowing, though, that I’m [financially] set, because I’ve taken it upon myself to do that. I like to tell my friends, ‘Always make sure you have your life going, and that you’re number one, so that anyone who comes into it-husband, or boyfriend, or girlfriend, however you roll-that’s just an added bonus to something you’re already creating,’” she says.

“I don’t need Karl for anything. If Karl left me tomorrow, I’d be fine. And he knows that, and he would be fine too.”

Through everything to come-the shows and movies she hopes to executive-produce, starting with her own company (named Yes, Norman Productions, after her beloved pit bull) and its acquisition of the film rights for the best-selling book The Flight Attendant; the writers she hopes to hire; the actresses she hopes to elevate-it’s a fair bet that Kaley will keep riding. As her show-jumping trainer, Tracey Wade, puts it: “Kaley is a force of nature.”

This article originally appears in the November 2018 issue of Women's Health. For more intel on how your favorite stars and influencers lead healthier, happier lives, pick up an issue on newsstands now.

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