Watch: Ashton Kutcher honors family during emotional speech

What we learned from Ashton Kutcher’s heart-wrenching acceptance speech in his native home state of Iowa is that he certainly does not take his loved ones for granted.

As the 39-year-old was honored with the Robert D. Ray Pillar of Character Award for demonstrating “good character as a role model” on April 8, he thanked his former-co-star-turned-wife Mila Kunis and their two kids for molding him into the man he is today. Kutcher holds the three responsible for allowing him to realize that the impact of character evolves when growing from past mistakes.

“Because life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you. Every. Single. Time,” he explained during his speech. “And as long as you have love and kindness and optimism and a pursuit of something greater in your heart, you’re the lucky one. So this award is for you. It is for my family. It’s for all four of my parents. It’s for my wife, who kicks my ass on character every day.”

“I mean, I’m telling you. This morning, I woke up and she kicked my ass on character,” he further spoke about Kunis. “I thought I was awesome because I got up early and helped with the kids before she woke up. And, I let her sleep a little bit and then she’s like, ‘Well, now you’re gonna act tired? I do it every day.’ But, it was a character moment, right? Because she’s right!”

Kutcher did not hold back when it came to gushing over his two-year-old daughter Wyatt and four-month-old son Dimitri as well, expressing exactly how it felt when the two were welcomed into the world.

“The greatest lesson on character in my life are my kids,” the actor shared. “That’s the real deal… [When we had them] my first response was I wanted to call my parents and say ‘I’m sorry because I never knew how much you love me.’”

Kutcher was recognized for his work with helping co-found the Native Fund, which assists Iowans who have been affected by disasters.

Check out his full acceptance speech below.

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Written by Cayla Masters

Music, pop culture and cheesesteak lover. Follow me on Twitter, @caylamasters