Bijou Phillips has filed for divorce from her husband, Danny Masterson, after nearly 12 years of marriage. Masterson was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison earlier this month for raping two women. (A third rape charge resulted in a hung jury.)
Phillips, who shares a nine-year-old daughter with Masterson, filed for divorce on Monday, People reported, and has asked for full legal and physical custody of the child, as well as requesting to “terminate the court’s ability to grant support” for Masterson. She reportedly asked for Masterson to pay her attorney’s fees and for the court to consider their property separate in the split, with the court documents pointing toward a lack of a prenuptial agreement. She cited “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for their split.
Masterson’s conviction and sentencing comes after an earlier 2022 rape trial was ruled a mistrial when the jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict. Masterson is a lifelong Scientologist, and his victims testified during the trial that his church ties were part of his crimes. (The church has denied allegations it had a role in the case.)
In a statement to People, Phillips’s lawyer, Peter A. Lauzon, said, “Ms. Phillips has decided to file for divorce from her husband during this unfortunate time. Her priority remains with her daughter. This period has been unimaginably hard on the marriage and the family. Mr. Masterson was always present for Ms. Phillips during her most difficult times of her life. Ms. Phillips acknowledges that Mr. Masterson is a wonderful father to their daughter.”
Phillips was present at the sentencing hearing last week, where a court artist captured an image of Masterson blowing her a kiss on his way out of the courtroom.
In 2020, after Masterson was charged, his attorney Tom Mesereau claimed, “Obviously, Mr. Masterson and his wife are in complete shock considering that these nearly 20-year-old allegations are suddenly resulting in charges being filed, but they and their family are comforted knowing that ultimately the truth will come out.”
“The people who know Mr. Masterson know his character and know the allegations to be false,” the statement concluded.
Actors Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, who starred alongside Masterson on That ’70s Show from 1998 to 2006, appear to be among those Mesereau referenced. After Masterson’s conviction, the two wrote letters of support for Masterson that they hoped would affect his sentencing. Kunis called Masterson a “tremendous positive influence” on her, and Kutcher wrote that “he is among few people that I would trust to be alone with my son and daughter.” (He shares those children with Kunis, to whom he is married.) After receiving backlash from fans for the character letters, Kutcher and Kunis posted a video to Instagram defending their actions, saying that Masterson’s family had asked them to write the letters, with Kutcher saying they were “were intended for the judge to read, and not to undermine the testimony of the victims or retraumatize them in any way. We would never want to do that. And we’re sorry if that has taken place.”
On September 14, in a statement resigning as chairman of the board of Thorn, the anti-children’s-sex-abuse organization he cofounded in 2009 with his then wife, Demi Moore, Kutcher called writing the character letter an “error in judgment.”
“Victims of sexual abuse have been historically silenced and the character statement I submitted is yet another painful instance of questioning victims who are brave enough to share their experiences,” he wrote. “After my wife and I spent several days of listening, personal reflection, learning, and conversations with survivors and the employees and leadership at Thorn, I have determined the responsible thing for me to do is resign as Chairman of the Board, effectively immediately. I cannot allow my error in judgment to distract from our efforts and the children we serve.”
Masterson’s defense attorney Shawn Holley told People that Masterson plans to appeal the verdict.
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