Actor Bijou Phillips files for divorce from Danny Masterson after rape convictions
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Bijou Phillips has filed for divorce from Danny Masterson, days after the former “That ‘70s Show” star was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison for two rape convictions.
Phillips, a 43-year-old actor, filed a petition in Santa Barbara Superior Court on Monday to end her nearly 12-year marriage to the 47-year-old Masterson, according to the court’s website. The couple has a 9-year-old daughter. No further details were immediately available.
An attorney for Phillips did not respond to emails, and a representative for Masterson declined comment. Masterson maintains his innocence and his attorneys have said they plan to appeal, contending there were problems with evidence and constitutional issues with his conviction.
Phillips sat with other Masterson family members in court throughout two long trials, the first of which ended in a mistrial, the second of which ended in a conviction on two of three rape counts from 2003.
She wept when in court when the guilty verdicts were read on May 31, and showed similar emotion at times during his Sept. 7 sentencing hearing, when a judge gave Masterson a prison term that will require him to be held for 25 1/2 years before he is eligible for parole.
In a letter to the judge prior to Masterson’s sentencing, Phillips praised him as a husband and father.
“I can say that Danny has literally been a life-saving partner to me,” Phillips wrote, an apparent reference to Masterson’s care for her and their daughter after Phillips had a kidney transplant in 2017.
The letter, which was heavily redacted before becoming public after the sentencing, said she and Masterson bought a farm that he turned into a vineyard in rural Santa Barbara County after the revelation of the police investigation led to his losing all his acting work.
Phillips called him an “amazing father” and said “Our daughter and I are heartbroken that he is not home with us.”
Phillips, daughter of “The Mamas and the Papas” singer-songwriter John Phillips and actor Genevieve Waite, was a model as a teenager and released an album of her own singing before shifting to acting. She has appeared in films including “Almost Famous” and television shows including “Raising Hopes” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”
She began dating Masterson in 2004. They announced their engagement in 2009, and married in Ireland in 2011.
Masterson starred with Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and Topher Grace in the Fox retro sitcom “That ‘70s Show” from 1998 until 2006. Los Angeles police announced they were investigating him for sexual assault in 2017, and he was arrested in 2020. Kutcher and Kunis apologized after their own letters to the judge seeking leniency for Masterson became public and spurred criticism.
He was convicted of raping two women he knew through the Church of Scientology in 2003. Both testified that he put drugs in their drinks and violently raped them. Jurors could not reach a unanimous verdict on a third count alleging he raped a former girlfriend in 2001.
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