Bijou Phillips has filed for divorce from Danny Masterson, less than two weeks after the That ’70s Show star was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison for rape.
The couple had been together for nearly 12 years and share a nine-year-old daughter, Fianna.
Phillips, a 43-year-old actor, filed for divorce in Santa Barbara, Calif., Superior Court on Monday, citing “irreconcilable differences.” She is seeking spousal support and full custody of Fianna while Masterson, 47, is given visitation rights.
“Ms. Phillips has decided to file for divorce from her husband during this unfortunate time. Her priority remains with her daughter,” her lawyer Peter A. Lauzon stated. “This period has been unimaginably hard on the marriage and the family.”
Lauzon added that Phillips considers Masterson “a wonderful father to their daughter,” echoing statements Phillips wrote in a letter asking for leniency in Masterson’s sentencing.
“We need him more than you can imagine,” Phillips wrote in the letter that became public after the sentencing. “I know he has been convicted of serious crimes. But the man I married has only been an extraordinary husband to me and a devoted father to our daughter.”
Phillips further wrote that Masterson “has literally been a life-saving partner to me,” in apparent reference to Masterson’s care for her and their daughter after Phillips had a kidney transplant in 2017.
“Our daughter and I are heartbroken that he is not home with us,” she wrote.
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 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-and-a-half years before he is eligible for parole.
A source told People that Phillips was shocked that Masterson was found guilty.
“She wasn’t prepared for the verdict. She never expected him to be found guilty,” the unnamed insider said. “She couldn’t believe that he was taken into custody right away and remanded.”
Masterson maintains his innocence and his lawyers have said they plan to appeal, contending there were problems with evidence and constitutional issues with his conviction.
Masterson was arrested in 2020 after a three-year investigation into claims he sexually assaulted multiple women in the early 2000s.
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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.
Masterson starred with Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and Topher Grace in the Fox sitcom That ’70s Show from 1998 until 2006. Kutcher and Kunis both faced backlash after it was revealed they had written letters to the judge in Masterson’s case, asking for leniency in his sentencing. The pair apologized for the letters in a video.
Phillips and Masterson began dating in 2004. They announced their engagement in 2009 and married in Ireland in 2011.
Phillips is the daughter of The Mamas and the Papas singer-songwriter John Phillips and actor Genevieve Waite. She worked as a model as a teenager and released an album before shifting into acting.
She has appeared in films including Almost Famous and television shows including Raising Hopes and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
— With files from The Associated Press
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