The married couple, who first got to know the actor while starring with him on That '70s Show in the '90s, shared a video message on Instagram Sept. 9, two days after their former costar was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison for raping two women. He has denied any wrongdoing.
"We are aware of the pain that has been caused by the character letters that we wrote on behalf of Danny Masterson," Kutcher said in the clip, while Kunis, sitting beside him, then added, "We support victims. We have done this historically through our work and will continue to do so in the future."
Kutcher said that a couple of months ago, Masterson's family reached out to them and asked them to "write character letters to represent the person that we knew for 25 years so that the judge could take that into full consideration, relative to the sentencing."
Mila said that "the letters were not written to question the legitimacy of the judicial system or the validity of the jury's ruling." Ashton added, "They 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."
Mila noted, "Our heart goes out to every single person who's ever been a victim of sexual assault, sexual abuse or rape," then stopped the recording.
In his character letter, Kutcher, who also worked with Masterson on the Netflix series The Ranch until the latter star was fired in 2017 amid allegations he sexual assaulted three women in the early 2000s, wrote, "While I'm aware that the judgement has been cast as guilty on two counts of rape by force and the victims have a great desire for justice, I hope that my testament to his character is taken into consideration in sentencing."
Kutcher called Masterson "an extraordinarily honest and intentional human being," adding, "Over [our] 25 year relationship I don't ever recall him lying to me. He's taught me about being direct and confronting issues in life and relationships head-on, resolving them, and moving forward. Danny is a person that is consistently there for you when you need him."
Kutcher also called Masterson a "role model."
"I attribute not falling into the typical Hollywood life of drugs directly to Danny," he wrote. "Any time that we were to meet someone or interact with someone who was on drugs, or did drugs, he made it clear that that wouldn't be a good person to be friends with."
Kutcher continued, "He also set an extraordinary standard around how you treat other people. There was an incident where we were at a pizza parlor and a belligerent man entered who was berating his girlfriend. We had never met or seen these people before, but Danny was the first person to jump to the defense of this girl. It was an incident he didn't have to get involved in but proactively chose to because the way this man was behaving was not right. He has always treated people with decency, equality, and generosity."
Mila wrote to the judge that from the moment she met Masterson, she "could sense his innate goodness and genuine nature" and that he proved "to be an amazing friend, confidant, and, above all, an outstanding older brother figure" to her.
Like her husband, she also praised the actor's "steadfastness in promoting a drug-free lifestyle." She added that "his genuine concern for those around him and his commitment to leading by example make him an outstanding role model and friend" and that "Danny's role as a husband and father to his daughter has been nothing short of extraordinary."
Bijou Phillips, Masterson's wife and mother of their 9-year-old daughter Fianna Francis Masterson, had also written the judge to plead for leniency in her husband's sentencing. "We need him more than you can imagine," she wrote. "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."
Bijou was spotted sobbing in court during his latest hearing. After he was sentenced, he blew her a kiss before being led away.
A day after the sentencing, Ashley Hinshaw, wife of That '70s Show alum Topher Grace, took to her Instagram Stories to share her thoughts. "To every rape victim that is retraumatized by witnessing society debate and focus their attention on what is going to happen to the RAPIST...I see you," she wrote, adding a heart emoji.
Masterston plans to appeal his conviction. "The errors which occurred in this case are substantial and unfortunately, led to verdicts which are not supported by the evidence," his lawyer, Shawn Holley, said in a statement after his sentencing. "And though we have great respect for the jury in this case and for our system of justice overall, sometimes they get it wrong. And that's what happened here."
Masterson, Holley said, "did not commit the crimes for which he has been convicted and we—and the appellate lawyers—the best and the brightest in the country—are confident that these convictions will be overturned."