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Inside Ashton Kutcher's friendship with That 70s Show star Danny Masterson

Danny and Ashton became close friends on That 70’s Show in 1998

ashton kutcher© Photo: Getty Images
Faye James
Senior Editor
Updated: September 9, 2023
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Ashton Kutcher's friendship with Danny Masterson has come under scrutiny in recent weeks after Danny, known for his role in That 70's Show, was given a 30-year prison sentence after being found guilty of rape.

The pair met in 1998 when they were both cast in the hit comedy which follows the lives of a group of six teenage friends living in the fictional town of Point Place, Wisconsin in the late 1970s. Topher Grace, Laura Prepon, Mila Kunis and Wilmer Valderra all starred alongside Danny and Ashton.

Actor Danny Masterson stands with his lawyer Thomas Meserea© LUCY NICHOLSON
Actor Danny Masterson stands with his lawyer Thomas Meserea

What has Ashton Kutcher said about his friendship with Danny Masterson?

In a letter sent to Judge Charlaine Olmedo, Ashton wrote: "I met Danny Masterson when I was 20 years old in 1998. He instantly became a friend, dedicated co-worker, and role model to me. And has remained as such for 25 years.

"As a friend, Danny has been nothing but a positive influence on me. He's an extraordinarily honest and intentional human being. Over 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. We've traveled around the world together, raised our daughters together, and shared countless family moments. Not only is he a good friend to me. I've witnessed him be a good friend to others and the kind of brother others would be lucky to have."

Ashton, in a conversation with Esquire earlier in February 2023, conveyed his hope for Danny’s innocence. He clarified: “I don’t want him to elude the law, but I wish for the truth to show he's innocent."

Ashton was candid about his inability to judge Danny's guilt, remarking: “I can’t know… I’m not the judge, the jury, the DA, the victim, or the accused. I’m in no position to comment. I genuinely don’t know.”

But after Danny was found guilty, the father-of-two wrote a letter to the judge in the hopes of the judge choosing a lower sentencing.

He continued: “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. I do not believe he is an ongoing harm to society and having his daughter raised without a present father would be a tertiary injustice in and of itself. Thank you for taking the time to read this."

Danny Masterson and Ashton Kutcher pose at Music City Convention Center on June 7, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee© John Shearer
Danny Masterson and Ashton Kutcher have been friends since That 70's Show

When did Ashton Kutcher meet Danny Masterson?

The camaraderie between the two traces back to their time on That 70's Show, which aired its first episode in 1998. Ashton reminisced about how Danny, taking on a mentorship role, cautioned the youthful cast about the rarity of their newfound success, urging them not to squander it through reckless actions.

Despite the gravity of the accusations which became public in 2017, their bond seems to have endured. After Danny's exit from the Netflix series The Ranch due to the charges, Ashton kept the lines of communication open. 

He expressed his empathy for those feeling violated but also noted the impact such allegations have on the accused and their families. He reflected: “Someday, his kid will read about this. The ramifications are enormous.”

Topher Grace as Eric, Wilmer Valderrama as Fez,  Lisa Robin Kelly as Laurie, Ashton Kutcher as Kelso, Mila Kunis as Jackie, Danny Masterson as Hyde and Laura Prepon as Donna and  on THAT 70s SHOW on FOX.  (Photo by FOX Image Collection via Getty Images)© FOX
That 70's Show cast

What did Mila Kunis say about Danny Masterson?

Part of Mila's letter to the judge read: “Danny has consistently displayed a profound sense of responsibility and care for those around him. He demonstrates grace and empathy in every situation, be it within the entertainment industry or in our personal lives. His steady support and understanding presence make him a reliable source of guidance and comfort for all of us."

She concluded: "I wholeheartedly vouch for Danny Masterson’s exceptional character and the tremendous positive influence he has had on me and the people around him. His dedication to leading a drug-free life and the genuine care he extends to others make him an outstanding role model and friend.”

Mila has not yet commented since his sentencing.

Danny starred alongside Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis in That '70s Show© Chris Weeks
Danny starred alongside Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis in That '70s Show

Did Danny Masterson go to prison?

That 70's Show star Danny Masterson hs been handed down a 30-year prison sentence after being found guilty of rape.

He was sentenced to 15 years to life on each of the two charges, and the Judge ordered them to be served consecutively. The verdict in May 2023 convicted him on two of the three forcible rape charges, while Danny continues to assert his innocence. 

Between 2001 and 2003, three accusations arose concerning Danny, a known member of the Church of Scientology, claiming he raped them at his Hollywood Hills residence.  

The jury rendered a guilty verdict regarding the rape of two women but did not finalize a decision on a claim from November 2001 involving a past girlfriend.  

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