On Tuesday, Bijou Phillips filed for divorce from Danny Masterson, less than two weeks after the That ’70s Show actor and prominent Scientologist was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison on two out of three counts of rape.
“Ms. Phillips has decided to file for divorce from her husband during this unfortunate time,” Phillips’ attorney, Peter A. Lauzon, told TMZ. “Her priority remains with her daughter.” (Phillips gave birth to a daughter with Masterson in 2014.)
The news comes as a shock considering Phillips has been steadfast in her support through Masterson’s 2022 rape trial and 2023 retrial wherein he was accused of brutally sexually assaulting three women—all former Scientologists—between 2001 and 2003, at the height of his fame. (Masterson has continued to deny the accusations and said all the encounters were consensual.) As noted by reporters, Phillips was often present for the proceedings and “looked shattered” after his sentencing. A courtroom sketch revealed Masteron blew her a kiss before being taken into custody.
In May, when Masterson was convicted, Phillips was reportedly so bereft that Judge Charlaine Olmedo asked her to “maintain her composure” or leave the courtroom. Even more galling: Just five days ago, sources told People that Phillips was struggling with Masterson’s sentencing (he’s not eligible for parole until he’s 77 years old), but had no plans to leave him.
“She has had a very difficult time since the conviction,” one source told the magazine. “She loves Danny and has no plans to file for divorce. She will be by his side for it all.”
Phillips, the source added, was “hopeful,” “surrounded by family and friends” and that she and her lawyer were, in fact, “planning appeals” of her incarcerated husband’s sentence. Well, one of these things is now glaringly true—she was definitely working on something with her attorney...
Not only did Phillips stand by Masterson in court, but she also wrote a lengthy character statement in his defense. In it, Phillips referred to him as a “life-saving partner” and “an amazing father” who worked “long days on the land” at their vineyard to make it a viable business.
“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,” Lauzon told TMZ. “Ms. Phillips acknowledges that Mr. Masterson is a wonderful father to their daughter.”
In response to the news, Yashar Ali (a longtime journalist covering Scientology and Masterson’s legal woes) noted on Twitter that if Phillips decided to continue practicing Scientology, she’d have to be granted permission from an ethics officer of the institution to file for divorce. As of yet, Phillips—or her attorney—hasn’t specified whether she’ll remain a member.