Danny Masterson and actress Bijou Phillips have been married for more than a decade. They share 9-year-old daughter, Fianna, whom the couple welcomed in 2014.
On Sept. 7, the That ’70s Show star was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison following his conviction in his Los Angeles rape trial. Masterson, 47, was found guilty of two counts of forcible rape back in May.
On the heels of the disgraced actor’s lengthy prison sentence, ET takes a closer look at Masterson and Phillips’ relationship.
She’s a model-actress with famous parents
Phillips, 43, is a model-actress with famous parents before she ever met Masterson. She’s the daughter of the late rock star John Phillips, who was the frontman of The Mamas and the Papas, the band behind hits like “California Dreamin'” and “Monday, Monday.” John died in 2001 from heart failure. He was 65.
Phillips’ mother was the South African model Geneviève Waïte. John and Geneviève got married in 1972 (John’s third marriage at the time) and they welcomed Phillips in April 1980. The couple would ultimately divorce in 1985.
At 13, Phillips launched a modeling career that included campaigns with Calvin Klein. But the quick rise to stardom led her down a very dark path that included the use of drugs and drinking alcohol. In 2002, Phillips told The Guardian that, at 17, she went to rehab at her father’s behest, after watching a 20-year-old friend of hers die from a heroin overdose.
“If you were 14 years old and able to live on your own in an apartment in New York City, and you got invited to all these clubs, and you got a bank account and you had a car service you could call so that you could go wherever you wanted … what would happen?” she asked rhetorically in the 2002 story.
Phillips, who was mostly raised by her dad in Malibu, was once asked if she was furious that her parents didn’t treat her as a child.
“No,” she responded. “The fact of the matter is I’m 21 now. I stay home. I feed my dogs. I don’t really go out. I work. Most people my age are out doing the things I was doing at 14. I’m happy that I got all that out of the way, out of my system, when I was a kid.”
Phillips would go on star in the 1999 film Black and White and Almost Famous the following year. She also appeared in Bully, The Door in the Floor and Choke. Phillips also had a recurring role in the TV hit Raising Hope, in which she portrayed Lucy Carlyle.
It wasn’t love at first sight
Masterson and Phillips — previously linked to the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Elijah Wood and John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s son, Sean Lennon — met while at a celebrity poker tournament in Las Vegas. According to Paper, Phillips said she was shocked Masterson wasn’t flirting with her while at the poker table.
“I was asking him for advice,” she told the magazine in 2009. “Every guy at the table was flirting with me but Danny. He wasn’t laughing at my jokes. I was like, ‘Who is this Danny Masterson and what does he think he’s doing?’ We started texting that night … it’s been really cheesy and peaceful. There’s no craziness or neediness. It’s the way it should be.”
They started dating in 2004 and they’d go on to star in three films together, all released in 2009 — Made for Each Other, The Bridge to Nowhere and Wake. At that point, Masterson had been around three years removed since That ’70s Show ended in May 2006, after eight successful seasons and 200 episodes. He portrayed Eric Forman’s (Topher Grace) best friend, Steven Hyde.
It’s been reported that the couple also bonded after finding out they both belonged to the Church of Scientology.
Engaged in 2011, married in 2011
After seven years of dating, Masterson asked Phillips to marry him in March 2011. Some seven months later, in October, the couple tied the knot in Ireland.
According to People, they had an intimate week-long celebration in Ireland before tying the knot at a private castle. The outlet reported she wore a Zac Posen gown. Masterson’s brother, Chris, served as the best man. Actors Ben Foster, Mike Pena and Ethan Suplee attended the wedding.
They welcomed a daughter, Fianna Francis Masterson, on Feb. 14, 2014.
She quietly battled kidney disease
In April 2017, Phillips successfully underwent a kidney transplant. In a statement to ET, Phillips’ rep confirmed the actress had been “quietly dealing with kidney disease” for years.
“Bijou was born with small kidneys and has been quietly dealing with kidney disease for the last five years, including being on the transplant list,” the statement read at the time. “In an effort to heal her body she has led a stress-free life with a vegan diet, which eventually wasn’t enough, and she’s been privately having dialysis.”
Her own controversy
Phillips found herself engulfed in controversy in 2017 after Mean Girls star Daniel Franzese accused the actress of being physically and emotionally abusive when they appeared together in the 2001 film, Bully. Specifically, Franzese, who came out as gay in 2014, claimed she repeatedly asked him if he was gay while on the set of Bully. When he responded that he was bi, Franzese alleged she shouted the next day, “Oh look! The bi guy is here!”
Franzese also claimed Phillips twisted his nipple hard and, during filming, kicked him in the head. He said he got kicked so hard he wasn’t sure if he had suffered a concussion.
In a statement to TMZ, Phillips said she didn’t recall Franzese’s specific accusations but added that “those years” were “a blur.”
“I was a teenager and reckless in my behavior. I know Daniel to be a trustworthy and honest person, and to find out through social media that I was not the friend I thought I was to him made me so sad,” she told the outlet. “I am so mortified by this behavior and have contacted Daniel and apologized to him privately. I am not and never have been homophobic. I have nothing but love for the LGBTQ community and Daniel.”
Franzese later took to social media and said he accepted her apology.
She stuck by him amid the allegations
After Masterson’s sexual assault allegations first came to light in March 2018 — with reports saying he was being investigated by the LAPD over multiple sexual assault allegations stemming from the early 2000s — it was Phillips who stuck by him.
Us Weekly, citing a source close to the actress, reported that Phillips had “been a total rock” in wake of the allegations. The source added,” She fully supports him and says they’ll get through this nightmare together and come out stronger.”
Phillips would go on to delete her Instagram account after the reports surfaced, though she would ultimately return. Phillips, however, has not posted on Instagram since June 2, 2020.
Phillips wails in court
Phillips let out a wail after Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo read the verdict in Masterson’s Los Angeles rape trial. He found guilty of rape on May 31. After letting out a wail, the judge reprimanded Phillips, telling her to keep her composure or leave the courtroom.
At his sentencing on Sept. 7, Phillips sat next to Masterson’s mother, Carol, and they looked visibly upset. After the sentencing hearing, Phillips and Carol were rushed off to a waiting vehicle. Masterson’s brother, Christopher, also attended the sentencing hearing.
During the reading of victim impact statements, Masterson also remained stoic the entire time. He was brought into court the morning of the sentencing flanked by guards and his attorney, Shawn Holley. The actress arrived flanked by the Mastersons looking solemn. Phillips, who donned a button down and slacks, kept to herself and seemed numb to what was happening around her.
She walked into court with a stoic face.
Phillips files for divorce
Almost two weeks after Masterson was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison, Phillips filed to end their 12-year marriage, ET can confirm. In a statement to TMZ, Phillips’ lawyer, Peter A. Lauzon, said, “Ms. Phillips has decided to file for divorce from her husband during this unfortunate time. Her priority remains with her daughter.”
He continued, “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. Ms. Phillips acknowledges that Mr. Masterson is a wonderful father to their daughter.”